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Edelweiss Pirates #1

Operation Einstein

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A group of fun loving rebellious German teens calling themselves the Edelweiss Pirates, witness something so deplorably sickening they decide to take action when a six-year old Jewish girl is left orphaned. Torn between patriotism for the country they love and their own rights and freedoms they have to try and do the unthinkable, but with the Gestapo and Hitler Youth hot on their trail, is it too late?

172 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 2011

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About the author

Mark A. Cooper

18 books159 followers
Mark A. Cooper is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Anthony Horowitz as "The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century." (New York Times).

The first book in his Jason Steed series was self-published in 2008. Since then the series has won over fans across the world with its mix of action, emotion and coming of age originality.
Mark was snapped up by the Barbara Zitwer agency and since has written 4 more in the series now published by Sourcebooks.

Mark has spent many years interviewing ex-Edelweiss Pirate and Hitler Youth members across the globe and he is seen as the foremost expert on The Edelweiss Pirates. The novels are fiction based on actual events that happened between 1936-1945 in Germany.

Fictionreviwer.com named 'Fledgling Jason Steed' Young adult book of the year 2009. The book was also voted as finalist in the 2009 'Indie book Awards'. In 2013 in the Beverly Hills Book Awards it came first in Juvenile fiction.

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5 stars
112 (33%)
4 stars
133 (40%)
3 stars
70 (21%)
2 stars
6 (1%)
1 star
9 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 26 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Clive Dunn.
3 reviews35 followers
May 4, 2016
This was different to most books I read, I loved the The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, reading YA in the WW2 period I enjoy, it takes you back to the olden days and lets us understand how lucky we are here in England. We always hear about the nasty Germans, but the teenagers were mostly just like us. Edelweiss Pirates was fun and exciting. I hope they write another in the series.
Profile Image for Crystal Peterson.
13 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2013
Mark Cooper makes a great read for young boys, giving a prime example of choosing what you feel is right in your gut and not going with the (much larger) crowd. Starting you off in 2012 and then working its way back with a grandfather sharing a story of WW2 with his grandson. He tells him of how he ran with a group called Edelweiss Pirates which leads us to our story. I read segments of this book to the middle school I teach at, and it didn’t disappoint the students. They were in need of a good book and Cooper did just that. The history told inside of it does truly portray parts of the war and gives you two sides to the story between kids growing up as Jewish and Hitler youth. The kids in the group are young teenagers and it deems funny in places adding humor to a rather deep story. I would give this book 5 stars due to the well written content, lesson within, and the attention of the young boys and girls I had during reading it!
Profile Image for Cori.
9 reviews
January 26, 2016
Edelweiss Pirates "Operation Einstein" by Mark A. Cooper is such an amazing book. A group of German teens come together and form a group entitled "Edelweiss Pirates". They decide to take action when they witness a young Jewish girl who is an orphan. They have to decide whether to do the right thing or be loyal to their country.
9 reviews
February 17, 2013
I really loved how this book combines an incredibly vivid historical setting with such an interesting story line. The author takes you on an emotional roller coaster or constant highs and lows as the characters develop and fight for what they believe is right.

In this book, a group of young teens in Germany are thrown into the horrors of the Holocaust. They must decide whether to stick with their nationalistic feelings or fight for their rights. They must decide this while the Gestapo (Nazi Police) are following their every move.

This book was enjoyable because it made me think about what I would do in that situation.

