Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Hannie Schaft and the Oversteegen Sisters, Teenaged Saboteurs and Nazi Assassins

by Tim Brady

An astonishing World War II story of a trio of fearless female resisters whose youth and innocence belied their extraordinary daring in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. It also made them the underground’s most invaluable commodity.

May 10, 1940. The Netherlands was swarming with Third Reich troops. In seven days it’s entirely occupied by Nazi Germany. Joining a small resistance cell in the Dutch city of Haarlem were three teenage girls: Hannie Schaft, and sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen who would soon band together to form a singular female underground squad.
Smart, fiercely political, devoted solely to the cause, and “with nothing to lose but their own lives,” Hannie, Truus, and Freddie took terrifying direct action against Nazi targets. That included sheltering fleeing Jews, political dissidents, and Dutch resisters. They sabotaged bridges and railways, and donned disguises to lead children from probable internment in concentration camps to safehouses. They covertly transported weapons and set military facilities ablaze. And they carried out the assassinations of German soldiers and traitors–on public streets and in private traps–with the courage of veteran guerilla fighters and the cunning of seasoned spies.
In telling this true story through the lens of a fearlessly unique trio of freedom fighters, Tim Brady offers a never-before-seen perspective of the Dutch resistance during the war. Of lives under threat; of how these courageous young women became involved in the underground; and of how their dedication evolved into dangerous, life-threatening missions on behalf of Dutch patriots–regardless of the consequences.
Harrowing, emotional, and unforgettable, Three Ordinary Girls finally moves these three icons of resistance into the deserved forefront of world history.

My thoughts: This book, about three teenaged Dutch girls who fought in the resistance against the Germans in WWII during the occupation of their country, was really the kind of book I can’t get enough of. I stayed up all night reading it because I became so engrossed in it, and it was just so good. Two of them were sisters, but later they all ended up working together. It’s filled with action and danger, and so many close calls, yet the girls keep going back for more. You will meet the sisters, Truus and Freddie, and then there is Jo, who is also known as Hannie, the girl with the red hair. Each of them is special in her own way, and valuable to the resistance. This is an amazing true story of courage, as so many of these types of war books are, and I do recommend it if you like this genre. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Tim Brady, and the publisher.

Three Ordinary Girls

Publisher: Citadel – 336 pages
Publication: Feb 23rd, 2021
My rating: 5/5 STARS

About the author– Tim Brady is an award-winning history author who’s critically acclaimed books include Twelve Desperate Miles, A Death in San Pietro, His Father’s Son and Three Ordinary Girls. In addition to contributing numerous articles, reviews, essays and short stories for a wide range of magazines, newspapers and journals, he has written and helped develop a number of television documentaries, including the Peabody Award-winning series, Liberty! The American Revolution for PBS. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

BOOK REVIEW ~ “Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself”

“Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself” : The Mass Suicide of Ordinary Germans in 1945


Just the title of this book, of course grabs you, but once you fully realize what the subject matter is you prepare to settle down for a serious read. And this is truly a serious story that has needed to be shared for a long time. Maybe it was waiting for the right author, or perhaps the time wasn’t right. That’s kind of hard to believe though, as long as it’s been now. But the stage is set, and its time the world knows about this, or at least the parts that didn’t already.

I personally have read my share of books about WWII and the holocaust, and I’ve never run into any mention of this story before. I’ve never seen it discussed online when discussions were being had about those kinds of books either. So I was blown away to read this well-researched book about the suicides of so many regular German people (non-Nazis). Juxtaposed to that, it also follows along with a few folks who became invested in the whole Hitler message. Some as part of the Hitler Youth programs, and some as adults. They became true believers.

I recommend this book for anyone, history lovers, WWII buffs, those who read holocaust memoirs, It’s just such a compelling story. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Florian Huber, and the publisher.




Publisher: Little, Brown Spark – 304 pages
Expected Publication: Mar 10th, 2020
My rating: 4/5 Stars

The Author-   Florian Huber is a writer and documentary maker. He was born in Nuremberg in 1967. He has written four books about German history of which this is the first to be to be translated. He lives in Hamburg.