Josef is author of The Robber and Me and An Innocent Soldier. Published in 2005, An Innocent Soldier chronicles the journey of a sixteen-year-old boy who is tricked into fighting in the Napoleonic Wars by his employer. This ALA Notable Children's book is also the winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award.
AN INNOCENT SOLDIER
Author: Holub, Josef
Sixteen-year-old Adam Feuchter is tricked by the farmer he works for, substituted for the farmer's own son and drafted into the army. Napoleon's Grande Armee, the largest army the world had ever seen, is on its way to Russia. At first pleased to be part of the magnificent regiment and eager to catch a glimpse of "the greatest general in history," Adam is soon disillusioned by war. The cruelties and humiliations he faces at the hands of his own sergeant are just the beginning, as he witnesses the horrible ways soldiers treat locals. Starvation, cholera and Cossack attacks foreshadow disaster in Moscow and the ugly retreat, hindered by brutal cold and Russian troops hounding them. Translated from the German, the simple, understated and at times eloquent first-person narrative rings true to one boy's experience of war, adventure and survival. (map spread, historical note) (Fiction. 12+)
\\\\\\\\Holub, Josef. An Innocent Soldier. Tr. by Michael Gofmann. 2005. 240p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $16.99 (0-439-62771-0).
Gr. 7-12. In this unevenly translated novel, a teenaged farmhand is forced to take part in Napoleon's ill-fated Russian campaign. Unsuspecting orphan Adam is handed over to recruiting officers by the farmer he works for as a replacement for the man's drafted son. Assigned to the horse artillery, Adam leads a miserable life until the blue-blooded Lieutenant Konrad Klara requisitions him to become his personal servant. The young men head toward Moscow, but are soon overcome by hunger and disease. After witnessing many wartime atrocities, the two survive the suicide march out of Russia and form an unlikely bond that transcends class and station. Other than a brief historical note, little background information is given, assuming much prior knowledge on the part of the reader. While the novel is evocative in places, the translation is replete with odd-sounding phrase