Overall, 5/5, this book combines factual information with humor wrapped around a fast paced story that keeps the reader wanting more.
Profile Image for Luciano.
10 reviews
May 18, 2016
Edelweiss Pirates: Operation Einstein by Mark A. Cooper, was the best book I have ever read. I loved this book, but there was one part that just made me sick. I hated the part when a train pulls into the Wurzburg station, full of Jewish people going to a concentration camp, and a Nazi soldier pulled a mom away from her new born baby and when the mom tried to get her kid back the soldier threw the baby down on the ground and smashed its head and then turned to the mom, who was on her knees in tears, and pulled out his pistol and popped a cap into her head. I was so ticked off and annoyed at this scene. I laughed when the pirates did and operation where they put two year old Epson salt in the Hitler youth’s water tank. It was after that operation that all the boys in the Hitler youth that drank the water, got constipated and the bathrooms were full and lots of the boys did it in themselves. What I thought was the weirdest part of this book was that the six year old girl that the pirates saved, married the only pirate alive after the Wurzburg bombing, Fredrik. The coolest part of the book was the operation of trying to get Zelda to the neutral country of Switzerland. The whole thought process and commitment to use a stranded British air bomber and a Jewish six year old girl to the safety of Switzerland. Another part of the book that annoyed me and ticked me off was when the ten boys from the Hitler youth beat the four Wurzburg pirates for no reason even though the hitler youth boys didn’t even know that the four teens were Edelweiss pirates. I would like to read more books like this in the future because of how good the content of the book was.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lester Brookshire.
1 review53 followers
February 18, 2017
I read this for a college project, I found it different to any war novel I had read before. To start with Granpda Guthrie was a funny character, I loved him, he was an old devil, a type of Grizzly Adams/Dukes of Hazards villain with a big heart who was bringing up his grandson.
The family were German, Guthrie's own son was of course a German soldier and was killed in the war leaving him to raise Frederick.
Frederick and his friends were typical rebels, like gothic kids of today. They hated the Nazi's party and refused to join The Hitler Youth and so formed the Edelweiss Pirates. Some of what they got up to was very funny.
The novel told the story of both sides, Eva was also a 14 year old Pirates but her 16 yr old brother Luis was a patriotic Hitler Youth member. A great sibling conflict erupted.
The Nazi's turn out a Jewish family leaving behind a 6 year old girl. The story was cute, funny, emotional and in one chapter really really serious, horrific intact but it needed to be their. I hope they write more of the Edelweiss Pirates adventures, finally a second world war novel thats tells of the plight of the German people. Think The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas with a touch of Young James Bond and you have the novel. As for Grandpa Guthrie he is a new character like I have never come across before.
9 reviews1 follower
May 18, 2016
Edelweiss Pirates- Operation Einstein, by Mark A. Cooper is a great fictional book taking place during WW2. The book is about a group of German teenagers who call themselves the Edelweiss Pirates who rebel against the Nazis and their sworn enemy, the Hitler Youth. Once the Pirates see that Nazis have orphaned a little six year old girl, they decide to take action and take her in as one of her own. The problem is that the little girl is Jewish, and so they have to choose between what is right and betraying the motherland, or ratting her out and exposing her to the Nazis. But whatever choice they choose, the Gestapo and Hitler Youth will constantly seek them out.
I would rate this book a four out of five stars because of the content. The book was great but it was a little bit too short and a bit too easy for my age level. Plus, I don’t know about all the other books, but my copy had a lot of typos and while some pages in the book had a very abundant amount of ink, most of the other pages just barely had enough ink to see the words. Although, I shouldn’t say that the ink made the book bad, but the amount of typos were very annoying. I did like the sort of dry humor applied to the book. That kept my attention and so did the mystery of who Austin’s grandparents were. Overall, great book. I’ve heard rumors about a sequel coming out next year. If so, I’d gladly buy it.
Profile Image for Chris Horsefield.
110 reviews121 followers
June 5, 2017
A great book for 11-16 year olds, it teaches history in a tone that young people American, Jewish, German, British can relate too.
Cooper does a tremendous job as he gives both sides of the story, regarding Germany WW2, the Jewish and Hitler youth.
The Edelweiss Pirates are a group of average 13-15 year olds, they are growing up in Germany and basically love their country, what they don’t like is the Hitler Youth and ban on teenage music, clothing, freedoms and attacks on German people just because of faith.
The story shows both sides, why Hitler hated the Jews, what they did to him to make him hate them, but also shows the horrific scenes of what the Nazi’s did you Jewish people or regular German people with disabilities.
Its put together brilliantly in a young adult adventure book, I loved how the Edelweiss Pirates played pranks on the Hitler Youth.

