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Dark Hours by Gudrun Pausewang

Dark Hours

by Gudrun Pausewang

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Based in Nazi Germany it was interesting to read a book from a German perspective. Now 76, Gisel is writing to her granddaughter who is about to turn 16 recounting the terrifying episode that occurred to her when she, herself, turned 16. Gisel is an authentic voice as she shares her experiences and fear about being trapped underground with four younger children. Events about the family before they fled their home is revealed through flashbacks and dreams and add detail to their lives. This is a story about courage and survival and is a worthwhile companion to the other Y.A. World War II fiction books. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
This book talks about the life of a normal German citizen during World War II and that was very interesting to me, I'd definitely recommend this to someone else. 4Q5P The cover art is awesome and I'd recommend this book to high school students. I chose to read this because I wanted to know what it was like from a German in WWII and what they had to go through. DanielS
  edspicer | Dec 30, 2014 |
Exceptional historical fiction. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
-It’s just two days to Gisel’s birthday, and her world, like the war effort, is crumbling. Her father is off serving in the German army, while the rest of the family must flee the advancing Russian forces. On their way to safety in another city, Gisel and her brothers are left alone in a crowded train station. Suddenly an air raid siren sounds. The children scramble to find a shelter. Then the bombs hit. Told as a grandmother’s birthday gift to her sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Dark Hours is an intense novel about fear, despair, as well as responsibility and hope. This is a moving, griping account of war on the non-combatant side. Though refreshing to hear a German perspective, the characters could equally be British, Chinese or Japanese. The innocence and tone of the writing are simply but they hit home in the same way Anne Franke’s diary did. Pausewang’s firsthand experience in the war really makes the text powerful. Remarkable reading. ( )
  loafhunter13 | Aug 25, 2011 |
The story is told in Gisel's point of view and it's an interesting one. She tells you how her life was when the war was going good for Germany and then how it started turning against them, you can feel her bitterness towards the war. Actually, you can feel it towards everybody in this book as now since the tide has turned, frequent visits to the air raid shelters are all over Germany, and talk against Hitler and the German government is also starting to rise. The idea of leaving all that she loved behind and having to take care of all her siblings (all younger than her) just enhances her bitterness towards the war. However throughout the book I admire Gisel's strength and courage when they were stuck beneath the rubble waiting to be rescued. She does get impatient several times as any other older sibling would do when they're stuck with their younger ones (Gisel especially gets annoyed with Lotte who's a spoiled brat). I think it adds realism to her character and rounds her out very well.

I think her courage stemmed off from her brother Erwin who is a few years younger but acts very mature and helps Gisel when needed. I liked him as he provided the extra strength she needed to keep being positive and to survive. The other part is the solder who is also stuck underneath the rubble but is able to communicate to them with a pipe (he was on the other side of the wall). He provides Gisel with advice and also advises her to make as much noise as possible in the hopes of being heard and rescued quickly.

What I liked most about the book is Gisel's ability to pull everybody together and to maintain a positive outlook while in times of duress. For someone who has barely just turned sixteen, she ages and matures quickly and you can actually hear her voice growing "older".

There is no real plot in this book which may be a deterrent to some readers. The majority of the book takes place underneath the rubble and all you really read are Gisel's thoughts. It may or may not draw readers in, so perhaps I would only recommend this book for World War II buffs. Otherwise, for those who aren't, it certainly is worth a try. It's a little over 200 pages so it should be a breeze for the majority of readers out there.

Overall an interesting account of someone who is on "the other side" of war. Albeit, with no real plot it's certainly worth a look see. ( )
  sensitivemuse | Sep 26, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gudrun Pausewangprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brownjohn, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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After leaving their German village during World War II, fifteen-year-old Gisel and her younger brothers are separated from their mother and grandmother and trapped in a train station during the firebombing of Dresden.

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Annick Press

An edition of this book was published by Annick Press.

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