Skeletons at the Feast - Chris Bohjalian Skeletons at the Feast is Chris Bohjalian's book about the ending of WWII. Like most books about the war, it is a story about human brutalities, but also about the ability to survive those brutalities and find love. Unlike most books about WWII, at least those in English, it does not center only on The Third Reich's inhumanity, but on both the brutalities and the resilience of all sides in the conflict. Bohjalian highlights not only the plight of the Jewish people, but the naiveté of a large segment of German society that could not believe the horrible things that were being said about Hitler and his minions. He even points out how a lot of Hitler's popularity stemmed from the economic improvements that he was able to institute in the beginning to bring German society back to where it was before WWI.

I especially liked the way that the author used the different characters to illustrate the many complex sides of the conflict. There was Mutti - the naive German aristocrat who, at first, only sees how much the Third Reich has improved Germany, but slowly comes to realize the brutalities that it espouses. Anna, her daughter, who justs wants life to be like it was. Uri - an Jew who escaped from the train carrying him to a death camp, and becomes a one man resistance force, Cecile - the French Jewess who is consigned to a work camp, Callum, the Scottish POW who espouses the Allied disdain for the German atrocities, and a host of others that are all interesting and each represent a bit of the puzzle.

One caveat about the book, though, is that the author often describes the brutality and atrocities that the characters encounter in graphic detail. Normally that will turn me off to a book, as it did in Water for Elephants, even though it is appropriate to the story, but in this case, it just seemed appropriate. There were a few times, though, where I had to skim over the text. I would caution anyone who has a low tolerance for graphically violent descriptions.

This is the third book by Bohjalian that I have read, and he is such a good storyteller, I have come to expect a lot from his books. This book definitely did not disappointed me. The story was enthralling, the characters were complex and intriguing, and the detail was appropriate. It is the best WWII book I have read (not that I have read many) I am torn between giving it 4 or 4.5 stars.