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Defiance
     

Defiance

3.6 17
by Nechama Tec
 

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The prevailing image of European Jews during the Holocaust is one of helpless victims, but in fact many Jews struggled against the terrors of the Third Reich. In Defiance, Nechama Tec offers a riveting history of one such group, a forest community in western Belorussia that would number more than 1,200 Jews by 1944--the largest armed rescue operation of Jews

Overview

The prevailing image of European Jews during the Holocaust is one of helpless victims, but in fact many Jews struggled against the terrors of the Third Reich. In Defiance, Nechama Tec offers a riveting history of one such group, a forest community in western Belorussia that would number more than 1,200 Jews by 1944--the largest armed rescue operation of Jews by Jews in World War II. Tec reveals that this extraordinary community included both men and women, some with weapons, but mostly unarmed, ranging from infants to the elderly. She reconstructs for the first time the amazing details of how these partisans and their families--hungry, exposed to the harsh winter weather--managed not only to survive, but to offer protection to all Jewish fugitives who could find their way to them. Arguing that this success would have been unthinkable without the vision of one man, Tec offers penetrating insight into the group's commander, Tuvia Bielski. Tec brings to light the untold story of Bielski's struggle as a partisan who lost his parents, wife, and two brothers to the Nazis, yet never wavered in his conviction that it was more important to save one Jew than to kill twenty Germans. She shows how, under Bielski's guidance, the partisans smuggled Jews out of heavily guarded ghettos, scouted the roads for fugitives, and led retaliatory raids against Belorussian peasants who collaborated with the Nazis. Herself a Holocaust survivor, Nechama Tec here draws on wide-ranging research and never before published interviews with surviving partisans--including Tuvia Bielski himself--to reconstruct here the poignant and unforgettable story of those who chose to fight.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The history of a Jewish partisan group, a forest community established in 1942 in western Belorussia, that would number more than 1,200 by 1944--the largest armed rescue of Jews by Jews in WWII. Drawing on wide-ranging research and original interviews with survivor partisans--including charismatic leader Tuvia Bielski himself, two weeks before his death in 1987--Tec reconstructs the lives of those in the community and tells how they survived in a hostile environment. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"Excellent."—David Denby, The New Yorker

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199744022
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
12/26/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
300,116
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Nechama Tec is Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut, Stamford. She is the author of six books, including In the Lion's Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen, the winner of the 1990 Christopher Award, When Light Pierced the Darkness, and Dry Tears, a memoir of her experiences during the years of the Nazi occupation of Poland.

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Defiance 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a history teacher, I was intrigued by the story. I went and saw the movie and was so curious I had to buy the book. I am an avid reader of histories which can at times be slow reading because they bog you down with the details. However, while reading this book, I could not put it down. It is very readable and draws you into the story...the way any good story should. The last few chapters are bit repetitive, but they show further evidence of the story of the Bielski Partisans. I was so impressed with this book, I made my teaching partner read it. We have since requested classroom sets so that we can have our students read it and incorporate it into our classes. This is a story so rarely told.
enigmaticblue More than 1 year ago
Although the writing style of the book is sometimes unwieldy, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of WWII that is seldom explored. Prior to seeing the movie (also very good), I had never heard of the Bielski brothers, and I have done a lot of reading about WWII and the Holocaust. I found Tuvya Bielski particularly interesting--imperfect, and yet heroic as he was. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about this period of history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From a historical standpoint, this book gives a different insight into the Holocaust from a Russian Jew standpoint. It does bog down in many areas but also shows how even heroes have human sides and numerous faults. Not an enjoyable read from a novel viewpoint but excellent from a research or historical view.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally enjoyed reading this book, but I found it a slight let-down after watching the movie. I know some would say this is not a credible review, but before I read it, I expected it to have a storyline, like the film, however, it did not. It was a book of information; great if someone is researching the subject of the Bielski Otriad.
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sakash More than 1 year ago
Book was very informative, well written, and very well researched.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book