Ordinary Heroes

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Overview

"Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horrors of the Balingen concentration camp. But when, after his father's death, he discovers a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancee and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and is driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic, distant man who always
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Overview

"Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horrors of the Balingen concentration camp. But when, after his father's death, he discovers a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancee and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and is driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic, distant man who always refused to talk about his war." "As he pieces together his father's past through military archives, letters, and, finally, notes from a memoir his father wrote in prison, secretly preserved by the officer who defended him, Stewart starts to assemble a dramatic and baffling chain of events. He learns how Dubin, a JAG lawyer attached to Patron's Third Army and eager for combat experience, got more than he bargained for when he was ordered to arrest Robert Martin, a wayward OSS officer who, despite his spectacular bravery with the French Resistance, appeared to be acting on orders other than his commander's." "In pursuit of Martin, Dubin and his sergeant had parachuted into Bastogne just as the Battle of the Bulge reached its apex. Pressed into the leadership of a desperately depleted rifle company, the men were forced to abandon their quest for Martin and his fiery, maddeningly elusive comrade, Gita Lodz, as they fought for their lives through the ferocious winter battle that would determine Europe's fate." Reconstructing the terrible events and agonizing choices his father faced on the battlefield, in the courtroom, and in love, Stewart gains a closer understanding of his past, of his father's character, and of the brutal nature of war itself.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Like many other GIs, Stewart Dubinsky's dad always refused to talk about his experiences in World War II; but Stewart had been told that his father had rescued his mother from the horrors of a German concentration camp. Then, after his father's demise, Dubinsky finds a packet of letters that challenges every lofty conception he holds of his old man. However, as he probes deeper into his father's past, Stewart discovers that war sometimes has a way of undermining every expectation. A first-rate thriller by a master of the craft.
Janet Maslin
Ordinary Heroes works best through vivid, anecdotal descriptions: authentic-sounding stories of foxhole ordeals, battlefield casualties and a particularly terrifying parachute drop. Even when expressed stiltedly ("and tears still would not come, leaving me in a state of constipated agitation"), these memories have immediacy. The author's anguish about war is unmistakably real.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
When retired newspaperman Stewart Dubinsky (last seen in 1987's Presumed Innocent) discovers letters his deceased father wrote during his tour of duty in WWII, a host of family secrets come to light. In Turow's ambitious, fascinating page-turner, a "ferocious curiosity" compels the divorced Dubinsky to study his "remote, circumspect" father's papers, which include love letters written to a fianc e the family had never heard of, and a lengthy manuscript, which his father wrote in prison and which includes the shocking disclosure of his father's court-martial for assisting in the escape of OSS officer Robert Martin, a suspected spy. The manuscript, hidden from everyone but the attorney defending him, tells of Capt. David Dubin's investigation into Martin's activities and of both men's entanglements with fierce, secretive comrade Gita Lodz. From optimistic soldier to disenchanted veteran, Dubin-who, via the manuscript, becomes the book's de facto narrator-describes the years of violence he endured and of a love triangle that exacted a heavy emotional toll. Dubinsky's investigations prove revelatory at first, and life-altering at last. Turow makes the leap from courtroom to battlefield effortlessly. (Nov. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Moving away from legal thrillers (Reversible Errors) and nonfiction (Ultimate Punishment), Turow has penned a searing story of World War II interwoven with a personal family drama. Stewart Dubinsky is not especially close to his father, David Dubin. Even their names are different, yet David's death prompts Stewart to try and find out more about this enigmatic man. He uncovers some startling information: that his father was engaged to another woman before his mother, and that he was court-martialed during the Battle of the Bulge. Dubinsky decides to write a family history, starts digging, and uncovers a manuscript his father wrote about his war experiences that is alternately moving and horrifying, vindicating, and vilifying and shines light on a side of his parents that he never knew. While some of the historical facts presented are not 100 percent accurate, the book's emotional wallop more than justifies the literary license and should secure its place in the canon of World War II literature. An extraordinary, unforgettable novel, which Turow notes was inspired by his own father's military experiences. Highly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/05.]-Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a change of venue from contemporary courtroom to World War II battlefield, Turow further distinguishes himself from other lawyers turned bestselling authors with his most ambitious novel to date. Readers will recognize narrator Stewart Dubinsky from Presumed Innocent (1987) and The Laws of Our Fathers (1996). Now a retired journalist coming to terms with his own failed marriage, he discovers a number of letters from his late father that suggest dark secrets at the heart of the family's history. It seems that during the war, Stewart's father had been engaged to another woman (to whom the letters are addressed), that he had been court-martialed and imprisoned for assisting a potential spy's escape and that Stewart's mother and father had kept the truth from their children. Always a dogged reporter, Stewart pursues the story, despite warnings that he might be devastated by what he learns. Revelation comes more quickly than Stewart anticipates, through his father's memoir of his war years, a manuscript entrusted to the lawyer who defended him. That manuscript (which subsequently provides the majority of Turow's narrative) describes the transformation of a young idealist, one who finds his innocence shattered by his initiation into combat and involvement in an unlikely romantic triangle. He had been ordered to arrest an OSS officer named Robert Martin, a maverick whose fellow soldiers insist is a brave patriot but whose commanding officer believes is a communist sympathizer. His mission enmeshes him with the inscrutable Gita Lodz, who may or may not be Martin's lover, and who will stop at nothing to advance their cause (whatever that cause may be). While some of the writing succumbs towar-is-hell cliche and there are passages of sentimental dialogue that suggest flashbacks from 1940s battle movies, the story of shifting allegiances, divided loyalties, compromised principles and primal instincts is as engrossing as any of Turow's legal thrillers. Without diminishing his page-turning narrative momentum, Turow extends his literary range.
From the Publisher
Praise for Scott Turow:

