Meet the ‘Sons and Soldiers’ Who Never Gave Up Hope [REVIEW]

Martin Selling questions German SS captives near the front in France, 1944

Martin Selling questions German SS captives near the front in France, 1944. (Photo by US Army Signal Corps)

Martin Selling. Stephan Lewy. Guy Stern. These are just a few of the names that the history books seem to forget when recounting the treachery and bravado of World War II. Yet even though these men may not be household names, they are nevertheless three of America’s unsung heroes, men who not only survived Hitler’s Germany, but who rose up to fight back for their friends, for family, and for vengeance. Now their account is finally being told in Bruce Henderson’s brilliant new book, Sons and Soldiers. 

Bruce Henderson's SONS AND SOLDIERS

William Morrow

The year is 1942. Deep in the throes of World War II, the U.S. Army had a secret weapon up its sleeve to defeat Adolph Hitler: The Ritchie Boys. This group of nearly 2,000 German-born Jews had special insight into the enemy ranks due to their intimate knowledge of German language, history, and customs.

Members of the Ritchie Boys were imbedded with every major combat unit in Europe. There, they interrogated German POWs and gathered crucial intelligence on the enemy’s troops, defense tactics and armored movements. The intel they gathered not only saved countless American lives, but ultimately helped win the war itself.

What makes this story so extraordinary is the valor these men demonstrated by returning to Germany. They knew what would happen to them if they were caught by the Nazis. They had seen their families destroyed by Hitler’s regime. But that fact is also what made many of them go back in the first place. They needed to find out what happened to the families they had left behind when their parents put them on ships to America in order to save their beloved children.

Guy Stern's family

The family he tried to save: Guy Stern’s parents, brother, and sister in Hildesheim, Germany, circa 1938. (Family photograph)

World War II buffs will love this deep look into a little known aspect of history. Henderson did a thorough investigation into this story, peeling back the layers by digging into archives and interviewing surviving veterans who lived to tell the tale. Here you’ll learn their deeply personal stories, including how they escaped Germany to begin with, the great sacrifices they made to obtain intelligence for the Army, and about their quests to find the loved ones they were separated from years before.

Epic in scope, yet deeply heartfelt and intimately told, Sons and Soldiers is a story that will resonate with readers for years to come. Although it reminds us of the intensely destructive power of evil, most of all this tome deftly illustrates just how fearless and strong men can be when they are pushed against the wall and left with only their wits and indomitable spirit to help them survive.

These survivors’ stories remind me of what Maya Angelou once said, “When we know better, we do better.” Thus here is my sincere wish: I pray that when readers consume this account, they will open their hearts and minds to the men who went back. Yes, at moments readers will undoubtedly feel their hearts ache for the hurt and despair the Jews went through during the Holocaust. But upon closing this book, they will also surely experience amazement, awe, and gratitude. This is one of those unforgettable stories which ultimately reminds us to never give up hope and to never stop fighting for what is right, even in the midst of history’s darkest hours. Do yourself a favor, read Sons and Soldiers today.


Bruce Henderson

Bruce Henderson

Bruce Henderson is the author or co-author of more than 20 non-fiction books, including the number one New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell (with Vincent Bugliosi), which was also made into a highly-rated television miniseries.

He also wrote the national bestseller Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War, and Rescue at Los Baños: The Most Daring Prison Camp Raid of World War II

A former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, private investigator and field producer for television news, Bruce has taught reporting and writing courses at Stanford University and USC School of Journalism. A member of The Authors Guild, he lives in Manlo Park, California.

Visit Bruce at his home on the Web at, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

By Bruce Henderson
448 pgs. William Morrow. $28.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostYou may purchase Sons and Soldiers at one of these fine online retailers: HarperCollins, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Sons and Soldiers is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

Sons and Soldiers Giveaway

Congratulations to Elizabeth Vollbach for winning a copy of Sons and Soldiers. Although this giveaway is over, stay tuned for more opportunities to with other great reads.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to Meet the ‘Sons and Soldiers’ Who Never Gave Up Hope [REVIEW]

  1. trish says:

    Yes, we definitely need these books, in the hopes that we will continue to do better than we’ve done in the past. Frankly, my hope springs eternal that we will do better.

  2. This is exactly the kind of book I most like to read – it is history and story and inspiration all in one, and I love that.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: