Immigrant Soldier: The Story of the Ritchie Boys
by K. Lang-Slattery
Pacific Bookworks

"The members of the prisoner of war interrogation teams were mostly, like Herman, refugees who had fled Europe because of Hitler..."

This work of historical fiction closely follows the story of Herman Lang's WWII experience. Lang witnesses the rise of anti-Jewish sentiment and laws as a young teenager in Germany, eventually gaining passage to England as he awaits a hard-won U.S. visa. He succeeds, but is carried forward into the tides of war. Enlisting shortly after learning of his A-1 draft status, the bombing of Pearl Harbor automatically extends the draft for the duration. Private Lang is summoned to report for a top secret assignment at "Camp Ritchie," the U.S. Military Intelligence Training Center. His knowledge of German is needed for intelligence gathering though interrogation of prisoners.

The plot follows Lang's service in the Third Army under General Patton as they battle eastward through France and Germany. Most of the characters are based on famous WWII personalities like Patton, with special focus on the G-2 Intelligence Service of the U.S. Army. Particular attention is on interrogation of prisoners for intelligence, the method and manner of which is of contemporary interest–the interrogators being limited to the Geneva Convention standards. Lang succeeds in his mission through accurate character assessment and intellectual guile. The concentration camps are liberated as the number of German POW's spirals out control. Lang's ingenuity in managing the logistics helps prevent a humanitarian crisis.

The author, Captain Lang's niece, has relied heavily on facts, only fleshing out conversations and internal thoughts of characters. A useful map and a short biography of the real Herman Lang is provided. The result is engaging and informative.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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