Reviews for Ordinary Heroes
Booklist Reviews 2005 September #1
Chicago defense lawyer and best-selling author Turow trades the courtroom for the battlefield in this tale of a son probing the dark depths of his soldier father's past. Poignant and gritty, the novel is narrated by David Dubin, a Judge Advocate General in Patton's army, and by Stewart, Dubin's son, who, after his father's death, discovers wartime letters detailing his court-martial, imprisonment, and mysterious exoneration. In missives to a former fiancee, David Dubin recounts his orders to arrest Office of Strategic Services officer Robert Martin for insubordination. (Martin and his beguiling Polish companion, Gita, worked with the French Resistance, though rumors circulated that the cunning officer was in fact a Soviet spy.) Dubin and his sergeant pursue Martin repeatedly, ultimately parachuting into Bastogne to retrieve him during the Battle of the Bulge. It's a harrowing drop that sets in motion a deadly series of events. Inspired by the experiences of his own enigmatic father, who served as commanding officer in a World War II medical unit, Turow weaves together numerous narrative threads, the most compelling of which is Dubin's uneasy tenure as commander of a beleaguered rifle company. While Turow's fans might prefer the lively verbal skirmishes that suffuse his legal fare, the author's action sequences (like that white-knuckle free fall onto the battlefront) do plenty to quicken the pulse. ((Reviewed September 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2005 September #1
In a change of venue from contemporary courtroom to World War II battlefield, Turow further distinguishes himself from other lawyers turned bestselling authors with his most ambitious novel to date.Readers will recognize narrator Stewart Dubinsky from Presumed Innocent (1987) and The Laws of Our Fathers (1996). Now a retired journalist coming to terms with his own failed marriage, he discovers a number of letters from his late father that suggest dark secrets at the heart of the family's history. It seems that during the war, Stewart's father had been engaged to another woman (to whom the letters are addressed), that he had been court-martialed and imprisoned for assisting a potential spy's escape and that Stewart's mother and father had kept the truth from their children. Always a dogged reporter, Stewart pursues the story, despite warnings that he might be devastated by what he learns. Revelation comes more quickly than Stewart anticipates, through his father's memoir of his war years, a manuscript entrusted to the lawyer who defended him. That manuscript (which subsequently provides the majority of Turow's narrative) describes the transformation of a young idealist, one who finds his innocence shattered by his initiation into combat and involvement in an unlikely romantic triangle. He had been ordered to arrest an OSS officer named Robert Martin, a maverick whose fellow soldiers insist is a brave patriot but whose commanding officer believes is a communist sympathizer. His mission enmeshes him with the inscrutable Gita Lodz, who may or may not be Martin's lover, and who will stop at nothing to advance their cause (whatever that cause may be). While some of the writing succumbs to war-is-hell cliché and there are passages of sentimental dialogue that suggest flashbacks from 1940s battle movies, the story of shifting allegiances, divided loyalties, compromised principles and primal instincts is as engrossing as any of Turow's legal thrillers. Without diminishing his page-turning narrative momentum, Turow extends his literary range. Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2005 July #1
Not the usual legal thrills one has come to expect from Turow: here, Stewart Dubinsky discovers that his deceased war-hero father was actually court-martialed after his assignment to hunt down an out-of-control OSS officer lands him in trouble at the Battle of the Bulge. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal Reviews 2005 October #1
Moving away from legal thrillers (Reversible Errors ) and nonfiction (Ultimate Punishment ), Turow has penned a searing story of World War II interwoven with a personal family drama. Stewart Dubinsky is not especially close to his father, David Dubin. Even their names are different, yet David's death prompts Stewart to try and find out more about this enigmatic man. He uncovers some startling information: that his father was engaged to another woman before his mother, and that he was court-martialed during the Battle of the Bulge. Dubinsky decides to write a family history, starts digging, and uncovers a manuscript his father wrote about his war experiences that is alternately moving and horrifying, vindicating, and vilifying and shines light on a side of his parents that he never knew. While some of the historical facts presented are not 100 percent accurate, the book's emotional wallop more than justifies the literary license and should secure its place in the canon of World War II literature. An extraordinary, unforgettable novel, which Turow notes was inspired by his own father's military experiences. Highly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/05.]--Stacy Alesi, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., Boca Raton, FL [Page 70]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 September #3
When retired newspaperman Stewart Dubinsky (last seen in 1987's Presumed Innocent ) discovers letters his deceased father wrote during his tour of duty in WWII, a host of family secrets come to light. In Turow's ambitious, fascinating page-turner, a "ferocious curiosity" compels the divorced Dubinsky to study his "remote, circumspect" father's papers, which include love letters written to a fiancée the family had never heard of, and a lengthy manuscript, which his father wrote in prison and which includes the shocking disclosure of his father's court-martial for assisting in the escape of OSS officer Robert Martin, a suspected spy. The manuscript, hidden from everyone but the attorney defending him, tells of Capt. David Dubin's investigation into Martin's activities and of both men's entanglements with fierce, secretive comrade Gita Lodz. From optimistic soldier to disenchanted veteran, Dubin--who, via the manuscript, becomes the book's de facto narrator--describes the years of violence he endured and of a love triangle that exacted a heavy emotional toll. Dubinsky's investigations prove revelatory at first, and life-altering at last. Turow makes the leap from courtroom to battlefield effortlessly. (Nov. 1) [Page 42]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.