Thursday, February 2, 2023

#Book Review #An Enemy Like Me #Teri M. Brown #Atmosphere Press Publishers #Historical Fiction


In this historical novel, Jacob Mueller was a first-generation American born in New Berlin to parents full of German Descent. His parents embraced their German heritage even after they moved to America. They found a better life in the United States of America. Jacob's father's family name was - Mattias Wendel Mueller in 1898. Jacob was born to Elisabet and Hyrum when New Berlin changed its name to North Canton after the First World War, during the time when Anti-German Sentiment was high. Later, Jacob changed his name to Jacob Miller when Hitler and the Nazi party began their cruel reign, he wanted to hide his heritage. He wanted no one to know his views about Nazis, Nazi Harboring or assuming he associated with Nazi sympathizers. There was more to living in the united states while Jacob's mother thought that was all it was needed to prove her allegiance. Whereas, Jacob understood that the American government could arrest or deport those not born in the United States. The alien enemy act had caused problems for German Americans. This can even put anyone in prison who disagreed with the govt. Jacob started working at a local grocery store soon after Americanizing his name. Jacob marries Bonnie who he first met as he was working as a lowly grocery delivery boy with a German background in the United States.  Jacob decides to spend the rest of his life with his dear wife bonnie and they later eloped to secretly get married in West Virginia, without telling his mother. This happened in 1939. And then William Hyrum Miller was born to them. Before turning 40, William moved to North Carolina where there were family opportunities and experiences they would not have encountered in Ohio. 

Jacob's life changed forever when Japan bombed pearl harbor, a US base in the Hawaiian Islands, and declared war on the United States and Great Britain. It was December 7th, 1941. The country he loved was at war. Now Japan bombed his country and declared war. This novel tells a tale about how Jacob holds his family close and protects them at the time of the war, even when he was not sure. Jacob loved his country and felt drawn to defend it. On the other hand he had a wife and a child he loved even more strongly. What good would it do to love Bonnie and William if the Japanese took over the United States, this reasoning led him directly back to being a soldier, an endless loop. December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the empire of Japan. Jacob's strong desire to fight for the country he loved so completely glowed in Jacob's eyes. Jacob was a proud American. He had a strong sense of duty and patriotism that would make anyone proud. This was also frightening for his family. 

My favorite lines in this novel are: Bonnies thought on war; Teri M Brown writes; "I wonder if the Japanese considered me, and the many women like me when they declared war? Had they considered me, and the many women like me when they declared war? Had they considered the spoiled gardens, the tearing apart families, the devasting loneliness?" War. It was such an ugly word. Small but powerful. These three letters pitted nation, men against men. But from her vantage point of view, the war did something far worse. It trapped men between the love of their country and the love of their country and the love of their family, their wives, and their children. 

This novel has brought out some in-depth research by the author about the war on the German Americans and the difficulties, and worries they faced having separated as families. A must-read if you love historical fiction novel. As Jacob decides to go to War as a soldier, will he return home victoriously to his family? 

Thanks to Teri M. Brown, NetGalley and Atmosphere Press Publishers for an advance copy for my advance review.


Book Description

How does a man show his love - for country, for heritage, for family - during a war that sets the three at odds? What sets in motion the necessity to choose one over the other? How will this choice change everything and everyone he loves?

Jacob Miller, a first-generation American, grew up in New Berlin, a small German immigrant town in Ohio where he endured the Great Depression, met his wife, and started a family. Though his early years were not easy, Jacob believes he is headed toward his 'happily ever after' until a friend is sent to an internment camp for enemy combatants, and the war lands resolutely on his doorstep.

In An Enemy Like Me, Teri M. Brown uses the backdrop of World War II to show the angst experienced by Jacob, his wife, and his four-year-old son as he leaves for and fights in a war he did not create. She explores the concepts of xenophobia, intrafamily dynamics, and the recognition that war is not won and lost by nations, but by ordinary men and women and the families who support them. 

Pub Date 24 Jan 2023
Atmosphere Press Publishers
Historical Fiction

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