"No one writes better mystery suspense novels than Scott Turow." -Los Angeles Times

"Scott Turow not only knows what his readers want, he delivers just about perfectly . . . Turow is the closest we have to a Balzac of the fin de siecle professional class." -Todd Gitlin, Chicago Tribune

"[Turow has] set new standards for the genre, most notably in the depth and subtlety of his characterizations . . . the kind of reading pleasure that only the best novelists-genre or otherwise-can provide."-Gary Krist, The New York Times

"Of all the lawyer-storytellers who have clambered onto the bestseller lists in recent years, Scott Turow is the champ. Not only are his plots absorbing and his characters persuasive, but his sentences flow with an artful cadence."-Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post Book World

Praise for Ordinary Heroes:

"Ordinary Heroes is a beautifully wrought, finely achieved reconstruction of an elusive, a clandestine life-a World War II life, as it happens-by Scott Turow at the very top of his form. So, be warned, a book to start on Friday night." -Alan Furst

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781415924822
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Scott Turow is the author of worldwide bestselling novels including Presumed Innocent, Innocent, The Burden of Proof, Reversible Errors and Limitations. His works of nonfiction include One L, his journal from his first year at law school, and Ultimate Punishment, which he wrote after serving on the Illinois commission that investigated the administration of the death penalty and influenced Governor George Ryan’s unprecedented commutation of the sentences of 164 death row inmates on his last day in office. Ultimate Punishment won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He lives outside Chicago, where he is partner in the firm of SNR Denton (formerly Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal).

Biography

In addition to writing cinematic legal thrillers like Presumed Innocent (1987), Reversible Errors (2002), and Limitations (2006), lawyer Scott Turow has also drawn upon his personal and professional experience for thought-provoking nonfiction that includes One L (1977), an account of his freshman year at Harvard Law, and Ultimate Punishment (2003), a reflection on capital punishment. His essays and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and other distinguished publications. In 2005, he forayed into historical fiction with Ordinary Heroes, an emotionally resonant novel inspired by his father's experiences in World War II. A practicing attorney with experience in both civil and criminal law, Turow has become involved in extensive pro bono work on death penalty cases.

Good To Know

Turow rarely writes his novels in a linear fashion from beginning to end. Instead, he sketches out individual scenes and then figures out where they fit into the grand scheme of a story.

Turow may be a bestselling author who has sold roughly 25 million books worldwide, but this crusading attorney has yet to give up his day job!

Don't let that "F" on your report card deter you from a writing career; just look at Turow, who flunked freshman English in high school, but whose shelves are currently lined with literary awards.

