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Book Review: Unbelievable Adventures of a WW II German War Bride by Ingeborg M. Johnston

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Ingeborg M. Johnston says her family asked her to write the memoir that became Unbelievable Adventures of a WW II German War Bride because she had some adventures that in today’s world are hard to imagine. And her family were right.

Mrs. Johnston shares her experiences as Second World War German nurse, a beauty queen, model, pilot, wife, mother and grandmother. The author marries an American and comes to live in the United States, then taking full advantages of what the country has to offer.

Ingeborg M. Johnston must have been standing at the front of the line when God passed out genetics. She is smart, beautiful, spunky, gutsy, positive, athletic, with a sunny disposition and a good heart.

Born in Germany to a father who opposed the Nazis and later the communists, it is no wonder she had many adventures. Add Ms. Johnston’s entrepreneurial skills and, what seems to me, the ability to get what she wants, and you have the making of a wonderful and exciting life.

However, many people have adventures; I’m sure most of us can write a book about the exciting times in our lives between the day-to-day doldrums. Heck, I wish my grandparents and great uncles had all written such a book: my great-uncle, a partisan in WWII; my grandmother who sat in a Polish jail; her sisters who survived Auschwitz; my grandfather and grandmother with their romance in the British Army; and the other grandparents who escaped from war-torn Europe and went on to work building a new country as teenagers.

Yes, I would love to read about these events and more, but I don’t think you would.

Mrs. Johnston wrote a wonderful book which her family surely will treasure forever; it is not only fascinating, but oral history that would be lost if the author didn’t put it down on paper. But as interesting as this book was, it lacks in other areas. There really isn’t a point to the book, just a bunch of short stories that all have Mrs. Johnston in common.

I got the book because of “WW II” in the title, but there is very little about the war in the book. The book is divided into quick and easy to read sections all written in first person and lack descriptive narrative, which I felt made the book not as gripping as it might have been. Some sections are poorly written and the book needed the touch of a professional editor, or so it seems.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading about many of the adventures Mrs. Johnston went through and about her strong belief in random acts of kindness – something I strongly believe in as well. Mrs. Johnston is a strong and inspirational woman and we need more like her.

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  • Jim Johnston

    Thank you for your review.

    Your observations were right on along with others. There were suggestions and recommendaitons for:

    1. More about her teen age wartime nursing experiences. She lived in constant danger for some 7 years (1939-1945) while most military from the U.S. were involved for maybe half that time.

    2. More about living without freedoms we enjoy in our country under various two tyranical governments in Germany.

    3. More about Acts of Kindness in wartime.

    4. A fun review closed with the statement that, “Realistically her life, adventures and acts of kindness dome by her and for her were unrealistic.”

  • LadyRider

    Another book to consider “Through Innocent Eyes – The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth.” The main character, Gertrude Kerschner, was born to an Austrian mother who opposed National Socialism. In March, 1938, when Austria was annexed into Germany, Gertrude embraces the Bund Deutscher Maedel, joins the Jungmaedels, then moves over 700 km to join the elite rural educational program entitled “Landjahr Lager” (Country Service Camp). This first hand account book, written by her American daughter, Cynthia A. Sandor, captures in detail the moral character upbringing of the chosen girls in the Hitler Youth.