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The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany

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"Utterly gripping." —Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes "A compelling, beautifully written story of resilience, friendship and survival. The story of Women’s resistance during World War II needs to be told and The Nine accomplishes this in spades." —Heather Morris, New York Times bestselling author of Cilka's Journey The Nine follows the true story of the author’s great "Utterly gripping." —Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes "A compelling, beautifully written story of resilience, friendship and survival. The story of Women’s resistance during World War II needs to be told and The Nine accomplishes this in spades." —Heather Morris, New York Times bestselling author of Cilka's Journey The Nine follows the true story of the author’s great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris. The nine women were all under thirty when they joined the resistance. They smuggled arms through Europe, harbored parachuting agents, coordinated communications between regional sectors, trekked escape routes to Spain and hid Jewish children in scattered apartments. They were arrested by French police, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. They were subjected to a series of French prisons and deported to Germany. The group formed along the way, meeting at different points, in prison, in transit, and at Ravensbrück. By the time they were enslaved at the labor camp in Leipzig, they were a close-knit group of friends. During the final days of the war, forced onto a death march, the nine chose their moment and made a daring escape. Drawing on incredible research, this powerful, heart-stopping narrative is a moving tribute to the power of humanity and friendship in the darkest of times.


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"Utterly gripping." —Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes "A compelling, beautifully written story of resilience, friendship and survival. The story of Women’s resistance during World War II needs to be told and The Nine accomplishes this in spades." —Heather Morris, New York Times bestselling author of Cilka's Journey The Nine follows the true story of the author’s great "Utterly gripping." —Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes "A compelling, beautifully written story of resilience, friendship and survival. The story of Women’s resistance during World War II needs to be told and The Nine accomplishes this in spades." —Heather Morris, New York Times bestselling author of Cilka's Journey The Nine follows the true story of the author’s great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris. The nine women were all under thirty when they joined the resistance. They smuggled arms through Europe, harbored parachuting agents, coordinated communications between regional sectors, trekked escape routes to Spain and hid Jewish children in scattered apartments. They were arrested by French police, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. They were subjected to a series of French prisons and deported to Germany. The group formed along the way, meeting at different points, in prison, in transit, and at Ravensbrück. By the time they were enslaved at the labor camp in Leipzig, they were a close-knit group of friends. During the final days of the war, forced onto a death march, the nine chose their moment and made a daring escape. Drawing on incredible research, this powerful, heart-stopping narrative is a moving tribute to the power of humanity and friendship in the darkest of times.

