Soldier X

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SoldierX
Soldier X cover.JPG
Cover of SoldierX: depicting the swastika and a boy wearing a Russian fur hat
Author Don L. Wulffson
Country United States
Language English (German at points)
Genre World War II
Publisher Penguin USA
Publication date
December 2002
Media type Print (hardback and paperback)
Pages 227 pp

Soldier X is a young adult war drama book written by Don Wulffson about a half-German and half-Russian boy named Erik Brandt who joins the Wehrmacht, Hitler's army, during World War II. The book tells about the war from the perspective of Erik Brandt as he leads a life as both a German and a Russian, as well as the ways in which war can affect a person.

The book won the 2002 Christopher Award for books for young adults,[1] and was on the 2002 National Council for the Social Studies list of notable books for young readers.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

Soldier X takes place during World War II(World War 2). The main character of the book is a blond-haired, blue-eyed half-Russian who speaks fluent Russian. The 15-year-old boy's name is Erik Brandt and he lives with his mother and his grandparents in an apartment above a restaurant they owned. In 1944, he was conscripted into the Wehrmacht. On the way to the German base, the Russians attack the German soldiers, leaving some soldiers wounded. Erik learns to accept several of his German allies as friends, and soon heads into his first battle after living in muddy trenches. After receiving a quick weapons training one day, Erik's platoon is attacked by Russian forces. During the battle, Erik is knocked out. When he awakens, Erik finds that most, if not all, of his friends are now dead, and that the Russians have taken the position from the Germans. Finding a dead Russian soldier nearby, he changes from his German uniform into a Russian army uniform. Mistaken for a Russian due to his understanding of that language and new appearance, he is then taken to a Russian hospital to treat his wounds. There he meets a nurse, Tamara, who takes care of injured soldiers – including Erik – and he would later develop strong feelings for her.

After becoming accustomed to hospital life and even volunteering to work around the hospital, Erik quickly makes new friends of his own: injured Russian men like Nikolai and most of the nursing staff. Erik bonds with Tamara, and more so when he learns that her brother had died in the war. Tamara learns of Erik's German origins when Erik accidentally uses profanity in German after burning himself with hot water. Surprisingly, Tamara keeps this a secret, but keeps to herself more often than usual, seeming more quiet and reserved.

As this daily routine carries on Erik meets more and more injured soldiers. Erik especially bonds with one Russian soldier who, due to injuries sustained, would lose both of his legs and be sent back to his family without the ability to walk. One day, the hospital is evacuated because of the near threat of advancing German troops and artillery attacks. Erik escapes with Tamara and flees from any areas of conflict. Walking from city to city and looking for food wherever possible, Erik and Tamara travel together and once again reinforce their bond with each other. Their love reaches a peak when they kiss each other and proclaim their love for one another after being housed by a kind lady who had lost her son to the war. Eventually, Erik and Tamara are both injured by Allied soldiers. Ordered to cease fire by their commanding officer, the group of Allied, apparently American, soldiers notices that Erik and Tamara are only teenagers and send them to a hospital. Erik awakens to find that he is gruesomely scarred from surgeries, and that he has lost an arm due to his wounds. Tamara walks away with fewer and far less urgent injuries. Despite the grouchy and melancholy mood Erik first shows due to his injuries, he and Tamara make amends and get married as the story comes to an end.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The 2002 Christopher Award Winners". The Christophers. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  2. ^ "Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People" (PDF). Social Education. National Council for the Social Studies. Retrieved 2008-04-10.