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The Rommel Mission

by Ken Kreckel

      "And Now, the Other Side of the Story"

Learning to Understand the Enemy

"Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."
Thus, the Bible's little ten word mini lecture on acceptance, love, tolerance and peace.
It would at first appear that Ken Kreckel's The Rommel Mission would appeal primarily to World War II history buffs; his novel will indeed do that. But Kreckel has written a novel that allows readers to experience life from the less-often traveled side of the road. At least it will allow American readers to do that, if not German ones.

This approach to storytelling -by refreshing history with a different point of view- is not an unusual way for us to come to understand the human condition of those whom governments and politics have demonized. The movie Letters from Iwo Jima recently won high praise for doing just that thanks to Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. Though Ken Kreckel's story is set in the European theater not the Pacific one, his name might well be listed with theirs.

For me the fresh viewpoint of this new novel published by Red Engine Press was most valuable. Nevertheless, I was surprised at how it also recharged my memory for history. The story of a major enlisted to carry out a dangerous mission to shorten the war, save lives and prevent German civilians from living under the heavy burden of Communist Russia is a story of courage but also one that teaches and enlightens. Kreckel's research is extensive; the book includes historical notes and a list of books that will help readers understand the viewpoints of those fighting on the other side.

Much of the history (and, yes, drama!) covered in this book may well help us better access our political situation in the world today. I can't think of a better reason to cozy down with a good book and can only hope that Kreckel will tackle a similar story from an individual Russian soldier's point of view very soon.

The Book

Red Engine Press
November 2006
Trade Paperback
Historical Fiction
More at

The Reviewer

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Reviewed 2007
NOTE: Reviewer Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the award-winning author of This is the Place, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't -the 2004 winner of USA Book News' Best Professional Book of the Year- and a recently published chapbook of poetry titled Tracings.
© 2006