# Novel《BRAN-NEW ! + A Compelling & Chilling Historical Fiction About A Young Boy's Ambition To Become A Model Soldier In Nazi Germany》Sarah Cohen-Scali - MAX : The "Perfect" Nazi Baby -The Embodiment of Evil
★★ Winner English Pen Award ★★ ★★ A Powerful Story That Dares To Speak Of Unspeakable Horror ★★ Nazi Germany. 1936. In the Lebensborn program, carefully selected German women are recruited by the Nazis to give birth to new members of the Aryan race. Inside one of these women is Max, literally counting the minutes until he is born and he can fulfill his destiny as the perfect Aryan specimen. Baby Max is the perfect prototype of Nazi eugenics programme ; he is the ideal size, he has the correct colour hair and flawless blue eyes. Raised in an ideology driven by hatred and ruled by fear, Max is taught to endure pain and be brave at all costs. Max is born on Hitler’s birthday under the Nazi "Lebensborn" program, Hitler's Aryan baby production line scheme (which produced about 8,000 children in Germany, between 8 and 12,000 children in Scandinavia, and hundreds in several other occupied countries). So Max is special, baptised by Hitler himself. Max is taken away from his birth mother soon after he enters the world. Raised under the ideology and direction of the Nazi Party, he grows up without any family, without any affection or tenderness, and he soon becomes the mascot of the program. That is until he meets Lukas, a young Jewish boy whom he knows he is meant to despise. Instead, the friendship that blossoms changes Max’s world forever. But as he is drawn further into the horrors of wars, Max must fight to untangle the truth from the lie. Translated from the original French, Sarah Cohen-Scali brings the details of the Lebensborn program to light in this haunting and heartbreaking novel. Max is a fascinating and disturbing journey into the mind of a child raised by a regime; a child who is indoctrinated, traumatised, and denied all affection and family. Konrad’s early care, schooling, and the eventual chaotic collapse of the Reich make for harrowing reading. The Lebensborn program extended to the kidnapping and ‘Germanisation’ of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Polish children, and it is through his fascination with Polish-Jewish boy, Lukas, that Konrad gradually faces the lies and misinformation of the Reich, and develops a fledgling moral awareness. The physical and political battles between Konrad and Lukas are gripping, and so is their growing trust and friendship. Neither is an innocent, and both are ensnared in a perilous situation where one wrong step can result in death. Max is highly original and moving in its depiction of both the bravery and resilience of children, and their ability to engage in acts of evil. Author Sarah Cohen-Scali has written a unique, sensitive and morally complex depiction of two lost and damaged boys. Little is held back in this book – and it is for that reason that I’d recommend it for teenagers 13 years and older. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KIRKUS REVIEW The education of a young Nazi, from fetus to 9-year-old. One of the lesser-known Nazi atrocities, the Lebensborn program, aimed to increase the numbers of so-called Aryans; the program encouraged sexual contact between SS officers and unmarried (sufficiently blonde) white women while also Germanizing 200,000 kidnapped European children. Max is a fictional Lebensborn child, born in 1936 of unmarried parents. He begins his narrative in utero, determined to be born on April 20, the Führer’s birthday. Platinum blond and with icy blue eyes and a perfectly Aryan dolicephalic head, he plans to become an ideal Nazi, full of Draufgängertum—a hotheaded lack of self-preservation. As a fetus and an infant, Max’s point of view is that of an adult true believer, full of grotesque crudeness, endless sexual violence, and unremitting anti-Semitism. He’s eager to serve the Reich, even as a toddler, and he gladly helps his eugenicist keepers identify appropriately Nordic-looking children to kidnap. Though he’s intellectually convinced of Hitler’s philosophies, Max’s visceral discomfort with Nazi atrocities expresses itself through stomach troubles (described in scatological detail). A dysfunctional friendship with a blond, blue-eyed teenage Polish boy with a terrible secret only accelerates Max’s poor digestion. After a slow start, readers will find Max’s story reminiscent of M.T. Anderson’s National Book Award–winning The Pox Party (2006). Horrific atrocities—and the ghastly realities of any war—seen through the eyes of a child with heartbreaking cognitive dissonance pack a wallop. About the Author Sarah Cohen-Scali has written many novels and short stories for young readers. Her young adult novel Max, first published in France, has won several awards including the prestigious Prix Sorcières 2013. Max is her first book with Roaring Brook Press. Sarah lives in Paris with her family.
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