The Lost Tribe
by Matthew Caldwell
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: May 27, 2015
Paperback: 348 pages
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Book Summary (Goodreads):
1939. Harry Pike struggles with the rest of the country through the latter stages of the Great Depression. As a sportswriter, he watches as his jobs keep disappearing. As a Jewish zamler, or luck pusher, he feels the need to help his friend Abner, who is lost in the minor leagues in his quest to play baseball.
But when German forces challenge America to a baseball series, another need arises—Harry knows he must mend the broken zamler trails to get the European Jews to safety before the war machine crushes them all.
The Lost Tribe by Matthew Caldwell is a captivating tale that grabs you from the very first page. Prior to the start of World War 2, Jewish sympathizers are being rounded up and taken to concentration camps. On one such night a twelve year old boy named Johann is given a set of instructions from his father that will take him to America. Johann, a German with a great fondness for baseball, is sent on a path that will lead him to Harry Pike with a message from his father. The European Jews, including their zamlers, are in trouble and they need help. When Johann finds Harry, he is in the process of gathering a team to Germany to play a baseball game against the Germans. Harry, a zamler himself, puts together a team that has different ethnicities and even a female baseball player. Prior to getting this team together, Harry had spent a great deal of time searching for his friend Abner, a Jewish baseball player that has gone off the radar. Once Abner receives word of this baseball team he arrives to help Harry, and together they take the team to Germany to play an epic baseball game of their lives. Harry goes as their sponsor, but goes on a secret and dangerous mission himself to mend the broken zamler trails to save the European Jews.
One thing I absolutely loved about this book is how much history it holds. I had no idea about the happenings of baseball at this time. I didn’t even realize that there were Jews playing on baseball teams or how hard the Great Depression really impacted everyone and how if a Jew worked on one of their spiritual or holy days in order to support their family that it was looked down upon by others from their community. Another thing that surprised me with this book is the fact that I’m not actually a fan of baseball, but I really enjoyed this story regardless. It’s such a heart warming story that takes place in such a dark, dark time.
The zamlers was something new and interesting to me and of course I had to go research it. These zamlers really are a part of the Jewish Community and from what I can tell from what I’ve researched is that they are collectors of scattered things. I loved how it’s used in this book, and I loved the slight element of supernatural the author uses with the term zamler. In this story, a zamler is a luck pusher. And they seem to have a good or bad feelings about different things. Like they go with their gut, their intuition. When I first started reading the book the slight insert of supernatural kind of caught me off guard because I wasn’t expecting it at all. But I think it was a nice blend of history, baseball, and that ever so slight insert of supernatural abilities that really made this story interesting and exciting to read. There’s so much detail, so much character development, and overall just an amazing story.
My favorite character in this story is definitely Harry Pike. He is such an honorable and noble character. And when he gets the message from the boy he doesn’t even bat an eyelash about it. He simply moves into action and begins planning a way to help the European Jews. He is such an amazing character. I also really liked the boy Johann. His escape from Germany was so incredible and intensely written. I couldn’t even put the book down until I knew he made it safely to his destination. I really enjoyed Abner as well and my heart really ached for him. For part of the book Harry is searching for Abner, a baseball player that pretty much goes MIA. Abner is a character that would do anything to support his family to ensure they have food on the table, that feels like the only thing he is good at is baseball, and is basically shunned by his people because of a decision he makes to ensure his family gets fed, causing him to go under the radar.
The story itself is magical. It’s purely inspiring. It’s heart felt and deeply moving. The characters all stand their own, and each of them are enchanting. It’s an incredible story that takes place in such a depressing time of our world, and yet there’s so much hope that exists on the pages of this story and even though our characters are stacked against all odds, it shows us what people are willing to do in order to save humanity.
If you enjoy history, baseball, a unique tale, great characters, a little supernatural, and a story that makes your heart warm and weep then this story is definitely for you! I highly recommend reading it!
Giveaway Details: Since I loved this book so much The Page Unbound is hosting a giveaway for one ebook copy of The Lost Tribe. Opened International.