Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI’s Story of Courage and Faith by John Woodbridge and Maurice Possley recounts the life of Ira “Teen” Palm, a man who grew up during the Depression and went off to fight in Europe during World War II.
The book is more about Palm’s relationships with his wife Helen and his pastor Charles Woodbridge (John is Charles’s son) and his deepening faith than it is about Palm’s experiences in World War II. Through his relationship with Woodbridge, Palm came to know Christ. Following the war (after a brief hiatus), Palm decided to pursue a career in the Army. The authors recount how Ira and Helen shared their faith to others in the military and how they were active in the Officers’ Christian Union.
Regarding Palm’s experiences during World War II, the book is somewhat mistitled because Palm never had Hitler in his crosshairs. I am not quite sure where the title comes from – other than a tangential connection between Palm and a German resistance member who had Hitler in his crosshairs, but could not pull the trigger for fear of hitting a child.
An interesting sidenote to Palm’s story is described by the authors in the latter part of the book. Toward the end of the war, Palm and a few men were sent to capture or kill Hitler at one of his many homes in Munich. They never found Hitler, but Palm did find one of Hitler’s greatest treasures – a gold pistol given to him by the Nazi Party. The authors explain the journey of the pistol from Palm to Charles Woodbridge to being stolen and then possibly resurfacing years later (it is unclear if a similar pistol discovered recently is the one Palm once owned).
Overall, I think the book is a great story for Palm’s family – there is a little too much family history that I think most readers will not find very interesting. However, it is an inspiring story that chronicles a man’s walk in Christ and how this walk got him through many tight spots during World War II.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed herein are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with Federal Trade Commision regulations.