Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Refugees Fight for Survival in Realistic WWII Epic

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Refugees Fight for Survival in Realistic WWII Epic

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Scott

SALT TO THE SEA

Author: Ruth Sepetys

Data: Pholomel, 400 pages, $18.99

During the final days of World War II, a Russian submarine sank a German passenger ship packed with more than 10,000 refugees, military and civilian - many of them children, fleeing the advance of Russian troops across the East Prussian and Polish corridors. Nine hundred survived. The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff is the deadliest disaster in maritime history. The ship was part of Operation Hannibal, the largest sea evacuation in modern history, involving more than 2 million people.

In her novel "Salt to the Sea," acclaimed historical fiction writer Ruth Sepetys tells the story through the eyes of four young people: a Lithuanian nurse, an East Prussian art forger, a Polish teenager and a German sailor, forced together during the evacuation. Their stories, told in first-person in pulse-pounding alternating points of view, paint a clear picture of the horror experienced by the refugees as they fought for survival. …

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