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A US soldier confronts the horrors of the Holocaust in this New York Times–bestselling novel from acclaimed WWII correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Jacob Levy is a typical American boy. He never gives much thought to world affairs—or to his Jewish heritage. But when the United States joins the Allied effort to stop Hitler, Jacob’s life and sA US soldier confronts the horrors of the Holocaust in this New York Times–bestselling novel from acclaimed WWII correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Jacob Levy is a typical American boy. He never gives much thought to world affairs—or to his Jewish heritage. But when the United States joins the Allied effort to stop Hitler, Jacob’s life and sense of identity are on course to change forever. As a soldier in the last months of World War II, Jacob lives through the Battle of the Bulge and the discovery of Nazi concentration camps. Witnessing the liberation of Dachau, he confronts a level of cruelty beyond his own imaginings, and the shock transforms him in ways he never thought possible.   One of the first female war correspondents of the twentieth century, Martha Gellhorn visited Dachau a week after its discovery by American soldiers. A New York Times bestseller when it was first published, this powerful novel grapples with the horrors of war and dilemmas of moral responsibility that are just as relevant today.  This ebook features an afterword by the author.  ...

Title : Point of No Return: A Novel
Author :
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ISBN : 9781504040990
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 332 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Point of No Return: A Novel Reviews

  • Fran
    2019-03-24 04:23

    "Point of No Return" by Martha Gellhorn was written in 1948. Gellhorn was a war correspondent and journalist. By stowing away on a hospital ship, she became the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day, June,6,1944. Upon liberation of Dachau concentration camp by Allied troops, she was among the first journalistic reporters to enter Dachau and bear witness to its inhumanities.Gellhorn's portrayal of a U.S. Army Battalion is noteworthy; the feelings and ruminations of the characters are key. Jacob Levy, a non-practicing Jew, felt singled out thinking he must work harder to earn the right to be left alone to cross off another day on his calendar.He filled the role of ammunition bearer, then litter bearer. Having been shot twice, he expected a final blow. All that changed when he become jeep driver for Lt. Col. John Smithers.John Smithers commanded a fatigued, fearful battalion. During the day, Smithers stood tall and snapped out orders. At night however, worry prevented sleep, his facade crumbling with the knowledge that in subsequent battles more soldiers would be maimed or killed. Smithers never had a Jew in his battalion before. Surprisingly a bond developed between commander and jeep driver.Lt. Col Smithers, driven by Levy, was able to take liberty in the quiet city of Luxembourg. He met Red Cross nurse Dotty Brock at the Officers Club. Dotty did not really listen to the words of the visiting soldiers. She occasionally pipped up "oh,my" or "really?" Most stories sounded redundant to her. Jacob Levy, told what time to return to the Officer's Club, was given free rein to explore the city. Jacob found a Cafe-Restaurant de l'Etoile and was waited on by a lovely young waitress named Kathe. She spoke only French. No matter. Up in Kathe's room, Jacob and Kathe held each other tightly. Word unspoken, feelings of temporary warmth and safety were all that was needed. Jacob hid his Jewish identity from her telling her his name was John.Each character in the book will experience a point of no return. The war will have changed them. Some will give their lives, some will lose limbs. Dear John letters will be received. Quiet, gentle soldiers will display uncharacteristic behavior including purposeful destruction of property or person."Point of No Return" expresses the inner turmoil felt by soldiers, nurses, and citizens in wartime Europe during the closing months of World War II. Gellhorn's timely tome has been reissued after being out of print. A very important, heart wrenching novel.Thank you Open Road Media and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Point of No Return".

