BKMT READING GUIDES

A Break in the Storm
by Arnold Simon

Published: 2004-10
Paperback : 372 pages
3 members reading this now
1 club reading this now
0 members have read this book
This historical thriller probes a controversial issue: that World War II could have been prevented! The novel is set in 1936, a time when the specter of Germany's resurgent militarism loomed over Europe. Erich Behrndt is an idealistic young German whose father died in World War I and his mother in ...
No other editions available.
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to

Introduction

This historical thriller probes a controversial issue: that World War II could have been prevented! The novel is set in 1936, a time when the specter of Germany's resurgent militarism loomed over Europe. Erich Behrndt is an idealistic young German whose father died in World War I and his mother in its afermath. Inspired by Hitler's promises of glory, Erich joins his movement, gets a diplomatic job abroad, and has an affair with beautiful and brilliant Lise Hermann. From his superior, Josef Steeg, a man with an ugly past who is consumed with lust and ambition, Erich soon learns the price he has to pay for his idealism. As the last chance to avoid World War II hangs in the balance, the lives of Erich, Lise, and Steeg become entangled with the lives of Andre Laroche, who seeks revenge for his family's massacre, and Stefan Mueller, a world-famous physicist facing persecution. Torn between these raging forces. Erich, Lise, Andre, and Mueller each face decisions that may change all their lives forever.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

Excerpt #1
Steeg's demeanor throughout this exchange had not revealed the full depth of the jealousy he had instantly formed towards Erich Behrndt. This jealousy stemmed from the simple fact that Behrndt had everything that Steeg coveted but did not have, including youth, good looks, personal charm, a gift for communicating with people, and now, evidently, the very job in Brussels that Steeg had applied for. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

A Guide for Book Groups:

1. The conflict between Erich Behrndt’s principles and the oath he has sworn confronts him with a series of agonizing decisions. What do his responses to these reveal about his character? What change or changes, if any, does his character undergo as a result?

2. Some readers have referred to Lise Hermann’s story in part as a coming-of-age story. Do you agree? Do the particular crises she is faced with bring about more changes in her than just coming of age, and if so, how?

3. Is Josef Steeg’s character absolutely evil, or does it reveal some humanity? What does the scene in the car where he “pleads his case” with Lise tell about him? Does the cruel treatment he suffered in his childhood explain any of his actions, or are they just excuses?

4. What stages does the relationship between Lise and Erich go through? In what ways does Steeg impact that relationship?

5. Did your attitude towards any of the characters evolve as the novel progressed? Did you find yourself identifying with (or in opposition to) any of them?

6. Do you see any parallels between the stories of the fictional characters in the novel and the historical story against which these play out, and if so what are those parallels?

7. It has been said that the German people were Hitler’s first victims, because of the calamities he led them into. Similarly, do you see the passions or desires of any of the characters in this novel as metaphors for the passions or desires of the German people or the people in the Allied countries, and if so in what way?

8. Does the historical story told in this novel contain any lesson for today’s world? If so, what lesson? If not, why not?

9. If you had been the one to make the decision that faced the Allies on March 7, 1936, what would you have done, and how would you have justified it to your constituency?

10. Do you feel that those Germans who were portrayed in the story as supporting Hitler were portrayed fairly?

11. Do you feel that those Germans who were portrayed in the story as opposing Hitler were portrayed accurately?

12. Do you think there must have been other Germans who joined the Nazi Party and found themselves in the same kind of situation as Erich?

13. A Break in the Storm has attracted notice from two groups, those interested in history and those who are looking for a good story. Which of these aspects of the book drew more of your attention?





Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Absorbing WWII character study"by Zebra215 (see profile) 08/28/06

Arnold Simon has effectively given us the history of WWII based upon "players" lives. The history of WWII is personalized, giving the reader an opportunity to view the war based upon individuals, not... (read more)

 
  "A great WWII novel"by kcpiekos (see profile) 06/21/06

I enjoyed putting characters to the stories that I have heard from my Dad who grew up in German occupied France during the war. The characters were interesting and overall I thought it was entertaining.... (read more)

 
  "We thought the book started out great, but had some dislikes"by cmstab (see profile) 04/28/06

Our group felt the opening of the book was excellent in generating an interest in reading on. We also appreciated the description of the events during World War I and the explanation of the Treaty of... (read more)

 
  "Good information about post WW I Europe, but sometimes difficult to follow."by sachatz (see profile) 08/24/06

The opening of the book was captivating, but it was somewhat confusing jumping from present to past and back again without clear delineation of times. I found myself not very interested in the main characters... (read more)

 
  "Confusing..."by Isis_2 (see profile) 05/18/06

I received this book and thought it would be very interesting. Instead, I found it extremely confusing. The author jumps scenes and charcters like the little frog jumps cars in the game Le... (read more)

 
  "I thoroughly enjoyed this book."by kcarlsen (see profile) 04/10/06

I got caught up in the characters and I thought it might be confusing with the times changing but it was easy to follow and entertaining. It was a new look at World War 1 and 2. All in all, it was just... (read more)

 
  "Excellent Read."by italianprincess (see profile) 03/11/06

Author, Arnold Simon, tackles this subject brilliantly in his novel, "A Break in the Storm". It is a particularly interesting way to learn about this period in history as it approaches the t... (read more)

Rate this book
MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Join the leading website for book clubs with over 35,000 clubs and 20,000 reading guides.

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search
FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...