Book Review: The Boxer’s Story: Fighting for My Life in the Nazi Camps by Nathan Shapow & Bob Harris

October 1, 2013

About:
The Boxer’s Story: Fighting for My Life in the Nazi Camps is a memoir of Nathan Shapow as told to Bob Harris. Bob Harris is a sports writer and sports editor, Nathan Shapow is a retired patienter living in LA, California.

  • 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Robson Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849541906

Book Review The Boxers Story Fighting for My Life in the Nazi Camps by Nathan Shapow as told to Bob Harris

My rating for The Boxer’s Story – 5

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Thoughts:
The Boxer’s Story: Fighting for My Life in the Nazi Camps by Nathan Shapow and Bob Harris is a powerful, easy to read book which tells of Mr. Shapow’s time as a slave/prisoner of Nazi Germany in Latvia. Mr. Shapow, an amateur boxer and avid sportsman, survived the war due to his strength, agility, wits and a sheer amount of pure luck.

Mr. Shapow survived several labor camps and even Rikenau. How did he ever survived the Nazi killing machine, especially due to his habit of stealing food (a crime punished by execution, even if it’s moldy bread) is a testament to the human spirit.

When I got the book I thought it would be about inmates boxing in concentration camps for the enjoyment of their Nazi captures and avoiding death by pummeling each other. While there are several boxing matches in the book, Shapow uses his fists, skills as a fighter and friends he made in the gym to survive the war.

After surviving the war, Shapow went to Palestine (instead of going from being under “Hitler’s boot to Stalin’s heel”) and fought in Israel’s War of Independence and was reunited with his father who left a decade before.

I certainly see the benefit of being able to fight, I actually insisted that my kids will learn some sort of martial art (I always wished I did). Whether we like it or not, there is a benefit to knowing how to throw a well placed punch or kick and be able to free yourself from a villain.
Also, people who know how to fight, usually don’t get into brawls.

Shapow is honest in the book, he talks about mistakes he made, things he regret, the sadness and guilt of watching friends being murdered without the ability to help and other difficult stories.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*

More Rec­om­mended World War II books on Man of la BookStore

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

 

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5 Comments

  • Ashley October 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Always love your book recommendations. I’m putting this one on my list too. I did finish Rocking the Wall by Eric Kirschbaum (can’t remember if I came back to tell you that or not). I enjoyed it.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book October 2, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Thanks for the compliment Ashley. You did stop by to tell me you liked Rocking the Wall, I’m happy I could help.

  • Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) October 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I’m reading two World War II books right now. Rose Under Fire is fiction, about female pilots. Brave Genius is supposed to be about Albert Camus and a contemporary who is a scientist, but mostly it’s been about WWII from a French perspective — I’m much more familiar with the American and British roles, so I’ve found it interesting.

  • Helen Maryles Shankman October 8, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    This sounds unique and interesting–another facet of the Jewish experience in World War 2. Great review, Zohar. Putting it on my TBR list.

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