54 review for The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sage

    An incredible story. Sucked me in completely, much like Sonia Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance. All throughout the book I kept reflecting on the fact that these nine women WERE MY AGE?!!!? I’m 26, and the women ranged in age from 20-29. The determination, courage, quick wit, and sheer will to survive was just amazing. I mean, the alternative *was* death, but even so. The atrocities that the women witnessed and lived through, and the fact that all nine of them went from the Resistance, to conce An incredible story. Sucked me in completely, much like Sonia Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance. All throughout the book I kept reflecting on the fact that these nine women WERE MY AGE?!!!? I’m 26, and the women ranged in age from 20-29. The determination, courage, quick wit, and sheer will to survive was just amazing. I mean, the alternative *was* death, but even so. The atrocities that the women witnessed and lived through, and the fact that all nine of them went from the Resistance, to concentration camps and death marches, to escaping and crossing the front to freedom...just wow. I particularly liked the chapter at the end about their lives after the war, and the ingrained trauma that the next generation had to deal with — I never thought about anything like that but it makes sense. I think I expected more from this book writing-style wise, I can’t really put my finger on it, but parts of it felt a little disjointed. 3.5 overall, but a very solid addition to the numerous books about badass women in WWII.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Nine by Gwen Strauss is an excellent nonfiction that tells the suspenseful and true-life stories of a group on nine women whom were captured, imprisoned, and escaped from the clutches of the Nazis during WWII. This book was so engrossing, fascinating, harrowing, and captivating that I forgot at times that it was nonfiction. These women all participated in the Resistance against the German occupation, risked their very existence, and were imprisoned. Instead of giving up, they continued to fi The Nine by Gwen Strauss is an excellent nonfiction that tells the suspenseful and true-life stories of a group on nine women whom were captured, imprisoned, and escaped from the clutches of the Nazis during WWII. This book was so engrossing, fascinating, harrowing, and captivating that I forgot at times that it was nonfiction. These women all participated in the Resistance against the German occupation, risked their very existence, and were imprisoned. Instead of giving up, they continued to fight, and this is their story of escape, survival, and resilience. I am stunned and forever changed by their heroic and unforgettable stories. I am so grateful that the author (whose own aunt was one of the women) was able to bring light to these events and be able to tell the world of these strong women. Reading their stories of escape and survival is something that everyone needs to read. It is something that I will never forget. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is a true story of nine brave women who were imprisoned in Germany for their work in the French Resistance. It is difficult to give a rating to a book like this. The story of these strong women and their ability to face unthinkable horrors deserves an infinite number of stars. Unfortunately, the actual writing does not get the same high praise. I liked the way that the book focused on each one of the Nine, giving details of their life before the war, their work with the resistance, imprison This is a true story of nine brave women who were imprisoned in Germany for their work in the French Resistance. It is difficult to give a rating to a book like this. The story of these strong women and their ability to face unthinkable horrors deserves an infinite number of stars. Unfortunately, the actual writing does not get the same high praise. I liked the way that the book focused on each one of the Nine, giving details of their life before the war, their work with the resistance, imprisonment, and flight to freedom. Each woman’s unique personality was well highlighted and it was interesting to read a book that focused on political prisoners during WWII. Though each woman’s individual experiences are important, it is the bond of friendship that makes this a powerful story. The overall tone of the book was a bit confusing. Certain parts felt like a novel, other parts a historical textbook, and still other parts seemed semi-autobiographical. The author’s great aunt was one of the Nine, so it made sense that she would want to bring in a personal aspect to the story. I just felt like her inconsistent use of first person was jarring and disrupted the flow of the book. It also felt like the author would go off on tangents, citing historical facts that were interesting but took the reader farther away from the central story. These sections were probably meant to build context, but after a while they just started to feel excessive. I often found myself just wishing to get back to the women’s story. Overall it was an interesting book. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart or the overly sensitive reader. I wasn’t able to read it right before going to sleep due to its graphic nature. What these women and thousands of others faced is beyond horrible, but that is also why we need these stories to be told. Lest we forget. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and BookishFirst for this advanced copy!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tracie

