Educational Goal To introduce the students to the concept of scarcity within the Continental Army. Behavioral Objectives Students will: Solve a scarcity based problem as a small group. Discuss how problems such as these would affect individual soldiers and the Army as a whole. Time min. You were grounded from all electronics for 2 days and had free time? Divide class into groups of students to represent mess groups, and have them move to separate areas of the room.
Groups will have 15 minutes to prepare a solution to their problem. Closure Mess groups share their solutions to the activity. Discuss with group any frustration they might have had with the activity and situation. Also discuss any consequences that could come of the choices that each group made. Discussion questions: Think back to the things that the Army promised you before you enlisted.
What were they? During this activity, did you get everything you were promised? The book reminded me a bit of Doctor Zhivago in that way - we know from the dates that enormously consequential events are playing out in a global arena, but his narrow focus on the characters and their day-to-day business of survival and spycraft has the effect of humanizing those historical events.
He is not interested in the Prime Ministers and Presidents, rather his focus is on the small individuals and how their actions fit into the large story. His ability to evoke a historical scene is also truly remarkable. He has an eye for the detail that makes history come alive. Night Soldiers is the perfect name for the book, because so much of the action happens during the dark hours, and the pictures in my mind are all black and white and barely lit.
There are a total of 14 books in this series at this point. Each book appears to be a standalone, and I'm pretty sure that Furst is done with Khristo. While nominally categorized as espionage, my sense of the series feels bigger than that, as though perhaps I have discovered a modern version of Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart, focused on a hyper-realistic exploration of what it was like to live and work as a spy during WWII.
So far, the summer of spies has been epically successful, generating, at this point, two separate ongoing reading projects: Graham Greene and the Night Soldiers series. Can't ask for more than that! View all 3 comments. Jul 17, Ed [Redacted] rated it it was amazing Shelves: , spy-vs-spy , own. Brilliant WW2 era spy novel. Furst's characters are full and realistic, his dialog is crisp and believable, the plotting intricate and logical. Stoianev falls victim to one of Stalin's irrational purges during Stoianev's operations in the Spanish Civil War. He escapes to France, closely pursued by his Brilliant WW2 era spy novel.
I recommend this book to anyone even tangentially interested in spy fiction, the second world war or the inner workings of Soviet espionage organizations. This book is underpinned by amazingly detailed research from which everybody can learn something.
The awful European events of the nid-thirties to the mid-forties form a strong background for the main story. The geography across which the hero's life meanders is meticulously described, especially the Danube. He is sent to help the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, but soon fin This book is underpinned by amazingly detailed research from which everybody can learn something. He is sent to help the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, but soon finds himself in danger of becoming a victim of one of Stalin's purges, and flees to France. There are so many characters and locations in this book that it becomes very complex and difficult to follow.
In my opinion, the story could have benefitted from being split into a trilogy of self-contained, but connected, stories. Although there were many gripping action-packed periods, and lots of intrigue and deception, I found myself trudging wearily through much of this book. It is very difficult to put my finger on what made Night Soldiers so laborious, as there is so much in it which should keep my interest, but that is just the way that the book took me.
I am happy to have read Night Soldiers, but it has served to promote other books up my to-read list ahead of my next Alan Furst. Jun 17, Darwin8u rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm glad I decided to crack this spy nut. While there are segments here and there I didn't think were fantastic, on the whole, the entire novel was worth the time and the effort. Spy fiction doesn't get much better than this. Jul 01, Lewis Weinstein rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction-historical.
Have read all of Furst's novels. WWII from many different perspctives, all new to most readers. As a fan of John Le Carre, I have become increasingly skeptical in the face of constant comparisons made by the publishing industry between that author and anyone who writes a decent spy thriller.
Le Carre is a commander of the English language; a master of subtlety and deft plotting who has an uncommon ability to imbue his characters with depth and a heroic realism. To my mind, the only author working today who can be truly compared to Le Carre is Alan Furst. Both men are heirs to Graham Greene, As a fan of John Le Carre, I have become increasingly skeptical in the face of constant comparisons made by the publishing industry between that author and anyone who writes a decent spy thriller.
Both men are heirs to Graham Greene, but where Le Carre's works often delve deeply into the emotions and alienation of so many of his characters, Furst dials that back somewhat - but only somewhat - in favor of absolutely rigorous historical verisimilitude. Night Soldiers is not Alan Furst's first book - he had a modest career spanning a number of novels before this work - but it is the premiere of Furst as a truly towering author in the espionage thriller genre. It follows Khristo Stoianev, a young Bulgarian who witnesses the murder of his brother at the hands of the local fascist militia in his pre-World War II homeland.
