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Courage and Faith

Hitler in the Crosshairs is an excellent work both historically and in telling the story of Ira 'Teen' Palm. This work chronicles both the life of Teen Palm, a man sent over to Europe as a second lieutenant fighting the Germans, and who on an assaination attempt upon Hitler finds a golden gun engraved with Hitler's initials. Upon finding this gun, he puts in his shirt and brings it back with him to the States when the war concludes. Yet, to say this book is about a lieutenant in the war fighting Hitler's rule is too simplisitic a statement, for in this work Woodbridge and Possley capture the genius of faith of Teen Palm and the growing relationship Teen had for his sweetheart Helen and their pastor Charles Woodbridge.

The personal side of Teen's letter throughout the work are a monument to the brutality of war but the connection that Teen had for Helen. Teen writes speaking of the French towns he passed, "The towns are all in rubble with few houses left standing. The people are worse off than the British and this makes all the British ruins look like child's play" (102). Teen was not afraid to voice the reality of the harsh situation that came about through the bombing of many cities by the Germans led by Hitler. You get to hear and see the details of the embattled soldiers trying to escape harms way in this work. The authors chronicle the escape after trying to find Hitler in his Munich apartment, "After several minutes of silence, Palm began calling to his men to regroup and get ready to move out. Some of them did not-could not-reply. They were dead" (165). Although Palm was injured in the war, it was not a fatal blow.

Although not an academic work on military history or a monograph of sorts, this work gets into the history behind Hitler and his racist ideas. We find out information that his first history teacher 'sparked Hitler's imagination with stories of German heroism and..with nurturing Hitler's hatred of Jews (33). The authors go on to indicate the profound influence of Richard Wagner upon Hitler's thought, providing the raw emotional material and nationalistic tendencies that obscured sound thinking. Yet, what impressed me the most was the authors correct assumption that what most drew people to Hitler was his patriotic speeches and rhetorical skill in the midst of their hope of a redeemer from the economic chaos of Germany (37-38).

The work goes onto chronicle the courage of Teen Palm and his faith in Christ, being nurtured by Rev. Charles Woodbridge. This book is a remarkable piece of writing and a witness to the courage and faithfulness of man devoted to the Savior. History buffs, believers, any person interested in the details of the war will be interested in this book.

Much thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.


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