  • Shomeret
    2019-02-28 00:05

    When I agreed to review Point of No Return by Martha Gellhorn for the publisher of the new digital edition, I knew nothing of the author. The name was familiar, but I should have known more of her. She led an extraordinary life as a war journalist, novelist and the third wife of Ernest Hemingway. Without this background, I began reading my ARC from Open Road Media via Net Galley without any expectations or preconceptions.Gellhorn wrote Point of No Return soon after WWII. It was first published in 1948. According to her Afterword that appears at the end of the book, she had been a witness to events in this war as a journalist who traveled with British troops. Although I have read quite a number of WWII novels, I hadn't read any that were written by a woman author who had experienced the war first hand.The resolution of Point of No Return is extremely powerful. Gellhorn tells us in the Afterword that the reason she wrote the book was to exorcise what she saw at the concentration camp in Dachau soon after its liberation. When she wrote the book so soon after that event, it must have felt like a raw wound. Seeing a concentration camp after it had ceased operations can never be equivalent to the trauma of a survivor of the camp, but I imagine that it would still leave a mark on someone's soul. She wanted Jacob Levy to be the keeper of that memory.For my complete review see http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/20...

  • Yvonne (It's All About Books)
    2019-02-27 00:12

    Finished reading: December 30th 2016“He had no other life and no other knowledge; he knew that he could not live anywhere now because in his mind, slyly, there was nothing but horror.”*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Open Road Media in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***(view spoiler)[Those who follow my blog are probably already aware of the fact that I enjoy reading historical fiction and have a special interest in stories set during or around WWII. I'm actually quite surprised I hadn't heard about Point Of No Return before, especially since Martha Gellhorn is considered to be one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century. The story was actually first published in 1948, only a few years after the war ended, and has been republished last month. There is no doubt that Point Of No Return is a powerful read and I admire the author for her courage and what she was able to achieve during her life. The plot itself is intriguing and follows an American Jewish soldier during the war up until his 'point of no return'. The story is without doubt well written and well researched, although it did read a bit slow and I personally thought there would be more focus on the concentration camps... There was a little too much focus on the romance to my taste, but that might just have been me. The final part also felt a bit rushed, especially since it's the part I felt would have been most interesting. Still, there is no doubt this is a very solid WWII historical fiction read.Jacob Levy grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a typical American boy. He doesn't give his Jewish heritage or the world affairs much thought, but when the United States joins the war in order to stop Hitler, Jacob joins the cause. As a soldier during the last months of WWII, Jacob lives through the Battle of the Bulge and the discovery of Nazi concentration camps. This experiences have a big impact on his life, and witnessing the liberation of Dachau forces him to confront a level of cruelty beyond his own imaginations...After reading the blurb of Point Of No Return, I honestly thought the discovery of the concentration camps and its impact would have played a bigger role in the story. It was only mentioned near the end and that part actually felt a bit rushed. Rather than developing this angle, Point Of No Return is about the experiences of an US Jewish soldier and how the war has changed him forever in general. Still a solid enough read, but not as good as I was expecting. (hide spoiler)]P.S. Find more of my reviews here.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Donna Davis
    2019-03-02 05:26

