The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and WWII

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Harper Perennial; Reprint edition 8 October Language: Be the first to review this item Amazon Bestsellers Rank: Customer reviews There are no customer reviews yet. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review.

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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. A masterpiece of journalistic excellence written like a novel and utterly compelling. It takes you through a painful and depressing period and tells an ennobling tale about those who fought back against the atrocities of Nazi Germany and restored the pride of the Jewish people and made the seminal moves that led to the creation of the Jewish State. Brilliant in every way. I have read many books about WWII but was not familiar with the Jewish fighters that were finally allowed to go into Italy with the Allies.

This book gives a lot of background about the political forces that were at work behind the scenes, first keeping them out of the war, and then allowing this unique group of soldiers to be formed and deployed near the end of the war.

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That was interesting, but what happened after the war is where the story gets even more intense as these men come to see what was happening to their people, the Jewish people, throughout Europe. I was so pleased they ended the book meeting up with these same men many decades later and telling the rest of the stories of their lives. Very well worth the time for readers wanting to get a wider picture of that terrible time in history. Book was timely delivered and in very good condition.

Am pleased with this order. It outlines the reason why the British formed the brigade, where and how the brigade fought, and its instrumentality in the formation and early defense of the State of Israel. It does this through primarily through the eyes of three participants as well as the sister of one of the participants.

THE BRIGADE: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and World War II

It is very interesting to read of how the Brigade transported many displaced Jews at the end of the war and how the wartime experiences of members of the Brigade caused them to become extremely vengeful and how they overcame their morale dilemma. A very interesting, well written and researched book. I read it because I'd never heard of a Jewish Brigade. Never having heard of any Jews offering any kind of group resistance to the Nazis, and interested in the subject of WWII this was an engrossing account of true history.

This should be a movie. It's an amazing history of post war Jews trying to forge their own nation against the opposing forces of the British, the Arabs and all the bad will tendered them by the Ukrainians, Poles etc. Was surprised to see how helpful the Russians were!

The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation & World War II

Fascinating read about how the Jews overcame unbelievable odds. This is not a historical fiction novel, although it may read like one. Blum has done the almost impossible task of digging out even the storylines from revealing sources. He has cobbled one excellent story from the stories of three separate real men, and the story appears to be of one thread.

These very men and hundreds more just like them were responsible for the birth of the modern nation of Israel. Without the personal sacrifices of these men and many thousands more, the nation of Israel would have been stillborn. Thank God for these men! Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations.

View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. The revenge and hatred was surprising because it is very hard to imagine coming to that point personally, but I have never had the life and history these men had. But change happens to us all as it did for these men and what we feel and do is not fixed. Jul 24, Jocelyn rated it it was amazing. A Jewish army, the gold Star of David on it soldiers' shoulder flashes as a symbol of pride, not submission, would soon be entering Germany as an occupying force.

Well researched, well written, honest, and a story that needed telling. A little less now having read this book. May 22, J.

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Gibbs rated it really liked it. We read so little about how others, not only the GIs, were NOT victims but took an active part in saving themselves and building a life for all Jews. Well done book that felt much like something written in the 'war memoir' style. I mean, the writer isn't Churchill, but then who is?

But was pretty gripping; the first thing I've read straight through in a while. Dec 31, J Vance rated it it was amazing. This proves they did what they could. What a great read!!! Brigade is a great insight into the nature of the movement to establishing the Jewish nation. Helps frame the history that has been lost to most western readers. Aug 27, Tricia rated it really liked it. The book is well researched and well written with first hand accounts from the 4 main characters. Aug 09, Bill Klanderman rated it it was amazing. Jewish heroes during WWII. The Brits were not entirely without fault in the lead up to the emergence of the State of Israel.

Jun 03, Rose rated it it was amazing.

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What a fabulous book!!! Jul 24, Miles rated it it was amazing. Students of Zionist history will have heard of the British organized Jewish Brigade, recruited in Palestine and deployed to Italy in and Thousands of Jewish soldiers trained under the British and played a combat role in the Italian campaign against the Germans. Their training and experience would prove a valuable asset to the Haganah in and as the new State fought for its existence. Howard Blum's telling of this chapter of pre-State Jewish history is built on the narratives Students of Zionist history will have heard of the British organized Jewish Brigade, recruited in Palestine and deployed to Italy in and Howard Blum's telling of this chapter of pre-State Jewish history is built on the narratives of three people - Israel Carmi, Johanan Peltz and Arie Pinchuk, and follows their wartime experiences, along with those of Arie Pinchuk's sister Leah Pinchuk Zeiger who was a young girl and who survived for years as a refugee and partisan with Jewish and Russian partisans in the forests.

A wide range of other sources and documents are used too. In the period of this book no one could know if a Jewish state would exist. We learn of the process of forming, training and organizing the Jewish Brigade in Palestine, and its initial deployment to Italy. After some combat experiences against the Germans, the British grew wary of the Jewish Brigade when it showed an inability to restrain itself in contact with German prisoners. But as awareness of the Holocaust and the extent of German crimes against the Jews of Europe grew, some of these soldiers took part in a revenge campaign against members of the Waffen SS and other German targets.

They tracked German officers down, put a gun to their head, announced to them that they were being executed for crimes against the Jewish people, and shot them in the head. One gets the impression that there were many dozens of such cases, and perhaps a hundred or more.

The book describes these vigilante actions. Were they semi-authorized by the Haganah in Palestine? Or only by the participants? It is not entirely clear. It also describes how some of their participants came to object to them on the grounds that the justice of their cause required some sort of tribunal before an execution was performed. Some quit earlier than others. Others appear to have been utterly unrepentant and confident that a bullet to the head in a forest outside of town was exactly what these Nazi officers required.