This was a very original book and not what I had come to expect from a young adult writer. It was typical Cooper material, fast pace, plenty of action and smaller kid takes on the bullies but this packed a very real punch. Cooper pulls in his young audience, makes them laugh but gives them a very real history lesson.
Profile Image for Susan Davis.
29 reviews1 follower
January 26, 2013
Anne Frank for a new generation? This was a fascinating tale of children thrown into the horror of the Holocaust. Very thought-provoking. A raw and powerful read that I highly recommend.
May 7, 2016
Is there more?

As Grandpa has more to tell. I hope there's more pirate books. This was an excellent read. A must read for WW2 enthusiasts.
122 reviews
March 30, 2015
Edelweiss Pirates, Operation Einstein is one of the rare books that had me interested from beginning to end. The story is extremely well written with just the right amount of historical fiction, action, drama, and suspense that kept me curling my toes excited to see what was going to happen next to these kids. All of the characters, my favorite probably being the Grandfather as it reminded me of mine, were all very well developed and unique. This was actually the very first book I've read from Mark A. Cooper and I have to say I am very impressed. It's very difficult to write a story like this yet he does a great job of making it intriguing and well structured.
Profile Image for P J Best.
4 reviews
December 1, 2016
GRANDPA GUNTHRIE lol, is the funniest best character ever, he is really an old poacher and always up to no good, but he is Fredericks Grandpa and as Fredericks parents are dead, he looks after him. Deepdown you can see that Granpda gunthre loves him.
The book was funny, exciting and wow, sad, one part made me cry. I am glad I read it, I can;t wait ot read another Edelweiss Pirates book. I would be one if it was war time now.
Profile Image for Chris Horsefield.
110 reviews121 followers
April 23, 2016
I read the original version that came out in 2010. This is the novel where the famous quote "Life has no remote get up and change it yourself" came from.

This new version seems to be better edited the story flows better and a horrific scene between a Nazi officer and the Jewish mother of an infant baby has been toned down. I hope to read book 2.
2 reviews
July 19, 2014
Edelweiss Pirates was in my opinion a "nice getaway" from my other book I am required to read. I chose to read this novel because I enjoy reading books about the holocaust not only because they are filled with so many jaw dropping and heart breaking events but also because they are one of few genres that are actually able to give me a mental picture of what is going on, just because of all the graphic descriptions. It helps me stay interested because even though the sad books usually make me tear up, they have loads of events that keep me wanting to read more and more. This book specifically did a very good job with that. It never failed to lose my interest. I can honestly say each chapter had a decent amount of interesting events going on which helped me get through the book much faster (another thing that helped is that the chapters are so short and easy to read). Overall, I think the theme would be to fight for what you believe in even if it means risking everything you have. The plot of the book I would say was a interesting one, I have never read a holocaust book which was written from the perspective of the german people going against there own country, so it was a bit interesting for me to find out the events going on in germany from a germans perspective.
Even though I overal enjoyed reading this book, there was one thing that I did not like. The ending of this book felt very rushed, it was as if the author spent so much time thinking of what to say throughout the whole book and then at one point just decided to end it there unexpectedly. I would have perferred to read on and find out a little more as to what happened. Other then that though, I think it was a good, interesting book to read.
Profile Image for Deb Cohen.
8 reviews
September 5, 2021
I returned to this as I had my nephew over and we agreed to read it together, I read it one year ago myself but the second reading was more powerful.

The book is one of the most cleverly written novels/ series, I have come across. It is amusing, (Teen age pranks between the Pirates and the Hitler Youth) emotional, exciting and has some parts that are tragic.