    I'd like to give a quick shout-out to Open Road, the publisher that through Net Galley continues to invite me to read and review no matter how many times I publish a one or two star review of one of their titles with a rant as review. Moments like this one, when I can truthfully rave and promote excellent literature, are especially sweet because of it.This exceptionally strong World War II story was a New York Times best seller when it was first published in 1948. Open Road Media has brought it back to us digitally, and I read it free in exchange for this honest review. I thank Open Road and Net Galley for inviting me to do so. Martha Gellhorn was at Dachau a week after its liberation, and her experience frames part of the narrative, the fictional tale of Jacob Levy, US soldier in Europe. This excellent war story is available to the public Tuesday, December 20, 2016. It’s hard to miss the irony: Levy answers the call to duty, but his commanding officer is unhappy to discover that a member of his personal staff, his driver, is Jewish. He’s never had a Jew in his outfit before and doesn’t want one now; still, there’s nothing much he can do about it, so he forges grimly onward.Levy, on the other hand, has heard stories and eventually sees situations in which nearly nobody gets out of a wildly dangerous situation alive except for his boss. He decides—as soldiers sometimes do—that his commander is lucky, and therefore the closer to that officer a man is, the likelier he is to share in that luck. He serves so faithfully and dependably that his commander eventually changes his mind and decides he likes Levy, without Levy ever learning that he’d been unwanted. Our story starts when Levy joins the army in the United States, but quickly shifts to Europe. The most poignant scenes are those in Luxembourg, where the shell-shocked troops are astonished to find a semblance of normal life. There are houses that have people in them, food cooking, and glass in the windows. It is here that Jacob meets Kathe, and although there is no common language spoken between them, they fall in love anyway. For the rest of his part of this war, he will hold dear to the notion of a little home in the Smoky Mountains where he and Kathe can raise a family together.I had sworn off Holocaust stories, telling myself that I already know about it; I no longer have students to whom to impart the information; from now on, I will only read what I want to read. But I appear to have landed on a list of reviewers that read this sort of book, and once I was invited, I decided I could read just one more. And I am so glad that I did.The reader should know that the Holocaust is nothing more than rumor for 80 percent of the book. We aren’t looking at 300 pages of horror. There are battle scenes that are vivid and raw; Jacob participates in the Battle of the Bulge. People die; nobody can write about World War II accurately without imparting the fear, the grief, and the alienation that its participants and witnesses endured. But most of it is about Jacob as a person, what he thinks and feels. In other words, this is more the story of one soldier’s life than it is military history.Technically this story isn’t historical fiction, because it wasn’t written 50 years or more after the events it describes. However, it will impact the reader as if it is, because the World War II was a very long time ago. So I recommend this book to those that love first rate historical fiction; that like to read about the European theater of World War II; or that like a good romance.

  • Aaron Finestone
    2019-02-24 01:30

    In Pete Hamill's novel, Tabloid City, a young newspaper reporter enters the bathroom of his love interest, herself an aspiring journalist turned bartender. The reporter stares "at a framed browning photograph of a blonde woman. Eyes that miss nothing. From the thirties, maybe? Her grandmother, may be?"The reporter returns to his love interest.Reporter: "The woman in the bathroom, who is she?"Love interest: "My hero. Martha Gellhorn. She's in the bathroom so I'll see her every morning. And night."Reporter: "She was married to Hemingway, right?"Love interest: "--Wrong. He was married to Martha Gellhorn. As a journalist, Hemingway wouldn't make a pimple on her . . . ."Open Road Integrated Media has reissued Martha Gellhorn's 1948 novel, Point of No Return. It is the story of a unit of American troops in Luxembourg and Belgium, from the time of the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944) to the surrender of Germany (May 1945). Gellhorn (1908-1998) was a skilled war correspondent. She engages the reader in the mud of the forests, the boredom and the hopes of the troops, the carnage of battle, and finally the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp. Central to the story is the developing relationship between Lieutenant Colonel John Dawson Smithers, product of small town Georgia, and his driver, Jacob Levy, a secular Jew from St. Louis (Gellhorn's hometown). Levy, who looks like a Hollywood star, does not present as Jewish, but everyone knows that he is. As the book proceeds, Levy begins to understand his Jewishness. Meanwhile, Smithers learns to put aside his anti-Semitic attitudes, bond with Levy, and finally sticks up for him when Levy experiences major injuries and even more serious legal difficulties.Gellhorn was a superb journalist. If you want to know what World War II was really about, read this book.

  • Yibbie
    2019-03-01 00:10

    This was recommended to me based on other books I’d read. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet some of the standards I have for books I read. I barely got started with it and was made uncomfortable by some of the subject matter and language. Let’s just say the descriptions of some of the men’s fantasies were rather indelicate. I was pretty sure it was going to get worse and I didn’t want to read any more.Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for the free ARC of this book.

  • Anna
    2019-03-09 04:22

    I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.The book was initially published in 1948 under a different title, republished in 1988 under the title the author wanted, and now the digital version released in 2016.I think some background for the author is important for this book. Specifically, because I think many people who read books like this would question a female author. Martha Gellhorn was one of the first journalists in Normandy on DDay. As she couldn't get press credentials (her ex-husband Hemmingway got it for their magazine) so she hid in the bathroom of a hospital ship. From then until the end of the war she was AWOL from her news agency with risk of deportation back to the US. She traveled as a journalist with different regiments, staying clear of the Americans so she wouldn't get caught. She was in Dachau the week after it was liberated and heard about the ceasefire while there. She wrote this book to try to free herself from the horrors of Dachau. She's a badass and this book deserves an audience.This book has 3 distinct acts. The first 2 are a solid 3 stars and the last act deserves 4.5. The first act involves romance in a town that's been freed by the Americans. It's a bit slow to say the least. It develops characters, but it's been done better. Remarque, Erich Maria's A Time to Love and a Time to Die is a book I'd recommend for that. The battle in the 2nd act is a bit lacking. But the 3rd act which involves Dachau, the reason Gellhorn wrote this book, is fully fleshed out and disturbing. I can see why she wanted it out of her mind. Reading the news and watching interviews, I've seen people say things like "maybe the Nazis had the right idea" or "it wasn't too bad in the long run". Have we learned nothing?There's a unique writing style used here in that different characters will have POVs in one scene, but there won't be any notice given. If you don't pay attention to what you read, you'll get lost. While the characters are distinct in their back story and motivations, they tend to have similar thought processes. It's somewhat offputting. Or perhaps it's an example of like attracting like. What is interesting about the book is while the male characters are sexist within their time, the female characters are more "progressive ". I hesitate to use the word progressive, as they are regressive compared to modern times, but their inner dialogues do have more of a bite than you see in books of this genre from this time period. I do think that is the benefit of having a female author. It's a 4 star book, brought up because of the last act. Not only with how vivid it gets, but asking moral questions and asking you to think.

  • Toni Osborne
    2019-03-14 01:24

    Originally published in 1948, this novel from renowned WW11 correspondent Martha Gellhorn is as absorbing now as it was when it first came out. This tightly drawn, both tender and tough story follows a U.S Army infantry battalion in Europe through the last months of WW11, especially one of its soldiers, Jacob Levy. A young man of Jewish heritage who will confront the horrors of the Holocaust and tells how he had to come to terms with what he experienced. The often graphic scenes focus on a few other individuals and through their eyes we see action and its consequences as they describe what is happening. Through daydreaming often the men fantasied about better days, their sweetheart and life after the war. Their dreams although clean were explicit and rather repetitive. I presume there wasn’t much to do during down time for the boys but fantasize and in this story they did lots of it.One part of this story is the typical war romance with a handsome and naïve protagonist and non-English speaking woman and the other part is a serious Holocaust novel with the horrors of Dachau and the realities of war. The novel includes an afterword where Martha Gellhorn tells us her own experiences as a war correspondent that went to Dachau soon after the Americans discovered its existence. The author wrote this novel with a keen eye for details and an awareness of how war affects everyone caught in its path.Thank you to Open Road Integrated Media and NetGalleys for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  • Craig Strachan
    2019-03-01 06:03

    This book was a well-written personal account of a group of solders in World War 2. I have read many account of World War 2, but this gave an interesting view of what the soldiers on the ground were doing, and what they were thinking. I very much had the feeling that the author was in World War 2, and I was not surprised at the end of the book to find out that the author was a war correspondent, and had even gone AWOL from her press team so that she could report from the front.There are some disturbing moment when one of the characters visits Dachau Concentration Camp just a week after the war was over, and it became even more disturbing when I learned that the author herself visited the same camp just a week after the war was over. Even though the book was published in 1948, it has aged well, and makes for an exciting read.(thanks Netgalley for the review copy)

