"Sixty years have passed since the bloodiest war in history ended. Some people wonder: Could another despot like Hitler rise to power on the shoulders of young people?
Only young people today can answer that question. What are you willing to do to prevent such a shadow from falling over you and others?"
In this haunting tale, Susan Campbell Bartoletti takes us into Germany, 15 years before the United States entered World War II. There we find Germany in ruin over World War I and desperate for a leader to get them out of it. Adolf Hitler was man to do just that. At the top of his agenda was to start "Hitler Youth", and organization dedicated to Adolf Hitler. Within this program, they taught young men and women discipline and adoration of Hitler. By the end of the war, millions were dead and the youth of Germany was just realizing the innocence the had given up for fanatic.
As you read this award winning book, your heart cannot help but go out to the children that were brainwashed. Some of the soldiers that were in WWII were very young when Hitler Youth started in 1926. Not only is this book compelling, but students will be drawn in through the descriptive language. The book was written in chronological order, which makes since for a book about the history of something. One of the confusing parts is they have about ten young adults that they are following and they just interject their stories into the written history. This book might flow more if each chapter focused on one youth's experience. One of the most amazing things about this book were the pictures that showed the different kids of Hitler's Youth. Some were shooting guns, some just in their uniform, and some were doing things that I would never imagine kids that age doing. A starred Booklist review states,"The handsome book design, with black-and-white historical photos on every double-page spread, will draw in readers and help spark deep discussion, which will extend beyond the Holocaust curriculum. The extensive back matter is a part of the gripping narrative." This book is a much addition to all libraries.
This book would make a great e-book that could be the warm-up during a Holocaust unit. This is a part of the rising of Germany that is not talked about as much, and I think that keeping it as a warm-up would be good. You could also have groups each take one of the people focused on during the book, and have them summarize the information about them.
Rochman, Hazel. "Hitler Youth." Booklist (2005). Amazon. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.