“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
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.
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.
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.
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.