    Gwen Strauss is the niece of Helene Podiasky, one of this group of nine women. Strauss is a poet but became a detective in trying to discover and honor the lives of these extraordinary resistance women who were known by aliases and numbers. Six were French, two Dutch and one Spanish, who were all sent to Ravensbruck as political prisoners. In July 1944, they were sent to an armament factory near Leipzig. The support these women gave each other and others kept them alive during a horrific time. T Gwen Strauss is the niece of Helene Podiasky, one of this group of nine women. Strauss is a poet but became a detective in trying to discover and honor the lives of these extraordinary resistance women who were known by aliases and numbers. Six were French, two Dutch and one Spanish, who were all sent to Ravensbruck as political prisoners. In July 1944, they were sent to an armament factory near Leipzig. The support these women gave each other and others kept them alive during a horrific time. That they escaped toward the end of the war and survived to in part tell their story is amazing. All the women suffered from physical and mental harm for the rest of their lives. The French government and people they came back to were not as supportive as they should have been. They and other women were basically encouraged to never speak or their ordeal. Although Strauss feels she never knew all of her aunts tribulations or those of the other women, she gives the reader a chance to raise a toast to friendship and bravery. I received a digital copy of this this book from the publisher through NetGalley for a honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    This book is about nine female resistance fighters who, led by one courageous leader, escape a German labor camp during World War II and journey on foot back to Paris. Not only are they running for their lives, but they smuggle Jews and save children along the way. These women are incredibly young, yet they are held together by their determination and their courage. I was shocked with every page, stunned by the way Strauss was able to weave the stories together. Her writing is beautiful, and th This book is about nine female resistance fighters who, led by one courageous leader, escape a German labor camp during World War II and journey on foot back to Paris. Not only are they running for their lives, but they smuggle Jews and save children along the way. These women are incredibly young, yet they are held together by their determination and their courage. I was shocked with every page, stunned by the way Strauss was able to weave the stories together. Her writing is beautiful, and the story of these women is even more beautiful. I couldn't put this book down until I finished, and now that I have, I want more. I want to see what happened to them after their story comes to a close. Strauss was delicate yet unfiltered in her portrayal of the brutality of what happened during World War II, which I admired and appreciated. This book isn't for everyone, but I don't think these topics of abuse and violence should be sugarcoated and glazed over. This was an amazing story!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Thank you to the publisher for a DRC of this book. Books about female spies and resistance workers in WWII France are all the rage right now. To be honest, they've all started blurring in my memory. What makes The Nine different is that this book focuses on a different aspect of that story- escape. The Nine tells the story of nine women who were arrested for resistance work in WWII France. They came from all different parts of Europe (two were Dutch, another Spanish), and did different types of wo Thank you to the publisher for a DRC of this book. Books about female spies and resistance workers in WWII France are all the rage right now. To be honest, they've all started blurring in my memory. What makes The Nine different is that this book focuses on a different aspect of that story- escape. The Nine tells the story of nine women who were arrested for resistance work in WWII France. They came from all different parts of Europe (two were Dutch, another Spanish), and did different types of work before their arrest. Before their arrival in the Nazi concentration camp system, most of them had never met each other. The women were sent to Ravensbruck, the famous women's concentration camp, and then on to a work camp where they worked in a munitions factory. The book tells a little about their experiences in Ravensbruck and subsequent camps, and about their time in the prisons in France before their deportation. But the real focus of the story is what happens in the last days of the war, when the SS, under orders not to let their prisoners fall into the hands of the Allies, emptied the concentration camps and took their prisoners on a march to nowhere, the Death Marches. These women, who had become friends in the camp, escaped from one of these Death Marches, and began their trek across Germany back to France. What made this book interesting to me was the depiction of rural Germany in the last days of the war. During their trek home the women encounter "normal" Germans, POWs, and German soldiers- some friendly, some hostile, and some resolved to the fact that they were about to lose the war and who thought that helping these escaped prisoners might reflect better on them. The nine women must also rely and support each other- a daunting task when faced with the challenges of base survival. I would recommend this title to anyone interested in espionage and resistance during WWII, but not as their first foray into this subject. If they've read and enjoyed The Lost Girls of Paris, A Train at Midnight, or any of the other books on this subject that has come out in the past few years, they will enjoy this book. However, if this is there first introduction to this subject, they may be lost on some of the aspects of the earlier parts of the story that are only briefly discussed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lori Sinsel Harris

