Saturday, February 13, 2021

More on Ensnared in the Wolf's Lair and a #Giveaway!


Welcome to the Ensnared Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Ensnared by Ann Bausum on January 12th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive articles from Ann, plus 5 chances to win a hardcover copy!

Who Knew There Was German Resistance to Hitler?

by Ann Bausum

Not me! 

Over the years I’d heard repeatedly about French resistance to Nazi rule, but not until I started researching Ensnared in the Wolf’s Lair did I realize the extent to which Germans had resisted their own regime. My editors, Catherine Frank [@CatherineFrankEditorial] and Ariane Szu-Tu, were astonished by what I was learning, and with their encouragement I completely restructured the book so that readers could share in these revelations.

Many of my discoveries began thanks to one of the museum gems of Berlin, the German Resistance Memorial Center. I found my way to the center in 2015 during my first European research trip for the book, and I studied it even more intently three years later on my second tour. The museum is a unique site because the exhibits are embedded in the same rooms where the 1944 Valkyrie coup attempt was headquartered. So even while visitors are learning about the history, they are walking the floors where it happened. 

Commemorative wreath, Bendler Block Courtyard, Berlin. 
© Ann Bausum, all rights reserved 

Visitors approach the museum through the same cobblestone-paved courtyard where Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and three others were executed by firing squad as the coup collapsed. A simple wreath hangs in perpetual remembrance. The weight of the history seems to reverberate off the courtyard walls, almost as if the echoes of those rifle shots can still be heard more than 75 years later. 

The German Resistance Memorial Center chronicles far more than this one instance of resistance. Exhibits remind visitors of the attempt Georg Elser made in 1939 to assassinate Hitler at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich. When I visited Munich in 2015 I found myself tantalized by the “What ifs.” What if Hitler had given his usual, lengthy speech during this annual commemorative event? What if he’d still been speaking when Elser’s homemade bomb had exploded? What if he’d died in 1939 instead of days before Germany’s 1945 wartime defeat? It’s hard not to imagine all the tragedies that might have been avoided if history had turned out differently.

Before I left the resistance museum in 2018 I purchased what I call “a museum in a box.” Eighteen individual catalogs summarize the history shared in the building’s exhibitions. I drew from these records and more to remind readers of what is perhaps the best-known story of German resistance, the White Rose movement led by Munich students Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, and others. Additional material relates the history of the so-called Red Orchestra, which included American-born Mildred Fish-Harnack, and countless other stories of efforts large and small to undermine and overthrow the Nazi regime. I pay homage to these under-recognized efforts in the second chapter of the book, “Resisting the Regime.” 

By the end of Ensnared in the Wolf’s Lair readers have a deeper understanding of the forces that allowed Hitler to seize power, the relentless resistance to his rule within Germany, and how he sustained his unbreakable grip on the country for a dozen years.


Blog Tour Schedule:

February 8th - Bookhounds

February 9th - Christy's Cozy Corners

February 10th - Teen Librarian Toolbox

February 11th - From the Mixed-Up Files

February 12th - Ms. Yingling Reads

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Follow Ann Bausum: Website | Twitter | Facebook

"I've come on orders from Berlin to fetch the three children." --Gestapo agent, August 24, 1944

With those chilling words Christa von Hofacker and her younger siblings found themselves ensnared in a web of family punishment designed to please one man—Adolf Hitler. The furious dictator sought merciless revenge against not only Christa's father and the other Germans who had just tried to overthrow his government. He wanted to torment their relatives, too, regardless of age or stature. All of them. Including every last child.

During the summer of 1944, a secretive network of German officers and civilians conspired to assassinate Adolf Hitler. But their plot to attack the dictator at his Wolf's Lair compound failed, and an enraged Hitler demanded revenge. The result was a systematic rampage of punishment that ensnared not only those who had tried to topple the regime but their far-flung family members too. Within weeks, Gestapo agents had taken as many as 200 relatives from their homes, separating adults and children.

Using rare photographs and personal interviews with survivors, award-winning author Ann Bausum presents the spine-chilling little-known story of the failed Operation Valkyrie plot, the revenge it triggered, and the families caught in the fray.

ANN BAUSUM is an award-winning children’s book author who brings history alive by connecting readers to personal stories from the past that echo in the present day. Ensnared is her 11th book for National Geographic Kids and her fourth look at international history. While researching the book, she traveled twice to Europe to get to know the people and places that became intertwined in 1944 after the failed effort to kill Hitler at the Wolf’s Lair. Previously Bausum has explored international history with such works as Stubby the War Dog; Denied, Detained, Deported; and Unraveling Freedom. Many of her books highlight themes of social justice, including her National Geographic title The March Against Fear. In 2017, her body of work was honored by the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC. Individual titles have won numerous starred reviews and been recognized with a Sibert Honor Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Carter G. Woodson Award, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, among other distinctions.

  • One (1) winner will receive a hardcover copy of Ensnared
  • Check out the other four stops for more chances to win
  • US/Can only
  • Ends 2/21 at 11:59pm ET
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  1. I am enjoying a YA historical fiction They Went Left right now and this book would be an excellent companion book for my current read. I'm always seeking to learn more about this horrific time in world history as it's not something my school education ever discussed.

  2. This sounds so interesting. I love how your story emerged from your museum visit.

  3. This is fascinating. I can appreciate all the research the author has done for this book.

  4. Thank you!! Can't wait to read :0)