Subsequently recruited by a Soviet agent, he is sent to Moscow to learn spycraft, but is soon disillusioned by the politics and ruthless purges of Stalin's Russia. What follows are a series of episodes that trace Stoianev's escape from Spain during the tumult of that country's civil war, his attempt at a normal life in Paris, his work with the French Resistance during the second world war, and a mad dash to save a friend in the final, bloody days of that conflict. Through these extended vignettes, we watch Khristo grow and change and struggle and adapt, all the while treated as readers to some of the very best writing in the business.
As highly as I recommend Night Soldiers, however, be warned that, like Le Carre and like Greene, the author is not shy about providing action, but it is never the central element of the story.
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Likewise, the reader must be patient in watching the plot unfold and either familiar with a certain amount of historical fact, or open to becoming so. For those who are, Night Soldiers is intensely rewarding. A young man Nikko Stoiamev is murdered by the local fascists after he made fun of the leader during their march through the village. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is an indirect victim either he takes revenge of he will be killed in expectation of the revenge.
A man visits his village and convinces him to go away and be safe for himself and his family. And thus the first step is taken in recruiting him into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service. We learn about the pra Bulgaria, We learn about the practices that regular during the training and we find Khristo meeting similar minded people that will play a part in his further life. After his training he is sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Here he reinvents himself and has a new name and lives a non-spy life in this metropolis until his past catches up with him and once again he is in trouble.
The last chapter is WWII where he once again is shown how his former paymasters plan to take over the world. It is an interesting book with an interesting idea, taking the perspective from an Eastern European to show the how the Russians were already planning for Europe under Russian and Communist rule. The book however left me somewhat unsatisfied as the story lacks the epic side that has been mentioned a few times, it is a too sporadic collection of tales interrupted by the unnecessary involvement of the OSS, if only the writer had focused on Khristo.
This particular chapter does completely fall out of pace with the rest of novel. The pages could have been used to tell more story about this Bulgarian boy that was changed into a spy for the greater glory of the USSR. A decent book with an interesting perspective that feels shortchanged somehow because the story feels like it lacked a bit more story.
I have a few more books by this writer from this series I do hope they are more cohesive.
Dec 30, Manray9 rated it liked it Shelves: spy-thriller-fiction. As many reviewers have stated here and in the press , Furst is a master at depicting Eastern Europe in the interwar years. His strength is atmosphere. He paints a picture in words of the precariousness of life. You can SEE the characters, the cafes, and the seedy hotels.
Furst's plots, however, are weaker -- with twists more than slightly unbelievable Stoianev just "happens" to see the Brotherhood Front symbol painted on the half-sunken barge in the Danube. His cavalier approach to historical facts hurts his work too -- either he researches poorly or underestimates his readers.
One can't be both Marxist and anarchist. He also speaks of Stoianev's girlfriend frequenting a cafe in Paris because Picasso and Modigliani are seen there. Modigliani died in She must have hoped to meet his ghost. Unfortunately, there are too many such lapses. Don't let me sound too strident. Furst's novels -- starting with Night Soldiers -- are good reading. I've read them all.
They're solid Three Star material! This story spans in Europe and centers on Khristo, a young Bulgarian, is recruited into the Soviet intelligence service after his younger brother is killed by fascists. Khristo is sent to Spain which is in the throes of the Spanish Civil War. Khristo is a chameleon. He is anti-fascist but not really a communist.
He speaks several languages and manages to survive because no matter who he encounters and interacts with, he is not seen as a threat. It made me aware that war was raging in Eur This story spans in Europe and centers on Khristo, a young Bulgarian, is recruited into the Soviet intelligence service after his younger brother is killed by fascists. It made me aware that war was raging in Europe before World War II and the fight against fascism which started in Spain during the civil war spread across the continent as the threat was recognized.
The audiobook was over 18 hours and I was not able to keep track of the many characters, places and events. This is a book for people who love reading about this era. Although it was a decent "read" listen , it is not a genre I often turn to. Sep 04, Kurt rated it liked it. My first Furst. Not exactly what I expected -- and that served me well at times.
If you'd like to know more than a bit about the geography and wartime climate of southeastern Europe during WWII, I think that Alan Furst might be your guy. The complexities of who was siding with whom and why are well explained to nit-wits like me. For example, I never knew much about the Spanish Civil War -- what factors caused it, who was fighting in it, and when it occurred. Now I'm all straight. I don't think I'll rip into another Furst novel, though.
