Book Review: The Winter Fortress

51L7oEtzclL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_During WWII the Nazis invaded the small country of Norway and took over the heavy water plant in Vemork. The Nazi’s were intent on using the heavy water to develop a nuclear bomb to destroy the UK. Hitler was nearing success and the entire course of history was about to change.

The heavy water plant was designed by Dr. Leif Tronstad. Upon the Nazi invasion, Dr. Tronstad fled to London where he informed the Allies of Hitler’s atomic bomb plans. Tronstad became involved in special forces operations against the Nazis in Norway. The sabotage of the Vemork plant was his primary target.

This is a story of brave men, commandos who became saboteurs, intent on contaminating the heavy water with castor oil and destroying the plant. The men were dropped by parachute into Norway where they hid on the Norwegian Hardangervidda (Vidda), a wide open plateau, about 1321 square miles. While holed up in a small cabin for months before the operation began, awaiting their orders, these men lived through blizzards, extreme cold, and starvation.

The orders came to proceed; at that point the pages turn quickly.

Some portions of the book I didn’t want to put down while other chapters were tedious with lots of names (Norwegian) and technical facts.

The details of Norway’s important contribution and this part of WWII were unknown to me. I’m glad I read it. I respect these men, many of whom sacrificed their lives (and their families) so the world might be free.


  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (May 3, 2016)
  • Publication Date: May 3, 2016
  • Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


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