    I finished reading "The Nine" before work this morning and all I can say is "what a story!!" I have read numerous books about the Holocaust, both fiction and non-fiction, some good or great, others not so great, but out of each and everyone of them there is one thing that stands out above all else and that is the resilience and courage of these men and women. In every book, novel, article, biography and memoir I have read those qualities rise above all. They shine brightly through the women's st I finished reading "The Nine" before work this morning and all I can say is "what a story!!" I have read numerous books about the Holocaust, both fiction and non-fiction, some good or great, others not so great, but out of each and everyone of them there is one thing that stands out above all else and that is the resilience and courage of these men and women. In every book, novel, article, biography and memoir I have read those qualities rise above all. They shine brightly through the women's stories in "The Nine". Giwen Strauss, the great-niece of Helene Podliasky tells the story of these nine courageous Resistance fighters with dignity and grace. She brings their trials to life and shares their suffering in such a way as we, the readers, feel it also. Not dwelling on, nor glossing over the horrors of the camps and tortures suffered by these women, she give4s us a clear portrait of what their time there encompassed. I really liked this book, I won't say I "enjoyed" reading it, because how does one enjoy reading about dying children and tortured women? But I did learn from these women and their story as I have learned from all the books I have read about WWII. Strauss does a great job bringing the facts to life so that we feel, right along with Helene, Zinka and all the other women. I liked that the facts weren't just listed in some long, dry, litany, but divulged in such a manner as to evoke emotion in the reader. To me this defines the difference of being a good writer, to being a great writer. 5 stars for sure, I found nothing worth detracting from a 5 star rating. I would recommend to readers that like to learn the hard truths about those times so maybe not the right kind of book for the more casual light reader, but certainly a fit for serious students of the Holocaust. Thank you to the publisher's at St. Martin's Publishing Group for the free advanced reader copy of this book. I am posting my review on Goodreads, NetGalley and Bookish First, and my website mycatreads.com, upon publication I will post on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Instagram and Twitter.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Reading this book was such an emotional experience...utterly heartbreaking and horrendous yet beautiful and wonderful. I have read over 50 WWII books in the last two months and this one is a standout. My feelings are so difficult to put into words as this book is not fiction. It is about nine young women, Résistance fighters, who were captured, tortured at forced labour camps including Ravensbrück and Leipzig and finally escaped, though the escape was another form of torture. The author, Gwen Str Reading this book was such an emotional experience...utterly heartbreaking and horrendous yet beautiful and wonderful. I have read over 50 WWII books in the last two months and this one is a standout. My feelings are so difficult to put into words as this book is not fiction. It is about nine young women, Résistance fighters, who were captured, tortured at forced labour camps including Ravensbrück and Leipzig and finally escaped, though the escape was another form of torture. The author, Gwen Strauss, the great niece of the leader of the group of nine, Hélène, does not gloss over brutal details such as waterboarding, pitiful "food" and polluted water, stench of rotting flesh, standing naked in lines outside for hours on end, lice, forced labour, seeing brutal murders...and so much more. She describes what the girls did before their arrests (fascinating and inspiring stories!). Strauss interviewed her aunt and descendants of these women...heroines in my view...and wrote the experiences here. And the full stories were not told because they were too unspeakable to mention. How they went through what they did...what they resorted to for mere survival, mentally and physically, at such a young age and then to also have people not believe them and others after is incomprehensible. To allow the enemy to win was certain death so the prisoners became "social workers" to bring each other back to existence. The attitudes toward groups such as the French, Jews, lesbians, Polish, etc. are explained. I loved the sweet recipe sharing and life-saving singing between the women! Each of the women's personalities, skills and characteristics are described in this book as well. We learn how they literally leaned on each other for support in their dark, dark days and nights. When escape finally came it was awful. Food was scarce. Though they didn't experience it personally, the Russians liberation and treatment of prisoners was horrendous. I hadn't thought about how the German villagers would treat escapees but wow...it's all here, too. The girls found kindness as well as hatred. The utter desperation is evident, so well written, yet the women did not feel sorry for themselves. This book is not for everyone (though it should be required reading) as it is very descriptive yet it is also inspirational and packed with information. It will break your heart but feed your soul. But more importantly, it focuses on the incredible, incredible mental strength and spirit of these women. They made the decision to face their situations unwaveringly, to survive. The book ends with how these women "lived" after this nightmare. Strauss follows their journey by visiting these camps with her daughter. What an emotional time that must have been! I learned so much from reading this. It is truly an epic book and will be memorable the rest of my life. It is THAT powerful and moving. My sincere thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this outstanding and breathtaking book in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate it very much.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Wilson

