Book Reviews

Book of the Month: The Lost Artist (Part 1)

Every month, I will do my best to read and review one book (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.) from an up-and-coming author. These authors are often times my friends and fellow bloggers. They “gift” me their books and in return I offer up 100% honest and genuine reviews. If you would like for me to feature your book, please see my original post on the matter here: Now Offering: Book Reviews.

Book of November: The Lost Artist Part 1

Author: Eric Houston

 

Brief Summary

“You may not know this, but your father is very famous in Israel.” When Eric Houston read these words in an e-mail from a stranger, his life was forever altered. After a fifty-year search for the illustrator of the bestselling Israeli children’s book, And There Was Evening, a researcher at IBM Israel had discovered that the artist was Eric’s father, Fred Hausman. Eric knew that his father had been the highest decorated WWII Palestinian soldier in the British Army, but was unaware that he was also a celebrated artist.” (excerpt from publisher)

The story of Fritz “Fred” Hausman, written after his death by his son Eric Houston, is a thrilling story filled with enough facts to satisfy a historian and enough intrigue to appeal to the laziest of readers. The story is split into two narrative perspectives, one follows the past life of Fritz “Fred” Hausman, a German-born Jew, who leaves his home for Palestine as a boy and later fights against Nazi-tyranny as a man. The other perspective follows the present life of Elinat, a woman with reoccurring cancer, who is desperate to find the artist behind her favorite children’s story. Perhaps if she is able to find him, she will be able to find meaning in her own life.

The last third of this book is a collection of actual, factual email correspondence between Eric Houston and others (including Angela Entwistle, a representative for Lord Ashcroft, a detective, and more) as he attempts to reclaim his father’s stolen medals. Fritz “Fred” Hausman received the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM),  Israel’s most important WWII medal, for services rendered in the war. However, before his son (Eric) could collect these medals on Fritz’s behalf, they were stolen and, through a series of auctions, ended up in Lord Ashcroft’s possession who refuses to return them to this day.

The entire purpose of this book is to bring light to the heroic deeds of one man who saved hundreds and the travesty of his stolen medals. As such, in Eric’s own words, “All proceeds from “The Lost Artist” will go to returning medals stolen from within the British Ministry of Defense to their rightful owners.”

Review & Star Rating

 

The Lost Artist receives 5-stars due to its dedication to reality while successfully weaving an exciting narrative. Facts are never exchanged for fiction for the sake of plot. Rather, sub stories intertwine with major plot points naturally, as they occurred in history. I might have actually learned more about that time period from reading Eric Houston’s book than I ever did from any of my history classes combined. Secondly, the love and admiration that Eric has for his father is evident throughout the narrator’s tone in his depiction of Fritz “Fred” Hausman.

The minor plot line concerning the modern-day Elinat was interesting, although I would admit that I was a tad bit disappointed where the book ended. Indeed, this book was nearly rated at 3 stars due to a disappointing ending. However, in realizing that this is only Part 1 and that Eric Houston is working on a Part 2, the cliff hanger seems more natural. I will warn future readers though, do not expect to have all of your questions answered. I believe we will be waiting on answers for as long as Eric is waiting for justice for his father’s medals.

Recommendations

I highly recommend this book to any historian or lover of the WWII time period. This is an exciting adventure with a fresh outlook on a well-discussed world event with new insights. I highly recommend this book to even those without historical or WWII leanings. While you may have to skim over a few paragraphs brimming with historical facts and data, I do believe you will find that the rest of the narrative is highly entertaining and captivating.

I am eagerly awaiting Part 2 where hopefully all of my questions will be answered and Fritz “Fred” Hausman will receive the recognition that he deserves.

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