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Book Review: The Nine

About the Book

Much of what is written about World War II is told from the perspectives of men; the men who fought commanded and died in the war. Women often only enter the narrative when they are involved with the men of the story, yet women all over the world played an integral role in the allies achieving victory.


The Nine tells the story of women at war. While it has nine protagonists, the bulk of the story belongs to Hélène Podliasky, the author's great-aunt. All nine women were involved in clandestine operations in the French resistance, arrested and tortured by the Gestapo, and taken to the depths of Nazi Germany near the end of the war to work in forced labor camps. They make their escape during a confused death march and head towards the sounds of the front lines in hopes of liberation by American forces.


The Nine is published by St. Martin's press and scheduled for release on May 4, 2021.


My review 5/5

While there is little from World War II that has not been written about, the role of women in the war has been grossly underrepresented. Gwen Straus has found a remarkable tale of heroism in the accomplishments of these nine women and also weaves in other perspectives from the war that have been forgotten.


The story told in The Nine is harrowing yet ultimately encouraging. It takes the reader from inside Parisian spy rings, to the utmost horrors of Nazi Germany, and finally to liberation on the front lines. Having nine protagonists allows Straus to explore the many facets of the role women played in WWII, and to shine a light on their significant contributions. It also gives the reader a wide view of the impact of the war and its effect on multiple countries, ethnicities, families, and individuals, than most books on the topic achieve. The Nine is a book that no student of WWII can afford not to read, and the casual reader will enjoy the true tale of these brave women as well.


If you would like to order this book, please do so through one of your local independent book stores or through bookshop.org, an online book retailer with a mission to financially support independent book stores.


Corey D. Evans received an advance readers copy of this book and was not financially compensated for his review.


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