    “The Nine” by Gwen Strauss The Nine is the true story of a band of women who survived the worst of Nazi Germany. Through rigorous archival research, interviews with survivors, and information gathering from historians Strauss details the harrowing experience of nine women operating in the French Resistance of World War II. From each woman’s life before the war, to working for the Resistance, being captured and tortured by the SS, transported to the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp, and ev “The Nine” by Gwen Strauss The Nine is the true story of a band of women who survived the worst of Nazi Germany. Through rigorous archival research, interviews with survivors, and information gathering from historians Strauss details the harrowing experience of nine women operating in the French Resistance of World War II. From each woman’s life before the war, to working for the Resistance, being captured and tortured by the SS, transported to the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp, and eventual escape during a death march; Strauss does a phenomenal job of detailing the gruesome brutality each woman experienced at the hands of the Nazis. More importantly Strauss puts great emphasis on the relationships and bonds between the women in the group, and the relationships they forged with others in the camps. These strong bonds gave them the strength to maintain their humanity during their horrible imprisonment. The most striking example of this was their establishment of a “Sunday Dinner” tradition in the camp. The women would gather together every Sunday evening after being worked to exhaustion and detail their favorite recipes step by step, as if they were making them for everyone to enjoy. Some women went so far as creating recipe books from scraps they salvaged around the camp, and would describe listening to recipes from prisoners of other nationalities as trying “new cuisines”. Strauss also emphasizes the immense toll their captivity had on their mental and physical state. Most of them carried physical injuries and ailments for the rest of their lives, and the mental trauma haunted them constantly. Their lives after the war and the effects of imprisonment are probably the least talked about issue with survivors of the camps, but Strauss dedicates the time and research to telling this part of the women’s story that it deserves. “The Nine” is an essential read for anyone looking for more than just a numbers and dates account of the horrors of Nazism, it delivers the story of human resilience the victims deserve.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marti

    This was an amazing story of nine women who survived World War II in a German concentration camp and escaped during a death march as the war was ending and made their way home. The most inspiring aspect of the story was the ways in which these women and the others with them in the camp formed strong bonds and community to help sustain them through unimaginable brutality in the camp and hardship on their journey after escaping. Strauss did an amazing job of interweaving the women's stories (inclu This was an amazing story of nine women who survived World War II in a German concentration camp and escaped during a death march as the war was ending and made their way home. The most inspiring aspect of the story was the ways in which these women and the others with them in the camp formed strong bonds and community to help sustain them through unimaginable brutality in the camp and hardship on their journey after escaping. Strauss did an amazing job of interweaving the women's stories (including her own aunt who was one of the nine) as they worked with the French Resistance and then were captured, tortured, sent to the camp, and finally made their way home after escaping during the death march. While it is a non-fiction book the story is told so powerfully that you drawn in as if it were a novel. Much of Strauss's research to flesh out the story of the nine women involved talking with the families of the nine and the stories from the later generations did a good job of illustrating the inter-generational trauma of these families and how many of the survivors of this horrific time in history buried the stories in attempts to continue on with their lives which was not always a successful strategy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I really enjoyed reading this account, it was well written, interesting and informative. I always appreciate learning more about World War II from different viewpoints/populations that were impacted by their time in concentration camps and, in this specific case, how these women were able to escape the Death March to find the Americans on the front. Their stories are both captivating and emotional. I also appreciate that Gwen Strauss takes a modern, Feminist approach to telling this story, illum I really enjoyed reading this account, it was well written, interesting and informative. I always appreciate learning more about World War II from different viewpoints/populations that were impacted by their time in concentration camps and, in this specific case, how these women were able to escape the Death March to find the Americans on the front. Their stories are both captivating and emotional. I also appreciate that Gwen Strauss takes a modern, Feminist approach to telling this story, illuminating how what we know of WWII and womens' experience have been limited and how we may need to think/evaluate things slightly differently to get an accurate picture. I also agree with the author that sharing these stories and having memorials, etc. is of critical importance. I have previously read another story about women resistance workers in Paris and their experiences with deportation and, while it did parallel this story somewhat, I did not find this story to be any less intriguing and I continued to learn even more. Now that I've finished reading this book, I plan on following up by watching a documentary associated with the Nine!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The Nine is an excellent inside story from WWII history. February 2021 weather stories from the state of Texas and other areas in the United States - freezing temperatures, lack of water, lack of food- might bring new understanding of how severe conditions were for the nine young women who dared to resist the Nazi regime. Knowing that these nine people are real and having their photographs included in the book - THE NINE- really takes the reader back in time. You will feel their starvation and u The Nine is an excellent inside story from WWII history. February 2021 weather stories from the state of Texas and other areas in the United States - freezing temperatures, lack of water, lack of food- might bring new understanding of how severe conditions were for the nine young women who dared to resist the Nazi regime. Knowing that these nine people are real and having their photographs included in the book - THE NINE- really takes the reader back in time. You will feel their starvation and understand that the flower petals they jam into their mouths are ambrosia at that moment. There are heartbreaking details about daughters who helped their weaker mothers onto carts in order to ride to the destination instead of walking; unfortunately, they did not know that they had just identified their family members as the first ones to be cremated. When the young women arrive at a death camp, they are confronted with this scene: "On June 14, 1944, when Hélène arrived, the camp was covered in mud and reeked of rotting flesh, human excrement, and dense, ashy smoke from the crematorium." This book seems to be an important addition to World War II history.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Cha

