Review: Life Behind the Wall by Robert Elmer

July 3, 2014

Title: Life Behind the Wall: Candy Bombers, Hidden Bunkers, & Smugglers Treasure 
Author: Robert Elmer
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Pages: 516
ISBN: 978-0-310-74265-4
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014

Cut off by the Iron Curtain This epic tale extends across generations and unfolds against the backdrop of a dangerous Cold War Berlin. This historically accurate, action-packed, three-books-in-one edition features three generations of resourceful teens living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall.

Titles include:

Candy Bombers: In spring 1948, teenage cousins Erich and Katarina are simply trying to survive in war-ravaged Berlin when the Soviets blockade the east side of the city, isolating its citizens---and starving them---behind the Iron Curtain.

 Beetle Bunker: In August 1961, Sabine discovers a forgotten underground bunker. Though she first uses it to escape her crowded home, she soon realizes her hideout could possibly take her family under the wall to West Berlin and freedom!

Smuggler's Treasure: In spring 1989, life is good in West Germany, and even the Cold War seems to be thawing in the warmer weather. But as Liesl works on a class project about the history of the wall, she stumbles onto a startling secret no one will talk about.
I love historical books. They can be for adults or kids, it doesn't matter. If the story has a historical backing, it has my full attention. Now, if the book is set during a unique period on history, it is moved ahead in my TBR.

I've really gotten in to WW2 era stories lately and I've noticed (or haven't noticed) many books about the time after the war, the rebuilding, especially for Germany. Life Behind the Wall, the 3-in-1 book offered a unique glimpse into the lives of  the German people after WW2 had ended and the rebuild had begun. What a depressing and dark time that was.

I will honestly tell you, I didn't know much into how the Wall came about, just that it happened sometime after WW2 and it had to do with the Cold War. Now, I'm going to giveaway my age and tell you I do remember when the wall fell. I remember Ronald Regan and his speech telling Gorbachev to tear down this wall.

Life Behind the Wall brings you into this world that doesn't seem real in away, but it is. Being a child who survived the all out upheaval of Berlin at the end of the war, then to live in a battlefield of the cold war with the Russians. What a hard time! And Robert Elmer offers such a wonderful glimpse into this time and makes it into an adventure and easy for kids to understand.

I won't go into too much detail, so not to give anything away and spoil bits of the story, but following this family of cousins, siblings, and children was an interesting journey. Each hero in the story is thirteen, the perfect age for adventure and to see and experience what is going on around them.

In Candy Bombers, the war is over and America is trying to help the German people get coal and food into the country, all while the Russians are watching their every move and keeping tabs of the German people with their watch dogs of the community. Erich and Katarina, accidentally end up in an American bomber, that is now used for food deliveries and upon their discovery start something to help give hope to the kids and adults of Germany with their Candy Drops.

In Beetle Bunker, we follow Sabine, a thirteen year old girl, who is related to Erich. We find out how Erich is doing, but our journey is now following a new generation of life behind the wall. We also see the affects of illness behind the wall and the tight grip the Russians put on the people of Berlin when the Wall starts to go up.

Finally in Smuggler's Treasure, our hero is Liesi, Sabine's thirteen year old daughter. The wall is fully in place, but by this time, the push to tear it down is at it's strongest. The Cold War is ending, but the adventures are still there for Liesi to discover.

This was such an interesting way to present a part of history and it worked so well. The characters were real. No one was perfect, but this family cared for each other wanted to help each other out. There is a strong theme for compassion and faith in these stories and the history woven through was great.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Robert Elmer is a former reporter and ad copywriter who writes from his home in the Pacific Northwest. He is the author of over fifty books, including nine contemporary novels for the adult Christian audience, two nonfiction titles, and seven series for younger readers. He's also a contributor to kids' versions of the popular "Case for..." books co-authored with Lee Strobel. Among kids, he is best known for his "Young Underground" and "Adventures Down Under" books. When he's not at the keyboard, he enjoys sailing and hiking with his wife, and spending time with their three kids--plus a growing number of little grandchildren. Be sure to visit his web page at

Thank you to Booklook Bloggers, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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