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Amherst College, 1970; M.A., Stanford University, 1974; J.D., Harvard University, 1978
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Ordinary HEROES


By SCOTT TUROW

FARRAR, STRAUS and GIROUX

Copyright © 2005 Scott Turow
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-374-18421-6


Chapter One

STEWART: ALL PARENTS KEEP SECRETS

All parents keep secrets from their children. My father, it seemed, kept more than most.

The first clue came when Dad passed away in February 2003 at the age of eighty-eight, after sailing into a Bermuda Triangle of illness-heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema-all more or less attributable to sixty years of cigarettes. Characteristically, my mother refused to leave the burial details to my sister and me and met the funeral director with us. She chose a casket big enough to require a hood ornament, then pondered each word as the mortician read out the proposed death announcement.

"Was David a veteran?" he asked. The undertaker was the cleanest-looking man I'd ever seen, with lacquered nails, shaped eyebrows, and a face so smooth I suspected electrolysis.

"World War II," barked Sarah, who at the age of fifty-two still raced to answer before me.

The funeral director showed us the tiny black rendering of the Stars and Stripes that would appear in the paper beside Dad's name, but my mother was already agitating her thinning gray curls.

"No," she said. "No war. Not for this David Dubin." When she was upset, Mom's English tended to fail her. And my sister and I both knew enough to keep quiet when she was in those moods. The war, except for the bare details of how my father, an American officer, and my mother, an inmate in a German concentration camp, had fallen in love, virtually at first sight, had been an unpleasantness too great for discussion throughout our lives. But I had always assumed the silence was for her sake, not his.

By the end of the mourning visitation, Mom was ready to face sorting through Dad's belongings. Sarah announced she was too pressed to lend a hand and headed back to her accounting practice in Oakland, no doubt relishing the contrast with my unemployment. Mom assigned me to my father's closet on Monday morning, insisting that I consider taking much of his clothing. It was nearly all disastrously out of fashion, and only my mother could envision me, a longtime fatso, ever shrinking enough to squeeze into any of it. I selected a few ties to make her happy and began boxing the rest of his old shirts and suits for donation to the Haven, the Jewish relief agency my mother had helped found decades ago and which she almost single-handedly propelled for nearly twenty years as its Executive Director.

But I was unprepared for the emotion that overtook me. I knew my father as a remote, circumspect man, very orderly in almost everything, brilliant, studious, always civil. He preferred work to social engagements, although he had his own polite charm. Still, his great success came within the mighty fortress of the law. Elsewhere, he was less at ease. He let my mother hold sway at home, making the same weary joke for more than fifty years-he would never, he said, have enough skill as a lawyer to win an argument with Mom.

The Talmud says that a father should draw a son close with one hand and push him away with the other. Dad basically failed on both accounts. I felt a steady interest from him which I took for affection. Compared to many other dads, he was a champ, especially in a generation whose principal ideal of fathering was being a 'good provider.' But he was elusive at the core, almost as if he were wary of letting me know him too well. To the typical challenges I threw out as a kid, he generally responded by retreating, or turning me over to my mother. I have a perpetual memory of the times I was alone with him in the house as a child, infuriated by the silence. Did he know I was there? Or even goddamn care?

Now that Dad was gone, I was intensely aware of everything I'd never settled with him-in many cases, not even started on. Was he sorry I was not a lawyer like he was? What did he make of my daughters? Did he think the world was a good place or bad, and how could he explain the fact that the Trappers, for whom he maintained a resilient passion, had never won the World Series in his lifetime? Children and parents can't get it all sorted out. But it was painful to find that even in death he remained so enigmatic.

And so this business of touching the things my father touched, of smelling his Mennen talcum powder and Canoe aftershave, left me periodically swamped by feelings of absence and longing. Handling his personal effects was an intimacy I would never have dared if he were alive. I was in pain but deeply moved every minute and wept freely, burbling in the rear corner of the closet in hopes my mother wouldn't hear me. She herself was yet to shed a tear and undoubtedly thought that kind of iron stoicism was more appropriate to a man of fifty-six.