    I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway! I have read other books about the holocaust. I never heard of the Resistance. I did not know much about the non-Jews in the holocaust. The subject matter is fascinating. Anything, about the holocaust, can be overwhelming. I always learn new ways that they were tortured in reading a holocaust book. This book was so much more than the horrific tales of the holocaust. This book is a real story of friendship. How friends encourage and survive in the worst of I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway! I have read other books about the holocaust. I never heard of the Resistance. I did not know much about the non-Jews in the holocaust. The subject matter is fascinating. Anything, about the holocaust, can be overwhelming. I always learn new ways that they were tortured in reading a holocaust book. This book was so much more than the horrific tales of the holocaust. This book is a real story of friendship. How friends encourage and survive in the worst of circumstances. The book tells how the women escaped and survived the torture camp. You learn more about the women's stories from their families (and some of their writings). You really felt like you knew the 9 women and what their lives were like. The book reads fairly quickly. At times, I had to put it down, to absorb the horrors and give my mind a break. I am so grateful to the author for all her work on this book. This must not have been an easy book to write (or research). I know want to learn more about the Resistance movement of the holocaust. It is a book I would definitely read again. A great book for everyone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Lund

    This beautifully written true story of nine brave women that escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany, had me captivated from the first page. The author, Gwenn Strauss, did a beautiful job capturing and preserving each of the characters different personalities throughout the book. This close knit group of nine women trekked across Europe during World War ll to freedom with just the clothes on their backs, hungry and exhausted. Along the way, they do find kind, generous people to help with shelter and This beautifully written true story of nine brave women that escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany, had me captivated from the first page. The author, Gwenn Strauss, did a beautiful job capturing and preserving each of the characters different personalities throughout the book. This close knit group of nine women trekked across Europe during World War ll to freedom with just the clothes on their backs, hungry and exhausted. Along the way, they do find kind, generous people to help with shelter and food. But at the same time, danger lurks everywhere. Throughout this book, there are photos of the main characters so that you are able to put a name to the face. I thought this was a nice added touch as it makes it more personal and enables you to really, truly see who these women were. I thought this was a beautifully written book. It tells of some untold truths you may not find in a history book. I am in no way a history buff, nor do I gravitate towards true stories, but this book right here reeled me in and kept me up until the wee hours of the morning because I couldn't put it down.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pooja

    *Disclaimer: I received this book as an advanced reader copy, won via raffle.* Books about world war II have always been interesting to me, and this book was no exception. It was beautifully written and absolutely heartbreaking and mesmerizing to read the story of the group of women bonding in prison in Nazi Germany. I won't say much, at the risk of spoiling the book, but to anyone looking for a riveting story with strong protagonists and a whirlwind of emotions, I highly, highly recommend this *Disclaimer: I received this book as an advanced reader copy, won via raffle.* Books about world war II have always been interesting to me, and this book was no exception. It was beautifully written and absolutely heartbreaking and mesmerizing to read the story of the group of women bonding in prison in Nazi Germany. I won't say much, at the risk of spoiling the book, but to anyone looking for a riveting story with strong protagonists and a whirlwind of emotions, I highly, highly recommend this book. Perhaps what was the most impactful was remembering that this is a true story, which until now had gone untold. Reading about their bravery, friendship, cleverness, and courage was an honor, especially considering how young they were, all of them just in their 20s. It was also astonishing to remember that one of the women was actually the author's great aunt, making the story just that much more impactful and personal.

