Cover image for The brigade : an epic story of vengeance, salvation and World War II
The brigade : an epic story of vengeance, salvation and World War II
Blum, Howard.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 326 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D810.J4 B529 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
D810.J4 B529 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D810.J4 B529 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D810.J4 B529 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D810.J4 B529 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D810.J4 B529 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



An epic true story
of three remarkable men and one woman
who set out to fight a war
and in the process help to create a nation

November, 1944. The war in Europe is drawing to a close when the British government finally agrees to send a brigade of five thousand Jewish volunteers from Palestine to Europe to fight the German army. Among these soldiers are Israel Carmi, a veteran of the Haganah underground, a man who serves one army but whose loyalties belong to another; Johanan Peltz raised on, a vast, estate in Poland he dreams of returning home as a British officer and gentleman; and Arie Pinchuk, a former student who has returned to Europe with his own secret agenda -- to rescue his last remaining family member: the little sister he left behind. At the Senio River, Peitz leads the troops in a daring bayonet charge into the heart of the German line. When the savage hand-to-hand combat is finished, the men of the brigade emerge triumphant. At a time when Jews are being victimized, these soldiers -- yellow Stars of David emblazoned on their uniform sleeves -- show the world that a Jewish army can fight back. And win.

But when the war ends and the soldiers witness firsthand the horrors their people have suffered in the concentration camps, the men launch a brutal and calculating campaign of vengeance, forming secret squads to identify, locate, and kill Nazi officers in hiding. Their own ferocity threatens to overwhelm them until a fortuitous encounter with an orphaned girl sets the men on a course of action -- rescuing Jewish war orphans and transporting them to Palestine -- that will not only change their lives but also forever alter the course of world history. With The Brigade, bestselling author Howard Blum has written his most harrowing and important book to date -- a story that is certain to make headlines as well as provoke debate about the moral elements ofjustice, the dividing lines between good and evil, and the possibility of redemption.

Author Notes

Howard Blum (born in 1948) is an American author and journalist. Blum earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University, where he also received an M.A. in government in 1970. He was formerly a reporter for the The Village Voice and The New York Times, where he earned two Pulitzer Prize nominations. Since 1994 he has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Blum has also authored several non-fiction books, including the New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner: American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In 1944 the British government agreed to the formation of an all-Jewish brigade recruited from the Jewish population of Palestine. Many of the recruits were veterans of the Haganah, the underground Jewish army that had fought both Arab and British soldiers throughout the 1930s. The brigade fought bravely and effectively in a few minor skirmishes against the Nazis in Italy. Its most significant actions were largely clandestine efforts undertaken after the final German surrender. Blum is an investigative journalist who has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. In this tense, exciting, and often unsettling story, Blum shows how brigade members stole Allied weapons and sent them to Jews in Palestine to fight Arab armies and irregular forces. The brigade was instrumental in smuggling thousands of Holocaust survivors into Palestine under the noses of the British. Finally, select members tracked down and killed many Nazi officials attempting to blend back into German society. This is a story that should be told, but the heroism as well as ruthless pursuit of vengeance leaves one with ambivalent feelings. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although the official history of the Jewish Brigade Group (a unit of some 5,000 Jews who fought with the British Eighth Army in Italy in the waning months of the conflict) has been written, Blum (Wanted! The Search for Nazis in America) breaks new ground by looking into the clandestine operations that occurred after the shooting had stopped. Once they learned the true extent of the holocaust, soldiers of the brigade began using intelligence reports to pinpoint the location of former SS officers and camp guards. The enraged Jewish troops took vengeance into their own hands, eventually slaying hundreds of Nazi death dealers. Blum follows the story of three men Israel Carmi, Johanan Peltz and Arie Pinchuk in detail, interviewed dozens of others, read unpublished personal memoirs and had Hebrew-language documents translated for him. During the war, the more daring Jewish soldiers formed a secret unit that appropriated British supplies trucks, weapons and food and diverted them to ships heading illegally for Palestine The plan included the "repatriation" of thousands of war orphans, who were clandestinely taken from displaced person camps and smuggled to Palestine. The underground Jewish Haganah figured prominently in these operations, which contributed directly to the creation of Israel. Blum, twice nominated for a Pulitzer as a New York Times investigative reporter, and now a Vanity Fair contributing editor, presents the material masterfully, building suspense and carefully documenting all the action. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 2) Forecast: A BOMC and Traditions Book Club alternate, this book should get a push from Blum's journalistic cronies. Rights have been sold in Germany, Holland and the U.K., and to Miramax. Blum's The Gold of Exodus is currently in development with Castle Rock. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Blum follows up his best-selling Wanted: The Search for Nazis with this story of His Majesty's Jewish Brigade, the only all-Jewish force that fought during World War II. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-There is a perception that during the Holocaust, the Jews rarely physically fought back against the Nazis. The most avid readers of World War II books know that resistance did occur (the best known is the Warsaw Ghetto uprising), but it was not enough to change the course of the genocide. The Brigade tells a different story. A 5000-man "Jewish Brigade" was formed from settlers in Palestine, but it was not until the waning days of the war, in November 1944, that the British sent it to fight. This account is told from the perspective of three soldiers and relies heavily on interviews the author conducted with them. It takes readers from the early days of the brigade, through the frustration of the soldiers who were sitting out the war, to the combat operations of the closing days of the war in Italy. The Jewish Brigade had little impact on the outcome of World War II, but its existence was critical to the future state of Israel. Almost from the very beginning, it was involved in smuggling Jewish refugees out of Europe and into Palestine. This book is not a standard military history, but is written more like a novel. It is packed with detail but moves along quickly. It will have great appeal to those students who want to explore beyond the standard histories of the period.-Robert Burnham, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.