"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
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.