  16. 4 out of 5

    B.

    I received an ARC through Bookish First. The first look excerpt on this one was so engaging that I used my points to get a copy. I was really looking forward to it. Over time, however, the story just broke down. It became almost painfully clear that the author was truly telling the story of her great aunt, as it had been passed down through family history, and not telling the story within the sphere of a historical context. With the right amount of research, this book could have been great. With I received an ARC through Bookish First. The first look excerpt on this one was so engaging that I used my points to get a copy. I was really looking forward to it. Over time, however, the story just broke down. It became almost painfully clear that the author was truly telling the story of her great aunt, as it had been passed down through family history, and not telling the story within the sphere of a historical context. With the right amount of research, this book could have been great. With a greater focus on placing events in context, instead of trying to tell her aunt's story while sitting by a fire (the image that comes to mind), this could have been a very powerful book. As it was, it went from powerful to rather lackluster really quick, giving the story qualities more akin to fiction than historical fact. It's my honest opinion that the women in this narrative deserved better representation than that which was provided in the ARC.

  17. 5 out of 5

    N

    This non-fiction book gives another view of women in World War II. It’s very heart wrenching , showing the brutality during that period in history. It’s a harrowing story about nine women resistance fighters who because of their activities during the war were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. They became friends through their ordeal and learned to depend on each other to survive. They challenged life through their struggle, their tragedy, their duty and sorrow and fought for their life. Th This non-fiction book gives another view of women in World War II. It’s very heart wrenching , showing the brutality during that period in history. It’s a harrowing story about nine women resistance fighters who because of their activities during the war were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. They became friends through their ordeal and learned to depend on each other to survive. They challenged life through their struggle, their tragedy, their duty and sorrow and fought for their life. They met the challenge and confronted the struggle. Their lives were interconnected by the war and their friendship came out of that. This was well researched and carefully written. You really engage with the women and connect to their story. Take the emotional journey with these nine women. It’s deeply moving and one that you won’t easily forget. It truly shows the best and the worst of humanity.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donna Shaw

    Nine young girls in their 20's, having been arrested as political prisoners, develop a strong bond while in German prisons. They have experienced the horrors of transports, torture, beatings and starvation. They are on a final death march near the end of the war and see an opportunity to escape and they take it. These women support each other while walking and hiding for 10 days through illness and dispair while trying to reach the American front. The narrative of the escape is told as a continu Nine young girls in their 20's, having been arrested as political prisoners, develop a strong bond while in German prisons. They have experienced the horrors of transports, torture, beatings and starvation. They are on a final death march near the end of the war and see an opportunity to escape and they take it. These women support each other while walking and hiding for 10 days through illness and dispair while trying to reach the American front. The narrative of the escape is told as a continuing dialog by each of the survivors. The author has retraced their story through writings by these women, meeting family members and thorough research with a follow up of each of their lives after the war.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alma

    This book is about friendship, survival, and the strength of women who played major roles in the victories of World War II. Over the years the sacrifices of these brave women were forgotten, or not acknowledged. Strauss seeks to tell the story of her great aunt Hélène, who was one of those women. Though the book is supposed to be based on Hélène, her work with the Resistance, and her leadership of the Nine, Strauss only had one interview with her. Read more about this book on my blog: https://sh This book is about friendship, survival, and the strength of women who played major roles in the victories of World War II. Over the years the sacrifices of these brave women were forgotten, or not acknowledged. Strauss seeks to tell the story of her great aunt Hélène, who was one of those women. Though the book is supposed to be based on Hélène, her work with the Resistance, and her leadership of the Nine, Strauss only had one interview with her. Read more about this book on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress....

