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About the Book:
Marking the 55th anniversary of the creation of the Berlin Wall, this epic tale extends across generations and unfolds against the backdrop of a dangerous Cold War Berlin. This historically accurate, action-packed, 3-books-in-one features teens and their family’s struggle living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, from its creation after WWII, to life behind the wall during the Cold War, to the Wall’s ultimate and final destruction.
Both educational and exciting, Life Behind the Wall is a great choice for middle readers at home or school.
I wasn’t really sure what to think when I requested this book, as sometimes books geared towards older children that are based in history seem to have a lot of things lacking – such as historical accuracy among other issues – and I’m happy to say that that wasn’t the case in this 3-in-1 book. My oldest daughter has a fascination about the culture and history of WWII and so that was my main impetus to request Life Behind the Wall – because I knew it’d be something that she would more than likely enjoy reading and now that I’ve read it I know she will if she can hang on through the first couple of chapters. I say that because it took me the first few chapters of Candy Bombers to get really into the book, at first it was a little boring but as the reason for the title emerged things really began picking up – while I knew that most people in Europe really didn’t care for the Americans I didn’t know how deeply that was felt nor did I realize how divided Berlin was. This book gave a startling look into how life was for those in Berlin after the War and then as the Wall went up and then came down again – having family trapped on side and not being able to see them unless you went through an extensive border crossing process, that made me nervous just reading about the one the characters had to go through.
At the end of each book there are some historical facts, such as what was really true – the author wove the fictional characters into the story while keeping with historical accuracy and not trying to make things worse (of course I’m not sure how things could have gotten much worse) or seem better than they were. I don’t want to give too much away but the story of the candy bombs, which were little parachutes tied to candy, which American pilots would then drop so that the children below could have a little taste of something sweet. The stories follow on family over the course of the years Erich’s mother marries an American pilot against the advice of her mother in law of her 1st, killed, husband and then anger and hatred tears the family apart. Beetle Bunker, follows Sabine, Erich’s (who is now trying to become a Dr in Communist Berlin) half sister, who wants to help with the escapes that seem to be happening but no one wants to talk about since your neighbor could turn you in. Finally, in Smuggler’s Treasure, Liesl who is Sabine’s daughter, helps in smuggling Bibles across the border to her uncle Erich but then as startling information comes to light as she writes a paper for school she finds something about her family.
As the stories carry on and flow together it’s like watching one time in history flow seemlessly into the other – which is what I liked about this book and I didn’t have to wait for the next one to come out while I forget how each character is related to the other. With the historical facts also comes discussion questions which can lead to not just more digging and researching into history (great for the homeschool student) but also the use of Scripture will have the reader who goes through the questions delving in Scripture as well. This was an eye opening read – as in school I learned about the Berlin Wall but not much more and I’ve even seen a piece of it at our local Air Force Museum, but to read about what really went on – the persecution of Christians, the starvation, the horrible medical care and more – makes it all come alive and the author, Robert Elmer, did so with skill.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws