4.22 (1,828 ratings by Goodreads)
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A compelling and chilling read about a young boy's ambition to become a model soldier in Nazi Germany.

Baby Max is the perfect prototype of the Nazi eugenics programme; he is the ideal size, he has the correct colour hair and flawless blue eyes. Raised in an ideology driven by hatred and ruled by fear, Max is taught to endure pain and be brave at all costs. But as he is drawn further into the horror of war, Max must fight to untangle the truth from the lie.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 24mm | 277g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1406368253
  • 9781406368253
  • 239,265

Review quote

The narrator here is already a committed Nazi in the womb; as a foetus, Max clings on so that he can be born on the Fuhrer's birthday. As he relates his life up to the age of nine, he sheds light on the appalling system of Lebensborn, where Aryan women were encouraged to breed with SS soldiers. But that's not all - the children of conquered countries, if they're racially pure enough, are forcibly removed from their parents and sent to brutal academies to be 'Germanised'. For Max, his only hope of redemption is a growing friendship with seemingly Aryan, but actually Jewish, Lukas. Although he despises Max, Lukas sees him primarily as a victim of indoctrination and abuse. Amnesty International endorses this book, and it's not hard to see why. * Financial Times * [A] chilling study of misinformation and exploitation of children gives the foetus that becomes Konrad von Kebnersol, reared to be a pillar of the Third Reich, an adult sensibility to chart his indoctrination. Konrad absorbs the rationale for his creation and his role in the future with his Aryan wet-nurse's milk, but the knowledge that his name is really Max predates his birth and enables him to seize on alternative influences. * The Observer * 'enlightening on a neglected aspect of Nazi atrocities' * School Library Association * Max was possibly won of the most interesting books I've ever read. It was a great insight into a topic that has had countless books written about it, and yet it still managed to be fresh, new and original. [...] I think it's an amazing book and I would definitely recommend it [...] Heart-wrenching, devastating and groundbreaking - it's impossible not to fall in love with this book. * Times Literary Supplement, Classroom review * "I really liked the theme of this book [...] I would score this book 8 and a half out of 10 and would recommend it to people who like books about World War Two that are a bit different [...]" * Teen Titles, reader review * This powerful novel is a fascinating insight into one of the most extreme and brutal aspects of the Nazi eugenics programme; despite Max's flaws, you come to empathise with him as an abused and exploited child, who learns how to separate lies from truth against the odds. * *
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About Sarah Cohen-Scali

Sarah Cohen-Scali is a French writer, born in Morocco. She has published a number of books for both young adults and adults. Max, first published in France by Gallimard, has won the Prix des Devoreurs de Livres 2014, the Prix Passages 2014, the Prix Tatoulu Noir 2014, the Prix Sorcieres 2013 and the Prix Jeunesse des Libraires du Quebec, 2013.
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Rating details

1,828 ratings
4.22 out of 5 stars
5 46% (835)
4 38% (686)
3 12% (218)
2 3% (54)
1 2% (35)
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