It's a book series that everyone should read, we easily dismiss all Germans as wicked people during WW2, but this shows how regular teenagers hated the War and Hitler. To them he was responsible for the dads not coming home again. No more music, fun, parties and everything teens like to do, that is unless they followed the rules and joined the Hitler Youth. But when a group of rowdy teens fight it and become Edelweiss Pirates, magic happens.

I gave this 4 stars, book 2, is simply much better, but you need to read this first.
August 23, 2021
This is book one in the Edelweiss Pirates books by Mark Cooper. I preferred book 2 but this was still good, and has one of my favourite book characters in any books in it. Grandpa Gunthrie, a friendly old man he is a bit of a hustler, buying and selling on the black market. He won a race with his racing pigeon by cheating and having a look alike pidgeon, and when he was getting the trophy his other pigeon turned up and landed on him, lol.

The story has some funny bits, some exiting bits and one scene that was hard to read. The Nazi's were not nice people even to other German people. I hope a third book is written in this series.
Profile Image for Robin.
47 reviews7 followers
March 8, 2023
**Rating: 3.5/5**

Operation Einstein is a story about the birth of a teenage resistance group in Nazi Germany in WW2 - known as the Edelweiss Pirates - and how they fought against all odds to rescue a young orphaned Jewish girl from the clutches of the Gestapo and the Hitler Youth.

The author did a pretty good job in ensuring this read as a YA novel; it was kept historically accurate and the horrific atrocities of the Nazi regime weren’t skimmed or glossed over, but there were no overly graphic descriptions and the book was still given a tone of hope - hope that good would eventually prevail. I also enjoyed all the little historical tidbits that really made me believe I was in 1942; I didn’t know that Fanta was created as an alternative to Coca-Cola in WW2 Germany due to the trade embargo enforced by America, for example.

However I did find the language a little
simple at times, and certain situations were also a bit unrealistic, but again as a YA novel that’s understandable. This was still an enjoyable read on the whole, but I would probably look elsewhere if you wanted an in-depth historical account of the Edelweiss Pirates.
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,709 reviews394 followers
December 1, 2021
This short novel tells the story of the Edelweißpiraten, a real-life youth movement that banded together teenage boys and girls from several cities in WWII Germany that disliked the Nazis and rebelled in the only way they could: by making the Hitler Youth's life a misery.

The Edelweiss Pirates in Cooper's book are fictional characters, but the author interviewed actual surviving members of the group to base his novel on. Here, the Pirates are five friends from the town of Würzburg and the grandfather of one of them, a lovable rogue that lives on a farm and raises alone his young grandson, still one year shy from the mandatory age to join the Hitler Youth. The boy and his schoolchums aren't thrilled by the idea of having to interrupt their bohemian lifestyle, so one day in the dirty farm they decide they'll fight back. They organise themselves to play serious pranks on the Hitler Youth boys and their leader, attacking them on their camp, damaging their leader's house and car, and so on. Slowly, they ramp up the scale of their sabotage to help a Jewish girl escape and an Allied pilot steal a plane. They get a bounty on their heads, but are never caught, because they eventually choose to hide in plain sight and join the Hitler Youth to use it as protection against suspicion of subversive activities.

I don't know which of the adventures the Pirates have are true and which are fictional, because Cooper doesn't have a section where the explains the history and the fiction in detail, just generally. I would've really loved to know, because so many of the Pirates' adventures sound implausible to me, but life can be so much more incredible than fiction, so I can't be certain my impressions as to plausibility are correct. Additionally, the writing is in very urgent need of an editor, because of the number of typos, grammatical mistakes, and lack of punctuation that are so distracting.

