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Soldier X by Don L. Wulffson

Soldier X (edition 2003)

by Don L. Wulffson (Author)

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498548,421 (4.44)4
In 1943 sixteen-year-old Erik experiences the horrors of war when he is drafted into the German army and sent to fight on the Russian front.
Title:Soldier X
Authors:Don L. Wulffson (Author)
Info:Puffin Books (2003), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages
Collections:Your library

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Soldier X by Don L. Wulffson

  1. 00
    Kipling's Choice by Geert Spillebeen (jordantaylor)
    jordantaylor: The two best soldier books I have ever read - one from WWII, one from WWI.

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Showing 5 of 5
Note to self: unread but own
  libraryofemma | Oct 20, 2023 |
Soldier x, written by Don L. Wulffson, and published July 2006 by Penguin publisher is an exciting historical fiction chapter book about a half Russian-German, German soldier that must switch identities to survive in World War II torn Europe. Soldier X is a book that grabs the reader and takes him or her through a unique descriptive journey through Europe in the midst of WWII. I like this book because of the authors detail, the use of first person, and the believable character of Erik Brandt. Detailing the story of a book can be a tough job. Too little detail and I could get confused with trying to picture what is going on in my head, too much detail and I could get bored and overwhelmed with the story. Wulffson provides a perfect amount of detail in Soldier X to where I could easily follow what is going on and could picture the scene in my head. This is evident when Erik must change cloths with a dead Russian soldier. The author describes not only the stench of the battle, but the stench of the body and the tank that they are huddled underneath. The author goes on to describe Erik’s reaction to the body and the scene around him. He describes Erik’s every move as he changes clothes with the other soldier. The pinnacle of this scene is when Erik changes cloths with the soldier. The author describes each uniform and how Erik had to matchup the wounds on each uniform to the wounds on the solider. What makes this scene so powerful is that we hear it in Erik’s words. The use of first person in this book is absolutely superb. The use of first person lets us feel Erik’s pain and torment when he is parading around as the enemy. A good example of this is when he wants to tell his love, Tamara, the truth. However, if he does he will face prison and possible execution. He laments saying that he wants so bad to tell the truth and to be with her but he cannot risk his life. As a reader I could automatically feel his pain and his grief over the issue. I do not think that this would be possible in second person. Hearing Erik say “ I want to tell her the truth” seems so much more realistic than something like “he wanted to tell her the truth but could not bear to do so.” I feel that first person makes the character more relatable. I believe that believable characters make a story. Erik is presented in such a way that I totally believe this character and feel that it is real. I empathize with his pain and feel bad for him when he is trapped between enemy lines. What really made me believe in Erik was his first time dressing as a Russian soldier. Her was so nervous that he felt he was going to faint. He had a huge fear of being caught. This frailty in his plan to get back home made him believable. Inner strength, courage, and fear are huge parts of the stories main idea. Erik has an undying fear while behind enemy lines. However he must find the inner strength and courage to make it back to his home country and also to tell Tamara the truth. ( )
1 vote cbower6 | Oct 28, 2013 |
this book is a war book.it is a thireler and ( )
  cmtanker | Aug 27, 2010 |
To correct the previous reviewer, the story is actually about a German boy named Eric Brandt. Aleksandr is the name of the Russian youth that Erik swapped clothes with after Aleksandr died so that Erik could try to hide as a Russian as his whole platoon was killed in a battle in Russian territory. Erik's father's family was German. It was his mother's family that was Russian, in which they did conceal while living in Germany. He learned German from living in Germany and learned Russian from his mother's family.

My son had to read this for a book report at school and I could not resist reading it. What a great YA book about World War II. The previous reviewer highly recommended it and I couldn't agree more. ( )
  elleayess | Feb 5, 2010 |
Soldier X by Don Wulffson is the story of Aleksandr Dukhanov, a 15-year-old German boy who is drafted to fight on the Russian front towards the end of World War II. He is given a few weeks of training, lightly armed and sent east just as he turns 16 and it becomes legal for him to be a soldier in the German army. Soon, the Germans are defeated and Alexksandr finds himself behind the lines with the Russian army approaching. The Russians are shooting every German soldier they find and bayoneting the bodies of the dead just to be certain no one is pretending, so Alexsandr makes a desperate move, he trades uniforms with a Russian casualty.

While they lived in Germany, Alexsandr's family was Russian, so he speaks the language fluently. He is able to pass himself off as a wounded Russian soldier and is sent to recover in a nearby hospital. While there he meets a young nurse, Tamara. Both young people are disenchanted with their nations; Alexsandr's family faced persecution under the Nazi's because they were ethnic Russian while Tamara's family faced persecution because her father is anti-communist. During the chaos of the last days of the war, the two make an escape. They head west in an attempt to escape the Russian forces, hoping to dodge the retreating German army as well.

Soldier X is written for young adults and was certainly successful with my students (It's also in high demand at my schools library.) The writing is economic--tense and taut. Just enough historical detail is given to make things interesting without getting bogged down in detail. It's such a good page turner than the reader is completely unaware that it's also an education; everything Child 44 tried unsuccessfully to be. In fact, the book group that just finished it, a group of 7th grade boys, argued about whether or not the story is true they were so convinced that it was all real. High praise in my book. ( )
  CBJames | Nov 25, 2008 |
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For Pamela my wife, my love, my best friend
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PROLOGUE: My name is Erik Brandt.
IN DEAD MEN'S CLOTHES MARCH 21, 1944: I can still smell the stench of the trench train.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In 1943 sixteen-year-old Erik experiences the horrors of war when he is drafted into the German army and sent to fight on the Russian front.

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