With the clothing packed, I began looking through the pillar of cardboard boxes I'd discovered in a dim corner. There was a remarkable collection of things there, many marked by a sentimentality I always thought Dad locked. He'd kept the schmaltzy valentines Sarah and I had made for him as grade-school art projects, and the Kindle County championship medal he'd won in high school in the backstroke. Dozens of packets of darkening Kodachromes reflected the life of his young family. In the bottom box, I found memorabilia of World War II, a sheaf of brittle papers, several red Nazi armbands taken, I imagined, as war trophies, and a curled stack of two-by-two snaps, good little black-and-white photos that must have been shot by someone else since my father was often the subject, looking thin and taciturn. Finally, I came upon a bundle of letters packed in an old candy tin to which a note was tied with a piece of green yarn dulled by time. It was written in a precise hand and dated May 14, 1945.

Dear David,

I am returning to your family the letters you have sent while you have been overseas. I suppose they may have some significance to you in the future. Inasmuch as you are determined to no longer be a part of my life, I have to accept that once time passes and my hurt diminishes, they will not mean anything to me. I'm sure your father has let you know that I brought your ring back to him last month.

For all of this, David, I can't make myself be angry at you for ending our engagement. When I saw your father, he said that you were now being court-martialed and actually face prison. I can hardly believe that about someone like you, but I would never have believed that you would desert me either. My father says men are known to go crazy during wartime. But I can't wait any longer for you to come back to your senses.

When I cry at night, David-and I won't pretend for your sake that I don't-one thing bothers me the most. I spent so many hours praying to God for Him to deliver you safely; I begged Him to allow you to live, and if He was especially kind, to let you come back whole. Now that the fighting there is over, I cannot believe that my prayers were answered and that I was too foolish to ask that when you returned, you would be coming home to me.

I wish you the best of luck in your present troubles. Grace

This letter knocked me flat. Court-martialed! The last thing I could imagine of my tirelessly proper father was being charged with a serious crime. And a heartbreaker as well. I had never heard a word about any of these events. But more even than surprise, across the arc of time, like light emitted by distant stars decades ago, I felt pierced by this woman's pain. Somehow her incomprehension alloyed itself with my own confusion and disappointment and frustrated love, and instantly inspired a ferocious curiosity to find out what had happened.

* * *

Dad's death had come while I was already gasping in one of life's waterfalls. Late the year before, after reaching fifty-five, I had retired early from the Kindle County Tribune, my sole employer as an adult. It was time. I think I was regarded as an excellent reporter-I had the prizes on the wall to prove it-but nobody pretended, me least of all, that I had the focus or the way with people to become an editor. By then, I'd been on the courthouse beat for close to two decades. Given the eternal nature of human failings, I felt like a TV critic assigned to watch nothing but reruns. After thirty-three years at the Trib, my pension, combined with a generous buyout, was close to my salary, and my collegiate cynicism about capitalism had somehow fed an uncanny knack in the stock market. With our modest tastes, Nona and I wouldn't have to worry about money. While I still had the energy, I wanted to indulge every journalist's fantasy: I was going to write a book.

It did not work out. For one thing, I lacked a subject. Who the hell really cared about the decades-old murder trial of the Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney that I'd once thought was such a nifty topic? Instead, three times a day, I found myself staring across the table at Nona, my high-school sweetheart, where it swiftly became apparent that neither of us especially liked what we were seeing. I wish I could cite some melodrama like an affair or death threats to explain what had gone wrong. But the truth is that the handwriting had been on the wall so long, we'd just regarded it as part of the decorating. After thirty years, we had drifted into one of those marriages that never recovered its motive once our daughters were grown. Nine weeks before Dad's passing, Nona and I had separated. We had dinner once each week, where we discussed our business amiably, frustrated one another in the ways we always had, and exhibited no signs of longing or second thoughts. Our daughters were devastated, but I figured we both deserved some credit for having the guts to hope for better at this late date.

Nevertheless, I was already feeling battered before Dad died. By the time we buried him, I was half inclined to jump into the hole beside him. Sooner or later, I knew I'd pick myself up and go on. I'd been offered freelance gigs at two magazines, one local, one national. At five foot nine and 215 pounds, I am not exactly a catch, but the expectations of middle age are much kinder to men than women, and there were already signs that I'd find companionship, if and when I was ready.

For the moment, though, out of work and out of love, I was far more interested in taking stock. My life was like everybody else's. Some things had gone well, some hadn't. But right now I was focused on the failures, and they seemed to have started with my father.

