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As a Jewish slave of the DoraMittelbau concentration camp, Eli Hessel works on the Nazi’s V2 missile program Terror and death, his constant companions, make it nearly impossible to remember that he is a living, breathing human being suffering utterly inhumane conditions He toils in the tunnels dug deep in the Harz Mountains of Germany, always hungry, always thirsty, always fighting to survive The SS, especially SSHauptscharführer Erwin “Horse Head” Busta, torment Eli and his fellow prisoners through beatings, intimidation, torture, and sadistic games Nazi scientists watch with indifference, all too willing to sacrifice lives to see the V2 program succeed Eli, gifted in mathematics and with a keen intellect for science, often stares at the stars and moon, wishing for escape And then one day, miraculously, Eli finds himself liberated, the war over, and a new life ahead But he will forever carry his old life, the burden of the survivor, the burden of the living.Eli moves to New York, marries, becomes a father, and earns his college degrees And then, another miracle: he lands a job with the American space program, NASA, and works at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida His demons, however, haven’t left; indeed, some of them are literally in the flesh: the Nazi scientists at DoraMittelbau are now the beloved, muchlauded scientists making it possible for the United States to have a space program That the men complicit in and, indeed, responsible for, the death of so many now stand as darlings of NASA without facing justice torments Eli But what can he do? Eli tries to focus on the upcoming launch of Apollo 11, but the trauma he lives with begins to consume him onceIs surviving really the best revenge?In the Shadow of Dora is as ambitious as it is profound Hicks has a gifted ability for writing gritty, vivid realism From the lice biting inside Eli’s camp uniform and the sickening thud of a SS guard’s truncheon on an inmate’s skull, to the clacking typewriters and ringing telephones inside NASA offices to slabs of ice falling from Apollo 11’s fuel tanks, Hicks engages all five senses with startling clarity Hicks’ thorough research provides compelling historical details, both for DoraMittelbau and the Kennedy Space Center But the power of this novel lies in how Hicks makes us wrestle with difficult questions What price technology? What price justice? Why should those who inflicted pain and death upon so many escape punishment? That the U.S government spirited away numerous Nazi scientists as part of Operation Paperclip is a welldocumented fact; less documented, however, is how Holocaust survivors grappled with this grave injustice Through Eli, Hicks forces us to examine this issue, and we must face the disturbing answers, just as Eli must face how his past collides with his present In the Shadow of Dora presents a unique, compelling story of survival and endurance, one that shows how the future often intertwines with our past, and how we must never, ever give up hope that “all is well.” This is a story of liberation and escape By creating Eli Hessel, a protagonist who lives through the horrors of the DoraMittelbau concentration camp while aiding in the manufacture of V2 rockets during WWII and the highlights of the Kennedy Space Center while running tests on the Saturn V during the run up to the 1969 moon landing, Patrick Hicks gives us someone who experiences the contrast between the depths of human violence and the apex of human achievement and must come to terms with his survival and his experience of both those extremes More than once I had to ask myself if the effective absolution of the crimes of the German V2 rocket scientists was truly worth the prestige their knowledge brought to the United States and wonder if our leaders ever considered the same. Hicks himself has said that reading a novel is an investment; well this is a worthy one.With its expressive language and avid attention to detail, In the Shadow of Dora seamlessly blends histories to provide a stark warning for the present and a reminder that the past shapes the future.Hicks describes the constant terror of life as a slave in a concentration camp with sensitivity and respect His protagonist – only 21 years old when enslaved, dehumanised to nothing but a number, and forced to watch his family taken to be murdered – dreams of sausages and potatoes by night and fuses circuits for rockets in tunnels by day, with the backdrop of constant terror and demonstrations of brutality Later, Eli is seemingly living the American dream: he has a family,a house by the ocean and, again, builds rockets, this time as a respected scientist However, the trauma of his experiences has never left him: he carries both mental and physical scars from his past Both the physical and mental trauma resurfaces on the eve of “the greatest adventure we have yet undertaken as a species” (167), as his former enslavers also reappear on the scene.Despite the events of the novel taking place at two distinct points in history – Germany in 19445 and Florida in 1969 – the novel’s exploration of the intersect between past and present, past and future, feels increasingly important in 2020 Themes of slavery and dehumanisation, trauma, wrongful imprisonment and the immigrant experience are as important now as ever, and the novel reminds us to ask questions about the “great men” of the present: can any amount of scientific knowledge excuse a person for the murder of millions of innocent people? Patrick Hicks has an extraordinary ability to make history come alive Woven throughout the facts and detailed depiction of life in the Holocaust Nazi slave labor camp DoraMittelbau, Eli Hessel’s personality and pain leap from the pages My heart ached for Eli as he endured the relentless inhumane treatment of building rockets in the tunnels of Dora.Historians and humanitarians alike will love this book Eli, and storyteller Patrick Hicks, are welldeserving of the limelight An extraordinary novel that I'll never forget. This is a very thoroughly researched and wellwritten book It is eminently factual, and tells the story of a man caught in the hell of the Holocaust, enslaved at one of the lesserknown but most brutal of concentration camps, DoraMittelbau Forced to labor making the V2 rockets that the Third Reich would use in the waning days of the war to bombard London, Belgium and other targets, Eli manages to survive both the camp and the war, and go on to emigrate to the United States and work for NASA on the Apollo project While there, specters from his past rise to haunt him Eli is a believable and sympathetic protagonist, and his story is riveting This is one to read in a single