There's a guy I liked a lot who writes in a similar vein. Robert Wilson. His novel "A Death in Lisbon" was terrific and had more interesting plot lines for my taste. Mar 03, Lee rated it really liked it Shelves: spies , historical-fiction , war , reads. Alan Furst is an elegant writer. Despite jumping around Europe and flashing back and forth between several characters, the narrative never lost my interest. I believe Night Soldiers is one of the first in a series of many, excellent espionage books, written by Alan Furst , set leading up to and during the second world war.
The feeling of authenticity and historical detail is fantastic. I have read a few of the later books and am now starting back at the beginning to read them in order. My first foray into reading this author but it won't be the last. Initially took me a while to get into but that is the only complaint that I have. Plenty of wonderful reviews already but I loved the scope of the novel, the time period depicted, the mood and the setting.
Lots to savor and take your time with here. Oct 16, Joe Stamber rated it it was ok Shelves: read , audio-read , abandoned. With an interesting plot and good reviews I had high hopes for Night Soldiers, but had to abandon it after persevering to almost half way. I can understand why people like it, but it dragged for me and listening to it became a chore. I've given it 2 stars rather than 1 as it was very well written and more a case of me not liking Furst's style than it being a bad book.
Oct 13, Ioana rated it it was amazing Shelves: adventure , communism , espionage , american-lit , fiction , historical-fiction , wwii. Calling this book a "spy novel" is doing it a grave injustice, and it also leads to readers who expect certain elements simply not present in this work and hence, to lowered reviews.
Night Soldiers is not a "thriller" or a "mystery", and does not subscribe to the beloved elements of the these genres: a strong, well-executed plot, a fearless protagonist who succeeds against all odds, and so on. Rather, this is a nuanced historical account of life albeit, for NKVD recruits - hence the "spy" lab Calling this book a "spy novel" is doing it a grave injustice, and it also leads to readers who expect certain elements simply not present in this work and hence, to lowered reviews. There are many reviews here complaining about the lack of "plot" - it's true, this novel is not about a master-espionage mission, but this is exactly what makes it a work of historical fiction a well-written and copiously researched one at that , and not a typical "thriller".
If you are interested in what life during WWII in Europe may have been like for scores of ordinary people, then this is definitely the book for you; if you are in the mood for an exciting plot complete with car chases, encoded secret messages, and the like, look elsewhere.
Oct 15, Bill rated it liked it Shelves: war , spy , fiction-historical. This is the second of Alan Furst's Night Soldiers series that I've read; the first being Spies of the Balkans , which really grabbed my attention. I enjoy how Furst develops characters and portrays Europe in the pre-war and during the actual This is the second of Alan Furst's Night Soldiers series that I've read; the first being Spies of the Balkans , which really grabbed my attention.
I enjoy how Furst develops characters and portrays Europe in the pre-war and during the actual war. His characters wander through momentous times and in the small way, as they deal with the events around them provide heroic actions. The feel of the time really comes through, from the desperation, the way people manage to live on. I also enjoy the aspects of the story dealing with spying, the training of the NKVD, the OSS, the actual activities, passing of messages, communication, etc.
All around a fascinating book. Sep 03, Michael rated it it was amazing. And thus begins my love affair with the novels of Alan Furst. My beloved Charles McCarry also weighed in and I was hooked. And boy, were they right. While I prefer the earlier, longer novels like this one, eve And thus begins my love affair with the novels of Alan Furst.
While I prefer the earlier, longer novels like this one, every one is a gift to the reader. His theme is not spies so much but how fairly ordinary people trapped in extraordinary circumstances did their little bit. Great writing, of course, but also so many interesting things about the history, strategy, diplomacy, leaders, etc.
Dark Star, which follows this in order of publication, may be his masterpiece, but I'd start here.
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Jan 10, AC rated it liked it Shelves: noir , fascist-in-fiction. Slow start and sappy ending. Too long for the genre. Otherwise pretty good, if you like A. This is my second of the Night Soldiers series, which I did not even realize was a series when I read This is the first.
I do not think there is any reason to read these in order. Each book focuses on spies, but if the two I've read are any indication, take place in different settings with different characters. This on was twice as long as 10 and had a number of important characters who occasionally crossed paths. I do not recollect 10 being so complex. The primary main character is Khris This is my second of the Night Soldiers series, which I did not even realize was a series when I read The primary main character is Khristo.
