BookBrowse Reviews Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow

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Ordinary Heroes

by Scott Turow

Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow X
Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2005, 371 pages

    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 512 pages

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Turow makes the leap from courtroom to battlefield effortlessly

From the book jacket: Stewart Dubin knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how he rescued Stewart's mother from the horrors of the Balingen concentration camp. But when, after his father's death, he discovers a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancée and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and is driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic, distant man who always refused to talk about his war.

Reconstructing the terrible events and agonizing choices his father faced on the battlefield, in the courtroom, and in love, Stewart gains a closer understanding of his past, of his father's character, and of the brutal nature of war itself.

Comment: Moving away from fiction (and non-fiction) centering on the courtroom, but keeping a character we've met in previous books (Kindle County journalist Stewart Dubin) Scott Turow tries his hand at a World War II story, inspired by his father's own military experience. His father was an army doctor in Europe during World War II. A few years ago his mother gave him access to his father's personal effects from World War II, including letters, hand drawn maps and hundreds of photographs. These provided context to the stories that Turow had heard from his father all his life - many of which made their way into Ordinary Heroes.

With a few relatively minor criticisms, the reviewers love it.  Publishers Weekly writes, "Turow makes the leap from courtroom to battlefield effortlessly".  Library Journal thinks it "an extraordinary and unforgettable novel" (while also commenting that some of the historical facts presented are not 100% accurate). Kirkus Reviews says that "while some of the writing succumbs to war-is-hell cliché, the story of shifting allegiances, divided loyalties, compromised principles and primal instincts is as engrossing as any of Turow's legal thrillers."

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in January 2006, and has been updated for the October 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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