And so that Monday, while my mother thought I was struggling into Dad's trousers, I remained in his closet and read through dozens of his wartime letters, most of them typed Army V-mails, which had been microfilmed overseas and printed out by the post office at home. I stopped only when Mom called from the kitchen, suggesting I take a break. I found her at the oval drop-leaf table, which still bore the marks of the thousands of family meals eaten there during the 1950s.

"Did you know Dad was engaged before he met you?" I asked from the doorway.

She revolved slowly. She had been drinking tea, sipping it through a sugar cube she clenched between her gapped front teeth, a custom still retained from the shtetl. The brown morsel that remained was set on the corner of her saucer.

"Who told you that?"

I described Grace's letter. Proprietary of everything, Mom demanded to see it at once. At the age of eighty, my mother remained a pretty woman, paled by age, but still with even features and skin that was notably unwithered. She was a shrimp-I always held her to blame that I had not ended up as tall as my father-but people seldom saw her that way because of the aggressive force of her intelligence, like someone greeting you in sword and armor. Now, Mom studied Grace Morton's letter with an intensity that seemed as if it could, at any instant, set the page aflame. Her expression, when she put it down, might have shown the faintest influence of a smile.

"Poor girl," she said.

"Did you know about her?"

"'Know'? I suppose. It was long over by the time I met your father, Stewart. This was wartime. Couples were separated for years. Girls met other fellows. Or vice versa. You've heard, no, of Dear John letters?"

"But what about the rest of this? A court-martial? Did you know Dad was court-martialed?"

"Stewart, I was in a concentration camp. I barely spoke English. There had been some legal problem at one point, I think. It was a misunderstanding."

"'Misunderstanding'? This says they wanted to send him to prison."

"Stewart, I met your father, I married your father, I came here with him in 1946. From this you can see that he did not go to prison."

"But why didn't he mention this to me? I covered every major criminal case in Kindle County for twenty years, Mom. I talked to him about half of those trials. Wouldn't you think at some point he'd have let on that he was once a criminal defendant himself?"

"I imagine he was embarrassed, Stewart. A father wants his son's admiration."

For some reason this response was more frustrating than anything yet. If my father was ever concerned about my opinion of him, it had eluded me. Pushed again toward tears, I sputtered out my enduring lament. He was such a goddamn crypt of a human being! How could Dad have lived and died without letting me really know him?

There was never a second in my life when I have doubted my mother's sympathies. I know she wished I'd grown up a bit more like my father, with a better damper on my emotions, but I could see her absorb my feelings in a mom's way, as if soaked up from the root. She emitted a freighted Old World sigh.

"Your father," she said, stopping to pick a speck of sugar off her tongue and to reconsider her words. Then, she granted the only acknowledgment she ever has of what I faced with him. "Stewart," she said, "your father sometimes had a difficult relationship with himself."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Ordinary HEROES by SCOTT TUROW Copyright © 2005 by Scott Turow. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Reading Group Guide

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Reader’s Guide

About This Guide
The questions and discussion topics that follow are designed to enhance your reading of Scott Turow’s Ordinary Heroes. We hope they will enrich your experience of this mesmerizing novel and the frontlines it brings to life.

Introduction
Courts of law have set the stage in each of Scott Turow’s bestselling books. With Ordinary Heroes, Turow introduces an attorney who is operating in a new setting and period—on the killing fields of World War II’s European theater, under highly unusual circumstances. A JAG lawyer assigned to a case in which the enemy may prove to be his own government, with no law office and no research library, David Dubin is ordered to bring a fellow soldier to justice.

Ordinary Heroes is narrated by Kindle County journalist Stewart Dubinsky (whom readers may recognize from some of Turow’s previous novels) and by Stewart’s father. Stewart discovers an unexpected chapter of family lore after the death of his father, David Dubin, who Americanized the surname that Stewart later reclaimed. Through wartime letters, military archives, and eventually the notes for a memoir that Dubin wrote in prison, Stewart pieces together the secret history of his father’s clandestine actions, which led to his court-martial. Unfolding through the eyes of father and son, the truth becomes a tantalizing mystery for readers to solve.

Stewart had always believed that his parents met when Dubin rescued his future wife from the horrors of the Balingen concentration camp. Stewart’s research will lead him to a very different truth; he will discover that his father was there not as a liberator but to serve a warrant for the arrest of a wayward OSS officer named Robert Martin. Dubin had pursued Martin and his seductive cohort, Gita Lodz, through a series of daring escapades. Despite Martin’s spectacular bravery with the French Resistance, Dubin’s superiors think Martin is a Communist sympathizer.