setting because you will want to know what happens on the next page. I've never read a book quite like this before Hicks weaves a story of survival in the Holocaust to the wonder that comes with the Apollo launch Hicks writes a powerful and poignant story to shed light on this littleknown connection I am better for having read it. |Download Book ☨ In The Shadow of Dora ♂ In the Shadow of Dora spans two very different decades from the Nazi concentration camp of DoraMittelbau to the coast of central Florida in the late s; the book tells the story of the real life intersections between the horror of the Third Reich’s V rocket program and the wonderment of the Apollo missions Eli Hessel, a brilliant young Jewish mathematician, finds himself deep beneath a mountain where he is forced to build Nazi rockets When he is finally freed from this secret underground concentration camp, he immigrates to New York, studies astrophysics, and is recruited by NASA to help build the largest rocket ever to rise above a launch pad: the Saturn V To his shock, though, he will be under the command of former Nazi scientists Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph, both of who were at Dora As America turns to the moon and cheers for rockets that lance the sky, Eli is swallowed up by the past and must cope with memories he thought were safely buried This is a novel that asks questions about memory, morality, technology, and how the past influences the present If we clamp down images of horror, will they always ignite and rise up on us? “This is a harrowing journey of survival, one that traces the indomitable spirit of one lone man as he spirals deeper and deeper within the Holocaust—while also recognizing what it takes, minute by minute and day by day, to survive decades into the future This painful yet beautifully written novel adds to the necessary literature of the Holocaust Hicks is determined to undo the erasures of time while revealing our humanity with a cleareyed lens This is what the art of the novel was invented to do” —Brian Turner, author of My Life as a Foreign Country and Here, Bullet “Patrick Hicks has managed to bring two of history’s greatest events down to the molecular level in the extraordinary character of Eli Hessel, a survivor of the Holocaust and a member of the vast team of scientists that put a man on the moon This story is gripping in its tragedy, thrilling in its detail, and unforgettable for its protagonist, whose will to not only survive, but thrive, live, and love is a testament to the human spirit In the Shadow of Dora is tenacious, just like its hero I’ll never forget it”—Peter Geye, author of Northernmost and Wintering “In the Shadow of Dora is an astonishing novel With a poet’s eye and meticulously lyric prose, Patrick Hicks unspools a harrowing tale that begins in a Nazi concentration camp and ends on the Apollolaunch pad It is between these two extremes—the most base of the basest of evils and the highest of all human achievements—that Eli’s story unfolds Hicks’ novel is fundamentally a narrative of inquiry and selfinterrogation: Is the past what defines us? Does the future redeem us? How can you know if you’re dead? This is a profoundly moving book”—Jill Alexander Essbaum, New York Times Bestselling author of Hausfrau “Spanning decades and continents, In the Shadow of Dora reveals in aching detail the heights of human ingenuity and the depths of human cruelty, and, most importantly, the ways those heights and depths are inextricably intertwined in the history of the twentieth century This is a revelatory novel” —Joe Wilkins, author of Fall Back Down When I Die and The Mountain and the Fathers “In this compelling novel based on historical facts, Patrick Hicks places America’s glittering quest to land on the moon squarely inside the dark shadow of the Holocaust Few novels I have read so effectively and disturbingly question the relationship between the triumph of technological achievement and our willingness to ignore injustice” —Kent Meyers, author of The Work of Wolves and Twisted Tree If you have never heard of the DoraMittelbau labor camp located in the tunnels of a former mine, you are not alone This is a novel of the Holocaust, but it shines a light on the terrifying labor camps where Jewish prisoners were forced to create the mighty V2 rockets that rained destruction all over Europe in the Second World War Through the narrator, Eli, we experience the sights, sounds, taste, touch and smells of the camp's unofficial slogan, Vernichtung durch arbeit (Extermination through work) This is horror, but numbingly repetitive horror as with his previous work, The Commandant of Lubizec: A Novel of The Holocaust and Operation Reinhard, the author shows that the constant, unpredictable threat of cruelty and violence by the Nazis served to stun their prisoners into obedience, compliance even acceptance.In one horrifying episode, the SS hang a group of Russian prisoners who had sabotaged a winch These men dangled from where a rocket should be, and for those standing beneath them, it would be like resting at the bottom of a lake and looking up at swimmers treading water high above These men scissorkicked and jerked as they went about the business of dying They walked the air.Although grounded in historical fact and peppered with statistics, it is the lyrical storytelling that sets this Holocaust novel apart Through Eli, Hicks explores the terrible irony linking the barbarism of the Holocaust and the optimism and power of the race to the moon as some of the highranking Nazis from Dora are granted a new life as heroes in the United States Eli is haunted by what he witnessed at Dora and fragments reappear to him unbidden throughout his life what was a living nightmare now has a wondrous, almost dreamlike quality, and we keenly feel Eli's sense of isolation How could anyone in his new life in America understand that being moved from Auschwitz to Dora was not the liberation they imagine?Hicks also shows us a sense of wonder, too; Eli is a survivor his mantra to calm himself, All is well, helps us to survive the awful truths of this history I found myself rushing to this happier part of the story, of Eli's involvement with the Apollo missions But what I really admire was Hicks' ability to combine the dark and the light so powerfully: [NASA and Dora] were the great poles of his life The darkest and the brightest How strange that an arcing of a rocket linked them together.I read this book in a day but it will stay with me for so much longer. Very well written, as I expected The connections and reiterations throughout the story weaved unbreakable connections Hicks was careful with his wording so that each part of the novel was easily connected to each other.