  • Anneke
    2019-03-11 02:14

    Point of No Return by Martha GelhornBook review for Net GalleyNetGalley Description:A US soldier confronts the horrors of the Holocaust in this New York Times–bestselling novel from acclaimed WWII correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Jacob Levy is a typical American boy. He never gives much thought to world affairs—or to his Jewish heritage. But when the United States joins the Allied effort to stop Hitler, Jacob’s life and sense of identity are on course to change forever. As a soldier in the last months of World War II, Jacob lives through the Battle of the Bulge and the discovery of Nazi concentration camps. Witnessing the liberation of Dachau, he confronts a level of cruelty beyond his own imaginings, and the shock transforms him in ways he never thought possible.One of the first female war correspondents of the twentieth century, Martha Gellhorn visited Dachau a week after its discovery by American soldiers. A New York Times bestseller when it was first published, this powerful novel grapples with the horrors of war and dilemmas of moral responsibility that are just as relevant today.—My review:This book was originally published in 1948. I’m not sure why it was re-published now. To start with, this is a personal area of interest to me, World War II, particularly in the European theatre.What can I say? This is an extraordinary war book. Both in terms of the historical detail of the Americans during 1943-45, in the Battle of the Bulge. In addition, the character detail of the protagonist, Jacob Levy is perfection, as well as the dialogue of the soldiers. Gelhorn captures the soldiers’ lingo common to that time. Also well drawn, is Levy’s commanding officer, Lt. Colonel John Dawson Smithers. I feel ridiculous commending this book, as the writer is one of the premier war correspondents and novelists of the 20th century. Still, highly, highly recommended.

  • Kate Vane
    2019-02-24 23:05

    For a book about war, Point of No Return has an oddly gentle pace. It follows a US infantry battalion in northern Europe in the later stages of World War Two.We see their privations and boredom, the cold, the harsh conditions and their camaraderie, alternating with bursts of battle and brutality. Soldiers are killed then replaced and the cycle begins again.The main characters are Lt Col Smithers and his new driver, Jacob Levy. Smithers has almost mythical status among his men because he has never been wounded. Levy has been injured three times and hopes his proximity to Smithers will afford him some protection. Smithers, though young and from an ordinary background, has risen through his skill but the responsibility weighs on him as he is caught between his troops and the orders handed down from the faceless higher ranks.Both Smithers and Levy dream of home and try to imagine a future after the war. They know that war has changed them, that they won’t be able to fit easily into their old life. Levy gives much of his time to daydreaming and falls in love with a woman in Luxembourg. Even though they lack a common language, he imagines she will share his plans for the future.The end is jarring, deliberately so, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. There is an afterword from Martha Gellhorn where she says she wrote the book entirely for that ending and this somehow undermined my involvement in what I’d read before. Still, it’s an interesting and thought-provoking read and definitely worth a look.*I received a copy of Point of Not Return from the publisher via Netgalley. This review first appeared on my blog https://katevane.com/blog/

  • Mandy
    2019-02-26 04:23

    Originally published in 1948, and one of the best war books I have ever come across, this perceptive and moving novel follows a US Army infantry battalion in Europe in the closing months of the Second World War, through the Battle of the Bulge, the allied advance across Europe and the liberation of the concentration camps, in this case Dachau. It focuses on a few individuals to humanise the story, in particular a young Jewish man from the mid-west, Jacob Levy, through whose eyes we see much of the action and its consequences. Martha Gellhorn was an experienced war correspondent who was in Europe at the time and knew exactly what she was describing. She wasn’t in combat but she talked to those who were and the novel feels totally authentic. Often remembered these days more as one of Hemingway’s wives than as an accomplished author in her own write, I find it astonishing that this novel isn’t better known. It captures the horrors of the conflict in a measured but remarkably effective way, concentrating as it does on the inner lives of the characters. For my money this book beats any of Hemingway’s war books hands down as it comes with none of his macho posturings. Riveting, graphic without being sensationalist, and with a keen eye for the compelling detail, plus an acute awareness of how war in all its manifestations wears on the human spirit, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing piece of war fiction which deserves to be widely read.

