Verdict: BETRAYED is a thought-provoking and stirring tale of an injustice beyond imagining. It is a story of a tragic episode in American history that truly deserves to be told and must never, ever be forgotten.
There’s nothing the least bit fictional about BETRAYED; it’s shockingly real. Author Frederic H. Martini has resurrected a dreadful chapter in American history from the verge of being forgotten. He writes in a straightforward, non-fictional style that is easy to read and follow.
BETRAYED’s central focus is the author’s father, Frederic “Fred” C. Martini, an American bombardier and one of the Buchenwald airmen. The depiction of his father’s life and struggles, raw and unflinching in its honesty, is where the book truly shines. His wartime and postwar struggles are saddening and maddening, but his dignity and strength are remarkable. With his stubborn refusal to go down without a fight, Fred is a wonderful symbol of the Buchenwald airmen—indeed, all wounded warriors everywhere, and the price they pay for our freedom.
Above all, BETRAYED is a scathing indictment of the U.S. intelligence agency that deemed it necessary to compromise the welfare of its own servicemen in the interests of “national security.” You just can’t help clenching your fists as the Nazi rocket scientist Wernher von Braun—brilliant, but an egotistical pig—gets rich off the government while the Buchenwald airmen are left to fend for themselves. There is much to be shocked at, as well. The descriptions of Buchenwald and its horrors break your heart and churn your stomach at the same time. Underlying the despair of captivity is the brother-like bond of the airmen themselves, a deep connection without which none of them might have survived.
Like any good historical book, BETRAYED is chock-full of detail about WWII in general, along with helpful appendices at the end. It places the story in its overall context and emphasizes the high costs of war. If there is only one criticism to be made, it is the overly technical details of the Nazi’s rocket programs, which tend to be overwhelming and perhaps could have been simplified just a bit.
BETRAYED is a thought-provoking and stirring tale of an injustice beyond imagining. It is a story of a tragic episode in American history that truly deserves to be told and must never, ever be forgotten.
~Heather McNamara for IndieReader