Irena’s War

James D. Shipman. Kensington, $15.95 trade paperback (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2388-8
Shipman (Task Force Baum) dazzles in this historical tour-de-force based on the real-life story of WWII Polish resistance fighter Irena Sendler. In 1939, Nazi forces take over Warsaw, forcing 500,000 Jews into an overcrowded, walled-off ghetto. Social worker Irena is determined to continue to provide food to those in need, so when a Nazi officer offers her the opportunity to continue running the city’s soup kitchen, she accepts and begins forging documents that allow some of those in the ghetto to continue receiving government aid. Soon, Irena joins the resistance group Zegota and helps smuggle Jewish children out of the ghetto (often through the sewers) to safety. Irena continues saving Jewish children from certain death—more than 2,500, according to an author’s note about the real Irena—until she is arrested by the Gestapo in October 1943. The author’s impeccable research, gripping prose, and pitch-perfect pacing bring an immediacy to the atrocities wreaked on Jews and other “undesirables.” Shipman’s humbling, spellbinding tale is a standout among recent works of Holocaust fiction. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/11/2020
Release date: 11/24/2020
Genre: Fiction
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