Threaten to Undo Us by Rose Seiler ScottThreaten to Undo Us by Rose Seiler Scott

Threaten to Undo Us

byRose Seiler Scott

Paperback | May 1, 2015

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Winner of the Word Guild's 2016 Word Award for Historical Fiction

As Hitler's Third Reich crumbles and Stalin's Army advances, German civilians in the Eastern territories are forced to flee for their lives. Leaving her dying mother, Liesel and her four young children hope they can make it from their home in Poland across the Oder River to safety. But all that awaits them is terror and uncertainty in a brutal new regime that threatens to tear Liesel's family apart. With her husband a prisoner of war in Russia and her children enslaved, Liesel's desire for hearth and home is thwarted by opposing political forces, leaving her to wonder if they will ever be a family again.
Title:Threaten to Undo UsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:396 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.4 inPublished:May 1, 2015Publisher:Promontory PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1927559685

ISBN - 13:9781927559680

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Discovered this on an awards list - so glad I did Sometimes it's hard to remember just how many victims there were in World War II. Most of then were civilians. And, as this book vividly portrays, some of them were Germans. This story pulls no punches in showing the evil inherent in the Nazi regime, but it serves as a powerful reminder that in war there are always innocent victims, no matter which side of the conflict they're on.
Date published: 2016-06-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from When will we ever learn The story repeats evermore – the inhumanity of driving peoples from their homes by no fault or circumstances of their own making, stripping them of all human rights, enslaving them to abandonment. This disturbing story of one such family’s experience in the aftermath of WWII is told with empathy and historical perspective – a story still sadly playing out in extreme today.
Date published: 2016-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A unique perspective There are many fictional accounts of World War II, but this book is unusually fascinating as it portrays the fates of German civilians living in their homes in Poland as the Nazi armies collapse and the Soviets advance. The often black-and-white good versus evil of World War II is blended into many shades of grey in this compelling story.
Date published: 2016-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling A compelling look at what happened in Europe after World War II was over, told through a story of love and faith.
Date published: 2016-05-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A different take on WWII I'm drawn to historical depictions. This story about WWII takes a different slant than many. It's not about a Jewish family caught up in the death camps, but rather a Christian family in the wrong place (Poland) at the wrong time for their own safety. Although at times slow, I was taken by the characters as they played out the circumstances of the war and what happened afterwards.
Date published: 2016-04-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoughtful Literature ‘Threaten to Undo Us’ tells us much about borders, nationalities, and minorities. I should say at the outset that for thematic purpose and its somewhat atypical focus on events and conditions in World War II, this is a worthwhile read. Those of ethnic and religious difference who had at least been living in tolerance if not acceptance and appreciation were, as a result of the Nazi invasion in Poland, cast into alignments that were not necessarily of their personal choosing. The novel, through the struggles of a peasant family, moves the reader through circumstance of heartache and physical suffering. Just when you didn’t think it could get any worse, it does. The Russian liberation proved to be anything but. How does one keep a family together in such circumstance? What must be endured for the protection of the children? What must be sacrificed? ‘Threaten to Undo Us’ is historical fiction and is well researched. There is strength in the writing but at times it seems somewhat ‘constructed’. Occasionally a conversation which is meant to reveal an historical point or provide a context might sometimes be better addressed through description or action. But that may be just a personal preference of mine. ‘Threaten to Undo Us’ provides pause for thought and in the end isn’t that what literary fiction should do?
Date published: 2016-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Whole New Perspective on World War 2 Threaten to Undo Us gives a whole new perspective on World War 2 as the novel is written from the point of view of a German family. This true story enlightened me to the innocence of those who were led to believe and deceived into being part of the Nazi party. Rose Seiler Scott does an excellent job of creating the most realistic atmosphere for the true life events that took place during this time. It was a great read which I highly recommend for broadening ones perspective of World War 2. Once I got into the novel I just couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2015-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A debut novel worthy of a sequel Threaten to Undo Us is an emotional and compelling family saga following the lives of a young German family making their home in Poland. Life is good as Ernst and Liesel work their farm and grow their family. But World War 2 threatens to undo the life that they have built for themselves and their love, faith and courage will be sorely tested. The book is based on true events in the author’s family background and this lent an authenticity to the story that I particularly enjoyed. This is a historical novel peopled with characters that are engaging and memorable. Though the novel is steeped in the political history of the time the action follows the family as they face separation and all the tragedy and horror that war brings. Threaten to Undo Us is a terrific debut novel and I for one am hoping for a continuation of the story in future books.
