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Auslšnder [Hardcover]

Paul Dowswell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Mar 2009
When Peter's parents are killed, he is sent to an orphanage in Warsaw. Then German soldiers take him away to be measured and assessed. They decide that Peter is racially valuable. He is Volksdeutscher: of German blood. With his blond hair, blue eyes, and acceptably proportioned head, he looks just like the boy on the Hitler-Jugend poster. Someone important will want to adopt Peter. They do. Professor Kaltenbach is very pleased to welcome such a fine Aryan specimen to his household. People will be envious. But Peter is not quite the specimen they think. He is forming his own ideas about what he is seeing, what he is told. Peter doesn't want to be a Nazi, and so he is going to take a very dangerous risk. The most dangerous risk he could possibly choose to take in Berlin in 1942.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747589097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747589099
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 516,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`A heart racing thriller about courage, convictions and the construction of identity'
-- The Bookseller, 19/26th December 2008

`A profound and moving story . . . Dowswell is an historian who has captured beautifully the intensity of the time, the fear and trepidation of young Germans during the Second World War'
-- Birmingham Post

`An exceptional novel, persuasive in its details, with an utterly compelling story and powerful message'
-- Waterstones Books Quarterly

`Thrilling and chilling. A thought-provoking tale that looks at the effects of fascism on society and the family'
-- Big Issue


`An exceptional novel, persuasive in its details, with an utterly compelling story and powerful message'

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Auslander 8 Oct 2009
By cbd
A brilliant story of danger and survival in Nazi Germany.

Polish orphan Peter is 'Volksdeutscher' - of German blood, and looks the Aryan ideal with his blond hair and blue eyes. He is sent to Berlin, where he is invited to live with the Kaltenbach family. He soon realises that he does not share Professor and Frau Kaltenbach's pro-Nazi ideals. At first he thinks that he is alone in not accepting the Nazi ideology that's all around him, but gradually he realises that he is not alone. He falls in love, and becomes involved with the highly-dangerous anti-Nazi free-thinkers, which includes assisting Jews that have gone underground. He also discovers, on more than one occasion, that you can't always judge someone by first impressions.

The story vividly portrays the dangers of wartime Berlin. Peter appears to be the ideal Hitler-Jugend member; obedient, brave and in good physical health. Underneath, though, he never loses his compassion and generosity of spirit. The story doesn't flinch from giving details of what might (and frequently did) happen to those judged dispensible by the Nazis, but doesn't dwell on the cruelty. This would be a great "background" read for those interested in discovering more about this period of history. It is also ideal for demonstrating that not all Germans were Nazis - a common misconception among the young.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable 3 Nov 2009
By Ophelia
Ths grabs you from the first page. My 13 year old picked it up from the library as it's being reviewed for a teenbook prize. He read it in one sitting, so I thought I'd see what the fuss was about. Thought-provoking, good characterisations, well researched and thoroughly readable to any age.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Auslander 22 Jan 2010
By Jenny, Wondrous Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I'm a big fan of fiction set in and around the Second World War. I don't know what it is that fascinates me, all I know is that it's a particular point of interest, and has been the subject of some of my favourite books. Auslander is a great addition to war fiction, and though it's not up there with The Book Thief or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, it's most definitely worth a read.

By reading the first page alone, you can tell Dowswell has done his homework. His attention to detail is almost flawless, as is his ability to paint a clear picture of wartime Germany and its surrounding areas. Warsaw in 1941 is a scary place to be, and that's where Peter's story starts. From there, he's sent to a family in Germany, introduced to Nazi propaganda, and deemed an auslander -- a foreigner. He also stumbles across proof of medical experiements being tested on jews, and becomes tangled up in a dangerous web of lies and deceit. It's all for a good cause, but it doesn't do him any favours as a respected member of the Hitler Youth.

I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be a teenager during WWII. Most of their choices were stripped away, and they lived in a constant fear of being bombed or killed because their hair wasn't the right colour. With Auslander, Dowswell tries to show that fear and uncertainty and, for the most part, he manages to. I personally wanted to see more of the Hitler Youth, and how that affected the children and teenagers enlisted. I also would have liked a first person narrative, so I could have read how Peter was feeling, and how everything was really affecting him. Without being in his head, I did have some trouble warming to him, and by the end of the novel, I still wasn't fully convinced.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 1 Nov 2010
This book tells the story of Peter, a polish orphan who finds himself adopted by the Katlenbach's, a german family. Here he is introduced to the Nazi regime and finds himself questioning all he has been told by his new family. He falls in love with a young girl and starts to help her and her family in their anti Nazi movement.

Paul Dowswell has done a great job in making his characters come to life, this is aided by the attention to detail within the book.

A compelling book with well thought out characters and about an extremely thought provoking subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historical Fiction 4 Oct 2009
A really thoughtful and well-researched book about World War 2, from an unusual angle - the story of a Polish orphan resettled in Berlin with a Nazi family. At first Peter is pleased to find a new family and be in Germany, but gradually he comes to hate the Nazi regime. But how can he rebel and escape when it could cost him his life? A compelling story with well-drawn characters.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars even better 21 Aug 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Paul Dowswell books i have dicovered in the past year,from the powder monkey to the slave ship and battle fleet. have been great and then i find Auslander, well i do hope that Paul keeps up the good work as i now am waiting for his next book with anticipation.Auslander
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5.0 out of 5 stars great story 3 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Absolutely brilliant and really showed Germany in it's time under the influence of the Fuhrer and his cohorts Himmler and Heydrich .
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5.0 out of 5 stars auslander 22 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
very good read could not put the book down at all easy to read good price as always from amozon
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An atmospheric and tense story.
Liked the plot, believed the characters and felt the madness of Nazi Germany was brought to life through the eyes of the "Auslander". Well worth reading.
Published 9 months ago by Paulystrad
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story and makes you think
After a starkly dramatic opening scene this book resolves itself into an exciting thriller. In between it really gives the reader an insight into life in Nazi Germany where almost... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Waldo
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Asländer' is one of the best books I have ever read!
I have read most of Paul Dowswell's work and 'Ausländer' is my favourite book of his. The story, characters and events(most based on real events) are so 3D in Ausländer... Read more
Published 13 months ago by alex
5.0 out of 5 stars Auslander
Excellent book. I read somewhere that this book is aimed at teenagers. Not so , recommended for all ages.
Published 13 months ago by pete123
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I learned so much from this book. I found it very difficult to put down and just wanted it to go on.
Published 14 months ago by Colin H
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic book
My 10yr old son and I really enjoyed this story although some parts were, as you might expect from a story from this time, a little difficult to read about. Read more
Published 14 months ago by R. Bailey
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get into
I never really got into this book. The blurb makes it sound good but there is nothing driving it along to make one want to turn the pages.
Published 14 months ago by Rev. G. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent background to east-west German life before the wall came...
I've been to Berlin a number of times nd have photos of the Wall - before and after. This book helped me understand a bit more of German life on the East side.
Published 15 months ago by D. Maskell
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hitler Youth Poster Boy
There are many good books for children and teens about the Second World War from the British point of view, but fewer from the point of view of characters from Germany or other... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Secret Spi
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILL
This book is about a polish boy named Peter on a inthrilling adventuer. From being adopted by a nazi family, to rebbeling against them! I could not abanden the book! Read more
Published 16 months ago by GANGNAN STYLE
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