A ritchie boy

3 stars

This is a good historical fiction book about a Jewish man whose family fled Austria for America right after the Nazis took over. He joins the US Army and, along with others that can speak fluent German and French and have special knowledge of Europe, are assigned to an intelligence unit known as “Ritchie Boys”.

The book is loosely based on the author’s father, who was a Ritchie Boy during WWII. The book’s description states that different characters tell interrelated stories to form a cohesive narrative about the circumstances and people the main character, Eli, encounters from the time he left Austria until after the war and he gets married. I guess that’s a good description of the book, but I disagree that it’s a “cohesive narrative”.

The book is well-written and describes a unit of the US Army during WWII that I didn’t know existed, so I enjoyed learning more about that. The individual stories in and of themselves were interesting, but I wish the author had delved into more substance of the stories. The book felt like the abbreviated version of several short stories. Each story was solid, but the author only skimmed the surface of each one. I usually don’t advocate for a book to be longer, but in this case, I think a bit more attention to detail and better editing could have pulled the book together more.

I enjoyed this book, it just felt lacking to me and I wanted a bit more details about the people and stories told.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and She Writes Press in exchange for an honest review.