Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' WarDefying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War by Artemis Joukowsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joukowsky’s account of Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp’s activities during WWII almost feels like a novel about top secret agents, except their stories are not fiction and they were never spies. Joukowsky, author and grandchild of the Sharps, set out to honor them, their courage, and their triumphs with archival research, interviews, and unpublished family papers, demonstrating that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. The young American couple accepted their first mission from the American Unitarian Association in 1939. They left their children behind and traveled to Czechoslovakia to assist with refugees fleeing Europe. As acting church associates, without ties to or training from American intelligence, they had to use their own ingenuity and resourcefulness to deliver contraband food supplies to the hungry, to forge visas for children of Jews and political dissidents, to escort refugees out of harm’s way, and to find ways to launder money in order to support their endeavors. A fast-paced true tale about a couple whose self-sacrifice and ability to perform astonishing feats under extreme pressure saved countless lives and should serve as an inspiration to us all. For historical non-fiction readers, WWII buffs, and readers who enjoy intrigue and espionage.