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Facing the Enemy: How a Nazi Youth Camp in America Tested a Friendship (Hardcover)

Facing the Enemy: How a Nazi Youth Camp in America Tested a Friendship By Barbara Krasner Cover Image
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What do you do when your best friend becomes the enemy?

Growing up in Newark, NJ, in the 1930s, Tommy Anspach and Benjy Puterman have always done everything together. It never mattered that Benjy was Jewish and Tommy was of German descent. But as Adolph Hitler and his Nazi party comes to power in Germany and war brews in Europe, everything changes. Tommy is sent to Camp Nordland, a Nazi youth camp for German Americans, where he quickly learns that Jews are the enemy. Heartbroken by the loss of his friend, Benjy forms a teen version of the Newark Minutemen, an anti-Nazi vigilante group, all the while hoping that Tommy will abandon his extremist beliefs. Will Benjy and Tommy be able to overcome their differences and be friends again?

Based on real-life events and groups like the Newark Minutemen and the pro-Nazi German American Bund, this daring novel-in-verse reveals the long history of American right-wing extremism, and its impact on the lives of two ordinary teens.

About the Author

Barbara Krasner is the author of many books across genres, including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and children’s literature. Her recent titles include 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939, Civilian Casualties in War and Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosenberg’s Life in Poems. Her book Goldie Takes a Stand! Golda Meir’s First Crusade was a recipient of the Sydney Taylor Honor Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Holocaust and genocide studies from Gratz College, teaches in the Holocaust and genocide studies program at the College of New Jersey, and serves as director of the Mercer County Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education Center. She also holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Praise For…

"(An) illuminating verse novel..."—Publishers Weekly

"The story of a friendship torn apart when Nazi ideology arrives on America’s shores... (e)ach boy struggles with different types of personal adversity, and the challenges of their relationship highlight an important, lesser-known chapter in U.S. history."—Kirkus Reviews

"The novel’s action moves back and forth between Tommy’s and Benjy’s first-person accounts, doing a nice job of adding complexity to the plot...Good for independent reading and, especially, classroom use." —Booklist

Facing the Enemy offers a frightening glimpse into a little-known slice of America’s history.Two best friends—one Jewish and one of German heritage—pit themselves against each other asantisemitism rises alongside German nationalism in a corner of New Jersey in the years leadingup to World War II. Poetry is the perfect form for this well-researched, chilling read.”—Kip Wilson, award-winning author of White Rose

“Barbara Krasner’s compelling poetry brings to life a time in US history that must neverbe forgotten. Benjy’s courage, conviction, and determination will inspire young readers to standup for what is right, even when it means risking everything. Tommy’s ability to look deepwithin himself, question what he’s been taught, and learn to think for himself is an importantlife lesson for us all. I hope this page-turner of a book garners the widest audience possible.”Lesléa Newman, author of Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story

Product Details
ISBN: 9781662680250
ISBN-10: 1662680252
Publisher: Calkins Creek
Publication Date: December 5th, 2023
Pages: 368
Language: English