Trapped Behind Nazi Lines by Eric Brown is a middle grade nonfiction book about a company of medics and nurses that, while flying to Italy during World War II, got lost in the clouds and ended up crash landing in Nazi-occupied Albania.
The story tells how upon crash landing their airplane, they were able to find a way to villages and walk from where they landed to the coast, avoiding the Nazis and the Nazi sympathizers that would have killed them upon discovery. Their story was truly amazing. More than 20 people were trapped in Albania in this crash, and yet none of them died and none of them were captured by Nazis. It took a long time to sneak to the coast safely, but all of them were able to return to Italy during the war.
Due to the fact that none of them were trained to fight (all of the stranded were plane crew and medics) and none of them maps of Albania, they were reliant upon the assistance of locals sympathetic to the Allied cause. This was dangerous, because it was very hard to determine who they could actually trust. During the two months that they were in Albania, they ended up walking more than however many miles to get to the coast.
I really enjoyed reading Trapped Behind Nazi Lines because it was a situation I had not been familiar with. I wondered how I would have responded as a woman in the 1940s working as a nurse and landing in such a place.
That said, it did not have a fascinating “showing not telling” feel to it. The first chapter was very intense. However, other chapters seems very descriptive rather than active. I liked it, but I am not sure it would be as engaging for younger kids.
In the end, the book was immensely interesting to read. I wanted to know what will happen next. I hope that will be enough for the middle grade readers who pick it up.
Note: I received a digital copy of the book from the publisher for review consideration.