  • Susan
    2019-03-01 06:31

    It is astonishing that this book was ever out of print. Gellhorn, who was a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, lets us into the minds of combat soldiers during the alternating terrifying and boring times of war. Her central character, Jacob Levy, is a non-practicing Jew, an ordinary American boy who, at the beginning of the story has already been seriously wounded twice and fears that the third time will be the last. He turns out to be the central character of the novel, which is an impressionistic account of his gradual understanding of himself, of war, and of man's satanic inhumanity. We are also admitted into the minds of other important characters. Gellhorn was fascinated by the ways people can interpret events differently and misunderstand one another profoundly, and yet stumble on in some semblance of connection. She is also fascinated by the ways soldiers dissociate, often through day dreaming and fantasy but also through numbness, fatalism, and professionalism. I had thought of not mentioning that Gellhorn was married to Ernest Hemingway, but I find a contrast between the two writers is useful. Hemingway taught Gellhorn a lot about stripped down, unembellished language, but she brought to the table her interest in the internal lives, including the banal and foolish inner lives, of her characters. She does not mythologize The Male, but rather shares with us the men she knew.

  • Ilana
    2019-02-25 02:20

    I rarely read war novels, maybe because I think that the reality itself is enough raw for not looking further to fictional war stories. However, the recommendation of the author - Martha Gellhorn, a much praised war correspondent - was an encouragement to make an exception. Gellhorn herself was one of the first to report about Dachau, shortly after the discovery of the camp by the US Army, and this experience is shared through the eyes and dramatic challenges encountered the Jacob Levy, an American Jew who for the first time in his life is facing serious questions followed by a radical decision after spending time at the recently liberated Dachau. Simply written and with long static paragraphs describing the smallest details of the fights and set-backs of the fighting, this book is a valuable reference for the WWII literature, for its realism and focus on identity transformation and personal challenges.Disclaimer: Book offered by the published in exchange for an honest review

  • Fiona Mccormick
    2019-03-14 04:20

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity of reading this book as an arc.It tells the story of Jacob Levy, a Jewish American soldier serving in Europe during the second World War. The author is an esteemed war correspondent who had first hand experience of the war in Europe and the book is certainly an authentic account of the time. The book examines the lives of soldiers, red cross workers, and other ordinary civilians caught up in the war. When Jacob discovers the concentration camp Dachau and the horrors within, he reaches his 'point of no return' and exacts his revenge in the only way he can. This is a very authentic and evocative account of the war in Europe in the 1940s and Martha Gellhorn portrays the period extremely well. Personally, I found the book slightly slow in places and found myself more interested in the human stories than the battle scenes.

  • Fiona Mccormick
    2019-03-09 04:06

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity of reading this book as an arc.It tells the story of Jacob Levy, a Jewish American soldier serving in Europe during the second World War. The author is an esteemed war correspondent who had first hand experience of the war in Europe and the book is certainly an authentic account of the time. The book examines the lives of soldiers, red cross workers, and other ordinary civilians caught up in the war. When Jacob discovers the concentration camp Dachau and the horrors within, he reaches his 'point of no return' and exacts his revenge in the only way he can. This is a very authentic and evocative account of the war in Europe in the 1940s and Martha Gellhorn portrays the period extremely well. Personally, I found the book slightly slow in places and found myself more interested in the human stories than the battle scenes.

  • Christina
    2019-03-18 03:11

    Martha Gellhorn has mastered the ability to write in different perspectives as she floats from one character to the other in one scene, bringing the reader with her with every change in thought. At the end of this book, she leaves you with a complex situation involving a Jewish man who has just been given a tour of Dachau a week after WWII ended. It if left to the reader to decide if he is justified.

  • Annette Jordan
    2019-03-12 03:31

    The author's unique perspective as a wartime journalist is evident in this, the story of Jacob Levy , a young American Jewish man who goes to war in Europe. At first the story seems relatively mudane, if well written, but the surprising turn of events in the final third of the book made it much more interesting.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-12 04:21

    The first war novel written by a woman but widely recognized as incredibly realistic. Historians, assuming Gellhorn had written this as part of her journalistic coverage of WWII, even contacted her about details of the specific battles she wrote about before realizing they had been made up.

  • Parker
    2019-03-25 01:21

    That is so much more knowlegde that is not covered in the history books that we have learned in our schools.