He is Bulgarian. We meet him at the beginning of the book when he and his brother watch a troop of Bulgarian fascists marching down the street. A rather hilarious incident occurs that has bystanders trying to muffle laughter. Things get out of hand and Khristo's brother is executed and Khristo is made to watch. Soon a Russian infiltrator, a communist, convinces Khristo he must leave the country and Khristo finds himself in Russia. It is Khristo finds suddenly finds himself in the Russian intelligence service, fearing he will never be able to get out.
First he finds himself in Spain in the middle of the Spanish Civil War, wondering why he was made to learn English and French and then sent to Spain. There is a regime change in Russia, as Stalin takes over. Khristo's spy partner and leader - Sascha - is caught up in this. Sascha, knowing he had been recalled, gives Khristo some tips. We see Sascha again much, much later. Khristo knows what he has to do to keep avoid the same fate as Sacsha and while disliking it, manages to survive to his first two encounters over accusations of his betrayal of Russia.
Telling more of Khristo's fate would be to revealing but know that it is full of tension and maneuvering. Sometimes the book moves from action to narrative about what is going on in various places in the world at this time There is a Russian troop commander who periodically shows up and allows to characters to show their "character. This book was good. It might have been a bit better if streamlined a bit but I might not have had that reaction if I'd read in print, as sometimes in the audio I wanted to flip back the pages to remind me about a character who hadn't seemed too important when first met but then turns up again and then again.
I will be looking for more of this series. May 29, Elizabeth Alaska rated it it was amazing Shelves: night-soldiers , 5-star-reads. In Bulgaria, in , on a muddy street in the river town of Vidin, Khristo Stoianev saw his brother kicked to death by fascist militia. Can the action of this opening sentence be the foundation for excellent character development? A resounding yes. What better way to describe the motivation for a young man to want to fight for the NKVD, Stalin's secret police? Yes, there is some violence in this book, but not so much that you feel bloodied yourself.
The novel is well-written combining character In Bulgaria, in , on a muddy street in the river town of Vidin, Khristo Stoianev saw his brother kicked to death by fascist militia.
Midnight in Europe
The novel is well-written combining characterization and plot. As with most spy novels, one must pay attention because not everything is as it seems. Furst reminds us with: But nothing here was what it seemed. Even the gray stone of the buildings hid within itself a score of secret tints, to be revealed only by one momentary strand of light. At first, the tide of secrecy that rippled through the streets had made him tense and watchful, but in time he realized that in a city of clandestine passions, everyone was a spy.
Fleeting or eternally renewed, tender or cruel, a single sip or an endless bacchanal, they were the true life and business of a place where money was never enough and power always drained away. And, since the first days of his time there, he had had his own secrets. Not just those who gave their lives, but, as importantly, by those who lived through it day by day, both civilians and those who served their governments in covert activities. The mute agony of these places - themselves lost in the silence of the endless, frozen land - would finish him if he permitted himself to feel it, so he had, by self-direction, grown numb, and now felt nothing about anything.
There was no other defense. I have awarded this 5 stars and I might be feeling generous today. I've already ordered the next in the collection, Dark Star , I might as well give it the benefit of the doubt.
Alan Furst has written fourteen books set in Europe in the s and s. They form the "Night Soldiers" series and they are loosely inter-connected but all are also standalone novels in their own right. This is the first book in the series and it differs from the most recent books in both length and scope. It's a sprawling novel that starts in and doesn't end until While centered on one character, it encompasses a host of others, many of whom only have small walk on parts but a few of which will appear repeatedly over the years. It's a book that you immerse yourself in. The main character is Khristo Stoianev, a Bulgarian who in is recruited by the Russians to train as a spy.
This takes him to Moscow where he forms tight and enduring bonds with some of his classmates. Once training is complete, Khristo is sent to Spain to support the Republican efforts in the Civil War. Around him, he sees the effects of Stalin's purges as others are called back to Russia and not heard from again. Eventually he receives a warning that he will be next and opts to escape to France, where for a time he lives under the radar as a waiter at the Brasserie Heininger.
However his entanglements with the Russians are not over. One of the distinctive features of Furst's writing is the way that he introduces so many characters, gives them full back stories and then writes them out again. He's a bit like a drunk at the bar who can't stick to the narrative.
I've read several reviews from people who find this irritating and if you do, then he's probably not the writer for you. Personally, I love this feature of his writing.