Nonetheless, for a quiet day of fun reading and some good laughs, this duet (there's a second volume) is quite a nice pick. For the real history of the Edelweiss Pirates, you can always pick up Flowers in the Gutter.
9 reviews1 follower
May 19, 2016
Edelweiss Pirates Operation Einstein was an okay book, written by Mark Cooper. It takes place in Germany during World War II. It is a book about five kids who call themselves “the pirates”. They do not like the Nazis. The main character, Friedrick gives the kids an idea to play little pranks on the Nazis and the Hitler Youth. Their biggest prank is a heist that starts when they find a three-year old Jew named Zelda. She is being looked for by the Gestapo, and the Pirates decide to save her by stealing a German plane to fly her to Switzerland. Will they succeed? I thought that Operation Einstein was not that good of a book. It was very boring for a majority of the book because the majority of it was very boring. It started very slow, then it began to get interesting as the Pirates began to play pranks on the Hitler Youth. It got boring again when they decided to save Zelda. About a third of the book was devoted to describing their plan to save her. When they finally attempted the plan it became very interesting again. It was a very easy read, and pretty easy to understand what was happening. The author described each of the main characters, but did not really develop them. I did not relate to any of the characters. I give Operation Einstein two out of five stars because I did not enjoy reading it very much. I thought that it could have been better and more captivating if the author had not had as much detail between each of the attacks. I think that anybody who enjoys reading fictional books about World War II would enjoy it. I think anyone who is in fifth grade or older should read it.
Profile Image for Laura.
242 reviews
June 10, 2015
The Kindle version I was reading had so many grammatical errors, typos, and misspellings that it was really distracting. But that aside, this was just not that well written or that good a story. It earned two stars only because there were some interesting historical bits on the Hitler Youth that ordinarily don't feature very prominently in other WW2 books. But I don't recommend it overall. I am looking for books on the topic that are kid friendly. I'll continue my search...
Profile Image for Gill.
713 reviews22 followers
July 27, 2018
So disappointing. The premise is so exciting and is totally let down by mediocre writing and painfully stilted dialogue. Kindle version also full of distracting typos. Life is too short to waste on poor quality books when there are so many great ones.
Profile Image for Allie.
242 reviews14 followers
October 16, 2022
So… I only read 50 pages, and it literally sounds like it’s being written by a twelve year old boy.

Run-on sentences. Fragments. Improper grammar. Misspellings and misuses of words. My future English major heart can’t take it.

Here are examples:
“After he’d a few drinks.”
“Most teens’ fathers where away at war.” It’s were, not where.

Please safe yourself the trouble.

ALSO, yes, I am counting it towards my reading goal because I put myself through so much.
Profile Image for Juli.
12 reviews
February 10, 2022
It was a new perspective (youth German resistance) of WWII for me. I had never heard of the Edelweiss Pirates before and enjoyed knowing more about the German resistance.
Profile Image for Natasha Reid.
8 reviews2 followers
December 14, 2015
2.5 stars. I liked the story and I learned some new facts about WWII. However, I was blown away by all of the spelling and grammatical errors! There were letters missing ("he" instead of "the"), there were random extra letters ("auntl" "ssome"), there were grammatical errors all over the place (periods instead of commas). The editing job was sloppy and unprofessional. It was extremely distracting.

Chapter 1 Page 3-4 " He was looking forward to spending the weekend at his grandparents home, although he would enjoy it more if Samantha. His nine-year old sister wasn't going to be there."

Chapter 4 Page 17 "Fritz was short for his age WITH short WITH dirty blond hair and blue/green eyes, both his parents had died so he lived with his aunt in the down, he was the smallest of the group, Eva often called him cute, being small made him look younger than his fourteen years."

Chapter 7 Page 28 "Fritz lived with his auntl he was also fourteen but many thought he was only twelve because of his small frame and height
Profile Image for Deven Wildeman.
4 reviews5 followers
November 7, 2018
The book Edelweiss pirates by Mark A. Cooper is about German teens calling themselves the Edelweiss Pirates and they try to take action when a 6-year-old Jewish girl was left orphaned. For me this book was alright it was not the best but it was alright I would say. I think the book could be better and I did not like when they were hurting all the people and neither did the Edelweiss Pirates. Someone that would like this book would be a person who likes History.

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