When young Ira “Teen” Palm goes off to fight against Hitler and the invading German armies, he has little to shore up his courage apart from his faith in God and his intense patriotism. Both would play an enormous role in his lengthy career in the armed forces, but they would particularly direct his actions as he fights in a foreign land against a brutal and determined dictator. After the war, Palm’s mentor, the Rev. Charles Woodbridge, is the recipient of an unusual gift — a “golden pistol given to Hitler by the Walther family” — taken by Palm as a grisly souvenir of the Fuehrer’s armory. John Woodbridge, son of Charles, knows there’s a fascinating story to be told. He and Pulitzer Prize-wining journalist Possley (The Brown’s Chicken Massacre) lead readers through a tale brimming with exciting accounts of people risking all in the name of God and freedom. Taking us through the wartime challenges Palm and his wife, Helen, face, this fast-paced story reminds us that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, even under great pressure, when fueled by God’s amazing grace. (Apr.)
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!, April 5, 2011>>By B. Mitchell “comp guy” (REAL NAME)
This book came out this morning on Kindle and I could not put it down! It is a fantastic true story of heroism that can only be fully appreciated by reading it yourself. It comes out in print on the 26th. Pick up a copy either on Kindle now or in print later it is well worth your money!
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful story, great read, puts you right there, May 14, 2011>>By Heyteach
This compelling book has everything. Starts out as a mystery and unravels with vibrant storytelling and writing that puts you right there. It’s about the past and the present; it’s about morality and faith; it’s about war and death and the choices ordinary folks can make. The topic is not one I’d naturally come to but the authors grab you from the start and you’re in! I learned so much.
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting tale with many interwoven threads, May 23, 2011 >>By Patricia W, Hearle (Jacksonville, Florida USA)
The gifted authors have begun with a stolen pistol belonging to Hitler and have told a heartwarming true story of a soldier whose life was revolutionized by his newfound faith, who became a WWII hero by leading a fearless group of soldiers into Hitler’s office as the war was coming to a close. New insights into what really took place are well documented by a vast body of letters and archives. This book deserves a place among the best narratives coming from those who are at the height of their professions: historian and investigative reporter.
Many evangelicals know church historian John Woodbridge for his masterful scholarship. Surely very few know about his personal connection to an astounding World War II heirloom: a golden pistol owned by Adolf Hitler. Nearly six years ago, a news notice of the weapon’s impending auction triggered a flashback, sending Woodridge scrambling to locate surviving relatives of the devout young soldier who snatched it up and gave it to his father. With award-winning journalist Maurice Possley, Woodbridge reconstructs the adventures of Ira “Teen” Palm—whose team raided Hitler’s Munich apartment—and the golden gun this man of faith found in lieu of the Führer.—Matt Reynolds
• Just released: a captivating World War II story, built around a former pistol belonging to Adolf Hitler, written by two of my friends: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maury Possley and historian John Woodbridge. Hitler in the Crosshairs features never-before-disclosed accounts that include an assassination attempt on Hitler in Munich. If you love history, you’ll love this book!
Those of us who know John Woodbridge, well-known church history professor at Trinity, know that John’s got a bit of the sleuth in him. He’s not just a historian; sometimes he wanders into detective work. Which he has done in newest book: Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI’s Story of Courage and Faith. This is one of those won’t-stop-till-I-finish book that must be read in one sitting, which I did the other day….For me, the mystery was resolved, but there are still unknown facts of that gun’s history and we will perhaps never know them all. But this book is well worth your reading, and not just for the sleuthing but also for the faith dimension of the story.
As you can surmise from this summary, there’s a lot going on in Hitler in the Crosshairs. The context gives readers a feel for this almost incomprehensibly complex time in world history. Palm is a bit player on the global stage, but without courageous, confident, and convicted men like him, the Allied cause could not have succeeded. Yet Possley and Woodbrige also remind us with stories from Germany that not all of Hitler’s countrymen supported him. War brought out the worst in this evil madman, causing untold death and destruction. But it also brought out the best in Palm, Gerngross, and countless others.
This book helps readers remember that heroes and villains don’t neatly fit within our respective national borders. The authors make this point implicitly as they describe Palm’s preparations for a possible war with the Soviet Union following Hitler’s death. Indeed, Colonel Palm later distinguished himself further in 1961 by defying Soviet threats and leading a convoy of replacement troops into West Berlin. Yesterday’s allies had become today’s enemies.
Should the Lord tarry another 50 years, I suspect we’ll still be reading stories from World War II. The villains will bring us to tears as we plead for God’s mercy to spare us from such wrath. And we’ll discover new heroes like Teen Palm, previously forgotten to history by all but their families. Their example of trusting God for the strength to persevere against long odds will always inspire us.
There are very few books that I review which I can honestly say were good enough to pick up from a local bookstore, but this is one of those few. It’s a fast-paced documentary told from the point-of-view of a friend of the family in question. Personally, anytime there are accounts from actual letters written by the characters, then it just becomes more believable. For instance, in my family we have letters that my grandparents wrote to each other during Grandpa’s time over in Normandy.
The actual first-hand accounts are always more compelling to read then, say, if some complete stranger were relating them to the reader. ‘Teen’ Palm is an American soldier who gets Saved not long after he enlists, and he is able to use his faith to stay strong in the face of the powerful Nazi opposition.
The way the book is written…so close to first-person, everything just seems…so real. Certainly buy this book if you love history, but especially if you like hearing the stories that usually go untold. I personally always find it interesting hearing stories written from the perspective of the despised. Hitler wasn’t riveting, but his story is intriguing at a safe distance.
This one would be a great summer beach-read. It’s also an example of how a Christian can tell a compelling and accessible story that many people will find interesting.