Innocent Soldierby Josef Holub
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The critically acclaimed 2006 Mildred L. Batchelder Award-winning story of two boys caught up in an unwinnable war--now in paperback with After Words bonus features. Adam is a farmhand conscripted by Napoleon's army, which is gathering strength for its campaign against Russia. Sergeant Krauter makes Adam the victim of his most sadistic urges. But when an aristocratic young lieutenant spots Adam and requisitions him as his personal valet, Adam's life seems to take a turn for the better. As Adam and Lieutenant Konrad Klara draw closer to Moscow, they encounter a panoply of wartime horrors. AN INNOCENT SOLDIER--both poignant and funny--explores the importance of friendship in persevering against overwhelming odds.
Beth E. Andersen
Greg M. Romaneck
AN INNOCENT SOLDIER
Author: Holub, Josef
Sixteen-year-old Adam Feuchter is tricked by the farmer he works for, substituted for the farmer's own son and drafted into the army. Napoleon's Grande Armée, the largest army the world had ever seen, is on its way to Russia. At first pleased to be part of the magnificent regiment and eager to catch a glimpse of "the greatest general in history," Adam is soon disillusioned by war. The cruelties and humiliations he faces at the hands of his own sergeant are just the beginning, as he witnesses the horrible ways soldiers treat locals. Starvation, cholera and Cossack attacks foreshadow disaster in Moscow and the ugly retreat, hindered by brutal cold and Russian troops hounding them. Translated from the German, the simple, understated and at times eloquent first-person narrative rings true to one boy's experience of war, adventure and survival. (map spread, historical note) (Fiction. 12+)
\\\\\\\\Holub, Josef. An Innocent Soldier. Tr. by Michael Gofmann. 2005. 240p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $16.99 (0-439-62771-0).
Gr. 712. In this unevenly translated novel, a teenaged farmhand is forced to take part in Napoleon's ill-fated Russian campaign. Unsuspecting orphan Adam is handed over to recruiting officers by the farmer he works for as a replacement for the man's drafted son. Assigned to the horse artillery, Adam leads a miserable life until the blue-blooded Lieutenant Konrad Klara requisitions him to become his personal servant. The young men head toward Moscow, but are soon overcome by hunger and disease. After witnessing many wartime atrocities, the two survive the suicide march out of Russia and form an unlikely bond that transcends class and station. Other than a brief historical note, little background information is given, assuming much prior knowledge on the part of the reader. While the novel is evocative in places, the translation is replete with odd-sounding phrases and awkward transitions. The book's greatest strength is the description of a friendship formed by two motherless boys from different classes who find common cause in the middle of an unwinnable war. Jennifer Hubert
HOLUB, Josef. An Innocent Soldier. tr. by Michael Hofmann. 231p. CIP. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. 2005. Tr $16.99. ISBN 0-439-62771-0. LC 2005002583.
Gr 8 UpThe book begins in 1811 in pre-unification Germany as a farmer enlists his unwitting farmhand, Adam, in Napoleon's Grande Armée under the name of his only son, Georg Bayh. The bewildered teen, who is sure that this great “mistake” will eventually be rectified, trains dutifully despite being continually harassed by a sadistic sergeant. He is saved when a young aristocratic lieutenant needs a servant, and his situation greatly improves. This is a tale of unlikely friends marching from Germany to Moscow with Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of Russia. While few battles are detailed, readers experience all of the horror, drudgery, and absurdity of war. Vivid descriptions include the endless walking, hustling for boots and warm clothing, gnawing hunger, and dysentery. Old-fashioned rules of engagement, etiquette, and a strict class system are all seamlessly worked into Adam's believable narrative. The boy grows from being a scared child to an obedient servant, to becoming a capable and resilient, if arguably less innocent, soldier. The first two thirds of first-person account are rich in period detail, but rarely broken up with dialogue, making it a tad slow going. The pacing somehow echoes the experiences of Napoleon's coalition army. Things pick up during its retreat, as the danger increases and the boys are able to lay aside class strictures to forge a true friendship. This is a well-wrought psychological tale that might have a difficult time finding an audience, but has a lot to offer to those seeking to build a deep hist
- Scholastic, Inc.
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- 3 MB
- Age Range:
- 12 - 18 Years
Meet the Author
Josef is author of The Robber and Me and An Innocent Soldier. Published in 2005, An Innocent Soldier chronicles the journey of a sixteen-year-old boy who is tricked into fighting in the Napoleonic Wars by his employer. This ALA Notable Children’s book is also the winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award.
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The book was great; the cover art wasn't! On the cover of the version available for nook, in my opinion, Adam looks sort of Dopey, and I just don't like it. The other version is dark green with a picture of Adam supporting Klara. He has a look in his eye, and in his appearence that gives you the feeling that he's been through a lot. Google it if you want to see for yourself.
I loved it it reminded me of War Horse
I have to admit, I really didn't know what to expect from this book, but I ended up being very impressed. It was a really good war book. A great novel of a farmhand that was forced into the Nepoleon army and ended up living nicely after. I would definately recommend this book to anyone.
This was an okay book in my opinion. It talks about this farm boy named Adam and how he is part of the war. So parts are boring and some are hard to understand. This book was kind of hard for my.
it was one of the best books i ever read and was a page turner
An Innocent Soldier is about a young farmhand, Adam, forced to join the largest army in the world, the Grand Armée, led by Napoleon. He is signed up for war under the name of the son of the farmer for whom he works for. Adam is sent to be trained by the malign Sergeant Krauter who constantly bullies Adam and only Adam, yet no one knows why. He wants to escape, but chooses against it after seeing the horrific consequences. He is saved by Lieutenant Lammersdorf and takes Adam under his wing as his new servant. Adam and Lieutenant Lammersdorf depend on each other for survival in the terrible, bloody war. Their friendship and trust continues to grow throughout the book, which was unusual because of their very different social rankings. Holub vividly describes their terrors that they are forced to face everyday. One of which includes while bathing in a lake, their clothes, horses, and money all get stolen and with the freezing temperatures at night in Russia, they are bound for trouble. There is also hardly any food to eat and no clean water to drink for the entire army. During the war, many got sick and died, from causes other than battles. The book does not go into great detail about the separate battles, but shows the damage and aftermath of them. Adam and the lieutenant grow from the war, and learn more about themselves. In the end, only about one fourth of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that went to Russia returned home. This book teaches about friendship, trust, pain, cruelty, strenght, and perseverance. I would certainly recommend this book, especially to someone needing motivation to overcome their difficulties in life.
I read this book and I couldn't put it down. I love the way it's written and I loved the storyline. The ending was perfect. It's a simple book that focuses on the life of this one soldier and his friend he makes on the way. This book is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!