Date published: 2015-05-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from highly recommend this book This book in the Historical fiction Genre was a good read. I found it to be quite engaging, and would recommend it to those interested in History of WW2 and the struggle of many displaced people afterwards. It was at times an emotional read but not depressing, but rather hopeful undertones in what would seem an impossible scenario.
Date published: 2015-05-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A mighty fortress in troubled times "A mighty fortress is our God." Martin Luther's famous words run deep in Liesel's consciousness, sustaining her through many "mortal ills." She's a key character in the historical novel Threaten to Undo Us by Rose Seiler Scott. Like many Germans, Liesel gets along well with her Polish neighbours in their mixed Polish-German area of Europe. Then World War II changes things. The map of Poland is redrawn. Germans in Polish territory, who are now regarded as aliens, must leave their homes. They are denied human rights and enslaved by the newly established Russian Communist regime. Threaten to Undo Us starts in 1945, the year Liesel and her children are driven from their beloved farm home. The story then returns to the year 1919, when we meet Liesel at age six. We see her grow up in a devout German Lutheran family, coexisting peacefully with the Polish Catholics around them. For example, young Liesel savours Polish words such as kapliczka, meaning statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Readers get the impression that, left to themselves, these two religiously and ethnically diverse peoples would continue to respect and cooperate with each other for many years to come. Unfortunately disruptive political and philosophical ideas are afoot. Scott personalizes them for us when one of the characters, Günther Hoffmann, joins Hitler Youth (part of the National Socialist, or Nazi, Party). Günther described the party's aims like this: "Hitler is planning to Germanize Poland….The Slavs (including Poles) and the Jews are sub-human. The Aryan race is superior." Liesel's father protests: "We are all made in the image of God." The tension between him and Günther, and indeed all Germans opposed to the Nazis' aims and those in favor is a major theme in the novel. Liesel's husband, Ernst, doesn't want to join the German army. He isn't interested in "fighting for the glory of the Fatherland" and doesn't believe "religion is for the weak." However, he eventuallys join the Self-Protection Unit, or Selbstschutz, because he wants to help prevent harm to his wife and family. When the Selbstschutz is absorbed into the unified armed forces of Germany, Ernst finds himself unwillingly in the military after all. In a heartbreaking scene, he returns home on leave. Some of his and Liesel's children don't know him. He has been away for too long. Ernst himself "had seen and done things he couldn't explain to his wife and children." As the war drags on, some German soldiers are forced to admit they were wrong. "It is all a big lie, you know. The Hitler youth…." The Fatherland's visions of glory have shrunk to a desire for mere survival. The Russians imprison Liesel's husband, Ernst. Meanwhile Liesel has to fend for herself and their children. One child, Heidi, is born as they flee from the Russians. Soon afterwards, she's raped by Russian soldiers. Will the brave beleaguered Liesel see her husband again? Will he accept her, defiled as she is by rape? The author keeps us waiting to the end of the novel to find answers to these heart-rending questions. Another question: "What will become of Christianity in face of the materialistic and crushing onslaught of Nazism and Communism?" Rev. E. J. Way, a Canadian chaplain during World War II, posed that query. His answer, published in the BMA Blitz, ran like this: "Christianity may lose many of its children, weakened and worn down by the artful strategy and brute force of evil powers, but the good will be made better and the strong stronger in the face of adversity. Like gold they will be purified in the crucible of suffering and affliction." Liesel's faith doesn't really flourish in the face of what she and her family suffer. Nevertheless it survives, a testament to her character and the power of God. The author, Rose Seiler Scott, is good at characterization and describing the life of the times. For example, here's Liesel contrasting two of her sons: "Olaf…at butchering time scarcely to be found." His older brother is "not at all bothered to wring a chicken's neck or help pour the blood from a pig's head." Scott is also good at portraying action and suspense. Example: "At the whistle of the train Liesel stood up, watching to see if any coal would fall from the top of the freight cars. As the rumbling behemoth slowed, a young man dressed in rags hoisted himself up onto the train and scaled up the side ladder into the box. Showers of coal rained down onto the ground as he scooped the top of the pile. "His bulging rucksack landed on the ground with a thud in a cloud of coal dust before the owner scrambled down after it. As he stooped to pick it up, a uniformed guard appeared suddenly, his gun drawn. 'Stop, or I will shoot.'" Occasionally the author is less good at conveying information about the politics of the times. Sometimes the characters explain in ways that seem forced. For example, here's Liesel's father speaking to his young children near the beginning of the book: "The Great War may be over, but the danger has not fully passed. There is still the border dispute and the Bolsheviks." I doubt that children would get much out of such a general, wide-ranging explanation. Perhaps this information could have been given in another way. Despite this little drawback, Threaten to Undo Us is a good read for anyone interested in history, politics, faith, family, and especially relationships among ethnic groups.
