American Wolf

Holocaust Survivor True Stories

Non-Fiction - Biography
424 Pages
Reviewed on 12/31/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

American Wolf: From Nazi Refugee to American Spy is part of the Holocaust Survivor True Stories series by Audrey Birnbaum. This is a coming-of-age story of a Holocaust survivor who saw the worst the world had to offer. It was the year 1941, and Wolf Schwersenz was just an 11-year-old boy when he had to leave his life behind to embark on a new journey. With his expired US visa in his hand, Wolf boarded the Navemar, a Spanish freighter ship, hoping to reach the US for a better future. However, he had no idea about the horrors that awaited him. From escaping danger to becoming a victim, Wolf saw it all until he turned his life around when he reclaimed his life in the US.

I was ready to read a story full of heroics and danger, but I wasn’t prepared to laugh as I read this biography of a Holocaust survivor. Author Audrey Birnbaum created a comfortable narrative that showcased Wolf’s personality and how he developed as he grew up in less-than-perfect circumstances. I was moved by the detail provided and how each part of Wolf’s story became a part of my consciousness. The details were so perfect that I could easily picture everything happening in my head. Wolf was a smart kid, and he knew early on that he needed to be even smarter if he wanted to survive. The pictures included made every name and character real. It was tragic what happened to these people with lives, families, and futures. However, I appreciate Audrey Birnbaum’s hard work in showing what happened to those who survived and migrated. I loved knowing how Wolf rebuilt his life and grew up in different circumstances but remained the same softhearted person. I highly recommend American Wolf!