06 April 2011

"The Wave"

I know, my "monthly" book review has turned into more like a weekly thing.... but I love reading and lately I have done so alot and I just want to share a good read when I stumble upon one....

Here is a book that I had to read for my English class, like twenty years ago.... When I took a history class about World War II in America, I remembered the book and did a book report on it.

So without further ado, here is the book: it's called "The Wave" by Morton Rhue. The link to the Amazon site is here - it's not the same cover I have, but my book is much older and bought in Germany at the time.

Very shortly, I want to describe what happens in the book, a fiction by the way, but based on a true story that took place in a Palo Alto (California) high school in 1969. A history teacher is showing a movie about the Nazis' persecution of the Jews during World War II. The students wonder how this could have happened, and why didn't the Germans do anything about it. A question, I am sure, that alot of people ask themselves. So the teacher introduces a disciplinary system in the classroom, as an attempt to show the students how powerful group pressure can be. It gets out of hands, of course, when it spreads like fire from the classroom to the entire school.

This book as a modern fiction novel shows, with the help of the experiment, how Hitler was able to have such a great success and how he won the masses. The book makes clear that something like the Third Reich is not past - I believe that this incident could take place at any time at any place, and most likely the same think would happen. Young adults or adolescents are looking for someone to follow, someone that leads them. So it took really place from 1933 until 1945 in Germany, and then again in 1969 in California, but I think it could take place tomorrow in another place. It doesn't matter. Teenagers at that age are so vulnerable and impressionable.

So the book deals with alot of issues that capture young readers, for it is really a young adult reading book. Though I think even adults would enjoy it, regardless from the easy writing style. It deals with things that many young adults should know more about: the Holocaust and peer pressure. The Holocaust is something that everybody should know about in order that it will never happen again. And peer pressure happens every day in this country, in every school. And it is something that one has to learn to deal with, to pass through puberty somewhat sanely....

So overall, the book is a fantastic read, for everyone. Read it!