Date published: 2015-05-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ethnic conflict, mortal ills, & hope "A mighty fortress is our God." Martin Luther's famous words run deep in Liesel's consciousness, sustaining her through many "mortal ills." She's a key character in the historical novel Threaten to Undo Us by Rose Seiler Scott. Like many Germans, Liesel gets along well with her Polish neighbours in their mixed Polish-German area of Europe. Then World War II changes things. The map of Poland is redrawn. Germans in Polish territory, who are now regarded as aliens, must leave their homes. They are denied human rights and enslaved by the newly established Russian Communist regime. Threaten to Undo Us starts in 1945, the year Liesel and her children are driven from their beloved farm home. The story then returns to the year 1919, when we meet Liesel at age six. We see her grow up in a devout German Lutheran family, coexisting peacefully with the Polish Catholics around them. For example, young Liesel savours Polish words such as kapliczka, meaning statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Readers get the impression that, left to themselves, these two religiously and ethnically diverse peoples would continue to respect and cooperate with each other for many years to come. Unfortunately disruptive political and philosophical ideas are afoot. Scott personalizes them for us when one of the characters, Günther Hoffmann, joins Hitler Youth (part of the National Socialist, or Nazi, Party). Günther described the party's aims like this: "Hitler is planning to Germanize Poland….The Slavs (including Poles) and the Jews are sub-human. The Aryan race is superior." Liesel's father protests: "We are all made in the image of God." The tension between him and Günther, and indeed all Germans opposed to the Nazis' aims and those in favor is a major theme in the novel. Liesel's husband, Ernst, doesn't want to join the German army. He isn't interested in "fighting for the glory of the Fatherland" and doesn't believe "religion is for the weak." However, he eventuallys join the Self-Protection Unit, or Selbstschutz, because he wants to help prevent harm to his wife and family. When the Selbstschutz is absorbed into the unified armed forces of Germany, Ernst finds himself unwillingly in the military after all. In a heartbreaking scene, he returns home on leave. Some of his and Liesel's children don't know him. He has been away for too long. Ernst himself "had seen and done things he couldn't explain to his wife and children." As the war drags on, some German soldiers are forced to admit they were wrong. "It is all a big lie, you know. The Hitler youth…." The Fatherland's visions of glory have shrunk to a desire for mere survival. The Russians imprison Liesel's husband, Ernst. Meanwhile Liesel has to fend for herself and their children. One child, Heidi, is born as they flee from the Russians. Soon afterwards, she's raped by Russian soldiers. Will the brave beleaguered Liesel see her husband again? Will he accept her, defiled as she is by rape? The author keeps us waiting to the end of the novel to find answers to these heart-rending questions. Another question: "What will become of Christianity in face of the materialistic and crushing onslaught of Nazism and Communism?" Rev. E. J. Way, a Canadian chaplain during World War II, posed that query. His answer, published in the BMA Blitz, ran like this: "Christianity may lose many of its children, weakened and worn down by the artful strategy and brute force of evil powers, but the good will be made better and the strong stronger in the face of adversity. Like gold they will be purified in the crucible of suffering and affliction." Liesel's faith doesn't really flourish in the face of what she and her family suffer. Nevertheless it survives, a testament to her character and the power of God. The author, Rose Seiler Scott, is good at characterization and describing the life of the times. For example, here's Liesel contrasting two of her sons: "Olaf…at butchering time scarcely to be found." His older brother is "not at all bothered to wring a chicken's neck or help pour the blood from a pig's head." Scott is also good at portraying action and suspense. Example: "At the whistle of the train Liesel stood up, watching to see if any coal would fall from the top of the freight cars. As the rumbling behemoth slowed, a young man dressed in rags hoisted himself up onto the train and scaled up the side ladder into the box. Showers of coal rained down onto the ground as he scooped the top of the pile. "His bulging rucksack landed on the ground with a thud in a cloud of coal dust before the owner scrambled down after it. As he stooped to pick it up, a uniformed guard appeared suddenly, his gun drawn. 'Stop, or I will shoot.'" Occasionally the author is less good at conveying information about the politics of the times. Sometimes the characters explain in ways that seem forced. For example, here's Liesel's father speaking to his young children near the beginning of the book: "The Great War may be over, but the danger has not fully passed. There is still the border dispute and the Bolsheviks." I doubt that children would get much out of such a general, wide-ranging explanation. Perhaps this information could have been given in another way. Despite this little drawback, Threaten to Undo Us is a good read for anyone interested in history, politics, faith, family, and especially relationships among ethnic groups.
Date published: 2015-04-27