Marked by high-caliber suspense and stirring dilemmas that capture the essence of love and war, Ordinary Heroes is a novel rich with topics for your reading group.

Questions for Discussion
1. Discuss the effect of the V-mails on the book’s opening pages. What was it like to read David Dubin’s eyewitness account through the “artifacts” that comprise much of the rest of the book? Do father and son have different perceptions of life in Ordinary Heroes?

2. In chapter two, Dubin writes about his reasons for enlisting. What were his true motivations in going to war?

3. What are Dubin’s initial impressions of Staff Sergeant Bidwell? How does Biddy’s perception of racism compare to Dubin’s perception of it, both before and after Biddy makes his revelations about racial passing? What common ground do the two men share?

4. How did your impressions of Robert Martin shift throughout the novel? Does Brigadier General Teedle give an accurate description of him before Dubin meets him for the first time?

5. How would you characterize Stewart’s meetings with Bear Leach? How would you have handled Stewart’s requests if you had been in Justice Leach’s position?

6. What did you make of Corporal Bonner’s comments about Teedle’s sexuality in chapter eight? What would be the result of similar rumors in today’s U.S. military?

7. Is Gita’s allure purely based on sex appeal? How do her attitudes toward men differ from her mother’s?

8. In chapter ten, Gita reveals that her mother was killed for harboring Jews. How does Dubin respond to her after this scene? What does it take for him to finally trust her?

9. Chapter thirteen ends with Leach’s recollection that Dubin feared his children would learn the truth about him. To what extent is it necessary to keep secrets from our descendants? To what extent is this harmful? Do you agree with the Talmud’s aphorism, mentioned in the novel’s first chapter, that a father should draw his son close with one hand and push him away with the other?

10. How do the brutal December battles affect Dubin? How does he reconcile his roles as legal assistant and soldier after these scenes? What does he mean when he tells Grace he regrets being a “soldier in earnest,” in his letter to her at the end of chapter twenty-seven?

11. What did it take to transform Gita Lodz into Gilda/Gella Rosner? When did it become her dream to have an ordinary life?

12. Was it unpatriotic of Martin to try to keep not only the Soviets but also the United States from securing knowledge of Germany’s weapons of mass destruction? Were Martin’s actions rational? Would you have let him escape?

13. What is your understanding of the relationship between Gita and Martin? What does war teach Dubin about love? Would he have had much chance of a good marriage with Grace?

14. How do Stewart’s findings affect the dynamic of his family—his relationships with his sister and mother, and the memory of David Dubin?

15. Scott Turow writes that although Ordinary Heroes is completely a work of his imagination, the initial inspiration came from his father, who was a field surgeon in Europe during World War II. What legacies of war exist in your family? What stories of heroism and mystery are part of your family history?

16. What similarities and differences exist between Ordinary Heroes and Turow’s other novels? From Turow’s point of view, what are the makings of a hero?

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    I agree with the reviewers on the quality of the story, the intr

    I agree with the reviewers on the quality of the story, the intricacy of the characters, and the subtlety of the prose. Scott Turow gets five stars. However, I am disappointed in the quality of the e-book. Like another reviewer, I was appalled at the number of typos due to sloppy scanning. Examples: "clay" for "day," "coining" for "coming," etc. And those were the ones I could decipher! I didn't bother counting them, but there were so many that it became a distraction. I see this type of thing with free books, but when I've paid for it, I expect the author's words to be as he/she intended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    Amazing book....left me thinking about so many important element

    Amazing book....left me thinking about so many important elements of life and humanity.....our relationships with our parents and others we bond with....the terrible toll of war...and ultimately, the process of aging and understanding our own stories.  I couldn't put it down and wept when it was over.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Too many typos in text!

    I have never purchased or borrowed from the library, for that matter, a book with so many typos. They are really annoying as you are reading along. My two stars aren't for Mr. Turow's efforts, they are for all the typos in this eEdition!