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emiley M.

    A powerful look at the horrors of war from the eyes of real-life survivors, author Gwen Strauss' The Nine digs deeply into the lives of nine women held as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. Captured through their resistance efforts in France, the story of the nine protagonists begins with Strauss's own aunt Helene. Smoothly transitioning between historic events and biographical details, Strauss weaves a compelling and disquieting tale of suffering and strength from a female perspective. Intros A powerful look at the horrors of war from the eyes of real-life survivors, author Gwen Strauss' The Nine digs deeply into the lives of nine women held as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. Captured through their resistance efforts in France, the story of the nine protagonists begins with Strauss's own aunt Helene. Smoothly transitioning between historic events and biographical details, Strauss weaves a compelling and disquieting tale of suffering and strength from a female perspective. Introspective and harrowing, this is a book that offers details not just about the nines' journey to survival but also the lives they and others like them built in the aftermath. An intensely personal and fascinating book, The Nine is a literary odyssey worth taking.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Overmoyer

    Review to come shortly.

  22. 5 out of 5

    William

    Jan 15: Can't wait to read this book, which I will receive as a Giveaway! - - - - - - - - - February 26/21 Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an Advance Reader Copy of The Nine by Gwen Strauss. My first action after receiving the book: I sent a snap of it's cover to a friend in USA, who commented, "Looks interesting. But depressing." Thus far, though having read only "A Note To Readers" and "Chapter one: Helene," I know that The Nine is just the opposite of depressing. In tel Jan 15: Can't wait to read this book, which I will receive as a Giveaway! - - - - - - - - - February 26/21 Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an Advance Reader Copy of The Nine by Gwen Strauss. My first action after receiving the book: I sent a snap of it's cover to a friend in USA, who commented, "Looks interesting. But depressing." Thus far, though having read only "A Note To Readers" and "Chapter one: Helene," I know that The Nine is just the opposite of depressing. In telling this true story of her great aunt and eight other female resistance fighters, author Strauss has provided an answer to a question she herself asks in the note to her readers: "How do we hold on to the past's truths without letting the past hold us back from living in the present?" One way we do that is by reading books like The Nine. Here are a few brief comments about Chapter 1: Helene, one of the nine women of the story: (1) Helene was Strauss's great aunt. She joined the resistance early in the spring of 1943 and was imprisoned late in the winter of 1944, eleven months later. Strauss notes: "The average time a person lasted in the Resistance before being caught was three to six months." (2) Strauss describes an incident in Helene's work for the Resistance that brought to mind a very similar event with which the film Plenty begins. This film is about an English woman who worked in the French resistance. I greatly enjoyed viewing that film; the similarity convinced me that I would as well enjoy reading this book. (3) After her capture, Helene underwent various tortures, one of which involved having her head held under water by her interrogators nearly to the point of her drowning. Strauss calls this torture "waterboarding." As described, it was not like the water torture used by US interrogators on various of their Middle East captives. Perhaps Strauss chose the term because she felt that devilish Nazi methods are still with us in the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by US "interrogators" as part of their work with the "coalition of the willing." I am much looking forward to reading the rest of this true, and truly stranger than fiction, story.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ava

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mr Maksims Krivesko

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kate Quinn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chandel

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  30. 5 out of 5

    mad mags

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kit

  32. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Cole

  33. 5 out of 5

    J.J.

  34. 4 out of 5

    Amy Lafleur Meyers

  35. 5 out of 5

    Towandajane

  36. 4 out of 5

    Nissa

  37. 5 out of 5

    Janice

  38. 5 out of 5

    Alli

  39. 4 out of 5

    Kaitie Leary

  40. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  41. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  42. 4 out of 5

    Tina

  43. 4 out of 5

    Reasons_aurora

  44. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  45. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  46. 4 out of 5

    Steven Schend

  47. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Hammelef

  48. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  49. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  50. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  51. 4 out of 5

    Jessika

  52. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  53. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Farry

  54. 4 out of 5

    Jaidee

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