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Review of Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and 
Survivors in World War II Denmark

hopkinson_courage and defiance 2Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and 
Survivors in World War II Denmark
by Deborah Hopkinson
Middle School   Scholastic   339 pp.
9/15   978-0-545-59220-8     $17.99   g
e-book ed. 978-0-545-59222-2   $17.99

When Germany invaded Denmark in April 1940, the Nazis believed their small neighbor to the north would be a pushover. The Germans were partially right: the Danish government pretty much rolled out the red carpet for Hitler’s army. What no one foresaw was the way many Danes, angered by their leaders’ capitulation, would fight back. Some, like Tommy Sneum, spied on the Germans and fed intelligence to the British; others, like Niels Skov, sabotaged German vehicles and weapons; countless others worked together to warn and aid Danish Jews before they could be rounded up by the Nazis. Hopkinson pulls together these narratives, and others, with some truly propulsive storytelling (just try to put the book down during the tale of Sneum’s harrowing night flight across the English Channel) and great attention to the humanity involved. This will surely garner comparisons to Hoose’s The Boys Who Challenged Hitler (rev. 7/15), and while there is plenty of overlap between the two in terms of subject matter, Hopkinson’s account is a little broader in scope; where Hoose keeps a tighter narrative focus, Hopkinson opts for multi-player storytelling (and two helpful sections in the excellent back matter — “About Danish,” a pronunciation guide; and the self-explanatory “People in this book” — help readers navigate the material). Well-balanced and attractively designed (save for a few too many segments of text interrupted by full-page photo spreads), this is another strong showing from the reliable Hopkinson. A selected chronology, maps, bibliography, source notes, and photo credits are appended; index unseen.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Sam Bloom

Sam Bloom is a former elementary and middle school teacher. He is currently senior children's librarian at the Blue Ash branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Ohio.

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