Yet, as the story progresses the principals move from revenge killings to attempts to rescue Jewish refugees and bring them, and arms, to Palestine, and to one protagonist's effort to track down and rescue his sister. There are many stories within the Zionist story. This is one that most have heard of, but few will have read about in such detail.

At the largest level there is a rightness to the story - Jews participated in the good fight against the Germans, under the command of the very nation that was suppressing their national aspirations in Palestine. They got in a final kick to the balls, as the hated enemy went down. They prevented some Jew murdering Nazi scum from living out their days happily.

There is no moral ambiguity about a twice claimed land. Just armed Jews in Europe wreaking justified vengeance against vile remnants of the German death machine. Dig a little deeper, as this narrative does, and all sorts of moral ambiguities appear, particularly around the revenge campaign. It is good to lay those on the table. Each reader can imagine where he or she would have taken a stand in those chaotic days of in Europe.

In the end, although the writing is a bit plodding, this is a great Jewish story and eminently readable. It explains where a significant level of military expertise and training came from for the Haganah in and It lays out the raw mixture of justified vengeance and moral ambiguity that surrounded the confrontation of Jewish soldiers with the last remnants of the Nazi killing machine in It describes how the participants were changed by their experiences. It is a tale worth reading. Jun 11, Jim rated it it was amazing Shelves: The end of the nineteenth century brought the rise of the Zionist movement that inspired Jews from Europe to immigrate to Palestine.

This did not sit well with the Ottoman Turks who controlled the area, but it was supported by Great Britain, who would push the Ottoman Empire out of Palestine during the First World War. Due to a lot of political pressure and a measure of military necessity, Great Britain formed the Jewish Brigade Group during the last year of WWII, most of the members of which were from Palestine.

The unit trained and was deployed to northern Italy where they were in combat from March to May of One suspected reason for maintaining the Brigade in Europe was that the British government did not want to add fuel to the fire in the volatile Middle East by returning several thousand trained Jewish soldiers to Palestine. The Haganah was the main underground Jewish militia in Palestine who defended Jewish communities against violent Arab incursions, and fought a campaign for independence against the British Mandate.

First, members of the Brigade formed assassination squads that scoured post war Europe terminating former low level war criminals. Later, with coordination and guidance from superiors in Jewish Palestine, the Brigade systematically helped tens of thousands of displaced Jewish refugees, the majority concentration camp survivors, illegally immigrate to Palestine. They also worked at smuggling weapons to Palestine to prepare for their war of independence they all knew was coming.

Finally, unable to control their activities, the British government disbanded the Jewish Brigade and sent the soldiers home. These Jewish soldiers became the foundation of the Israeli Defense Forces.

The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation & World War II by Howard Blum

In The Brigade, author Howard Blum tells the story of the Jewish Brigade by following three soldiers who were involved with both the termination of Nazi war criminals, and the smuggling of people and weapons to Palestine. This not only a story of fighting unit during World War II, but also a story of the Holocaust and its aftermath. While one of the soldiers searches for his sister left behind in Poland, Blum tells of the sisters struggles for survival.

At times the narrative takes on the pace and excitement of a spy story, while the reader is on the edge of their seat hoping that the soldiers do not get caught on their clandestine missions. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have been a member of this Brigade. With Arabs trying to kill you at home, going to war to fight Germans, and then dodging the British and Russian military forces to help your people reach freedom, knowing that if you are caught you will be treated like a criminal and a traitor.

It must have seemed like they were fighting a war that would never end. Their sense of duty was incredible. The Brigade is fast paced and an entertaining read. I highly recommend it, not just for military history buffs. Mar 08, Daniel marked it as to-read. Sounds like it will be good! The British government finally agrees to send a brigade of 5, Jewish volunteers from Palestine to Europe to fight the German army. But when the war ends and the soldiers witness firsthand the horrors their people have suffered in the concentration camps, the men launch a brutal and calculating campaign of vengeance, forming secret squads to identify, locate, and kill Nazi officers in hiding.

Their own ferocity threatens to overw Sounds like it will be good! Their own ferocity threatens to overwhelm them until a fortuitous encounter with an orphaned girl sets the men on a course of action—rescuing Jewish war orphans and transporting them to Palestine—that will not only change their lives but also help create a nation and forever alter the course of world history.

Aug 30, Lynn rated it really liked it. At the end of the war the British finally and reluctantly allowed a brigade of Jewish soldiers to go to Europe to fight. Many of those were in Haganah, the underground Jewish resistance against British rule in Palestine - who not only wanted vengeance against the Nazis but also to get back to Palestine to fight for their own freedom. Their heroics and personal battles for redemption and meaning are riveting.

What some turned their mission into is even more riveting and helped create a Jewish homeland. Oct 19, John rated it really liked it. A very interesting book that reads in part like a personal memoir and in part an historical record. The thorough research and interviews of the main subjects of the book allowed the author to present this book in a very dramatic manner. While their contribution to winning WWII may have been a token one, this experience legitimized the Brigade's place as a fighting force representing a Jewish nation to-be.

Th A very interesting book that reads in part like a personal memoir and in part an historical record. Their participation helped pave the way for the successful defense of their new nation. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Blum is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While at the New York Times , he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He is the father of three children, and lives in Connecticut. Like Howard Blum on Facebook Twitter: Books by Howard Blum.

See All Goodreads Deals…. Trivia About The Brigade: No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from The Brigade: To repay not just the Nazis, but all the centuries of persecution. Perhaps the time had finally come for Jewish soldiers to unleash all restraints.