    The book is quite compelling, which is my point. You are involved in the story, transported into WWII so craftily by Mr. Turow then are zapped with a typo.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    A Wonderful Story

    This is one of the finest contemporary novels I have ever read. Turow takes the reader through the final year of World War II in a creative and engaging way. He brings the war to life through the experiences of his richly painted characters. That would have been sufficient to make the book remarkable. But Turow also provides the reader with a touching and unique story interwoven with the dramatic events of the war in which a son honors his mother and father while at the same time respecting their wishes that the past remain in the past. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for readers who enjoy books that provide insight into the human heart.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2006

    A War Story A Woman Enjoyed

    I am amazed that I, a female, could not put down this book which was both a love story but also a war story, dealing with a soldier's story and battles. I've never been interested in war stories before but this book was amazing. I applaud Scott Turow on a really great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2006

    Better than I thought.

    Right after I purchased the book I read a bad review. I was skeptical about the book holding my attention. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only are the character's engaging but Scott Turow does a wonderful job of keeping the first person narative in line with the times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2014

    I found the great number of typos very annoying. For example, c

    I found the great number of typos very annoying. For example, clone instead of done, deal instead of deaf, and many, many more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2010

    Interesting story, okay writing

    First Turow book I've read. He's a better writer than Patterson and other mass production authors, but there's still something missing, at least for me. An interesting enough story that I would have rated it 3.5 stars were that an option, but certainly not 5. Be forewarned -- there is some pretty graphic World War II material.

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    The Best Book I have read in a long time.

    This book is unique. The writing style, originality, character depiction, and story are amazing. Even Turow's wondrous vocabulary is worth noting as something rarely seen among contemporary authors. The wartime descriptions are so authentic and detailed you think they occurred last week. The plot, the love story, the character development are all just outstanding. The best Turow I have read.
    My daughter is a Marine Captain. She loved it.
    Tim Miller

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2007

    A very good book for war novel fans

    I loved this book!! I'm a big fan of books about war and if you are to, you should definatly consider this one. I finished in two days. The story is well written and very entraining. If you are a fan of war novels, I shall recomend 'The Things They Carried' by Tim O'Brien

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2007

    Overall a good read

    Some parts seemed too detailed and dragged along.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2007

    Script vs. Novel

    I note many writers today selling by the pound vice by the story. Far too descriptive in character traits. I lost the story trying to get through character descriptions and sent it to the local library after 100 pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2006

    Outstanding!

    Scott Turow moves from the courtroom to war easily and gracefully. I loved this book and thought the depiction of war was probably very accurate. It was horrifying and understandably caring at the same time. A great way to spend your reading time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Turow is just plain better than the rest

    There are a group of lawyers or former lawyers out there that are writing some pretty entertaining novels. Grisham and RN Patterson come quickly to mind, but Turow is just better. Ordinary Heros stands as one of this year's best novels of any genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2006

    He should stick to legal thrillers

    I buy Turow as soon as I can. This book was a very poor attempt to wright about World War 2. Rick Atkinson and Ambrose know how to do it. He doesn't

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    This may be Turow's best

    I freely admit to crying like a baby. I have been a big fan of the DuSable fraternity of characters for years, but this one was much more than I expected from Turow. It didn't help that I saw the ending coming and I admit to being a little prejudiced in my opinions as a son of a Battle of the Bulge veteran. Just the same, it was a great read and I have been loaning my copy to others as fast as I can make all my friends read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2006

    An outstanding book ....

    ...which I couldn't put down. The author indicates that the characters are all fictional except, of course, for the key WWII figures but it appears his father, a doctor, actually made a daring night parachute jump into Bastogne - similar to the one Dubin made in this novel. The protagonist, a JAG officer who laments the fact that he isn't involved in the actual conflict of this war. Then he is thrust brutally into the heart of the war with all the incumbent horrors. My feelings after reading this book are that there were no 'ordinary heros' during this war only extraordinary. I will keep this book and plan to reread it many times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2005

    A motivating story and engaging characters

    great book and moving story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2005

    Outstanding

    Just an outstanding WWII epic penned by turow. His vivid descriptions and twists in turns in Stewart's father's life are mind boggling, jawdropping and amazing all at once. I loved this one. Pick it up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2005

    Nice read from Scott Turow

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from Scott Turow. I could not put it down. The story is about a son's search for understanding of his father's past. The backdrop of the father's story is World War II, and the story has a nice twist in the end.

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