Why You Should Read A Thousand Shall Fall (book review)

In this blog, let me share with you my review of the book, A Thousand Shall Fall, what it is all about, its summary, and why you should read it.

The Book in 3 Sentences

A Thousand Shall Fall is a book about how an Adventist family practiced their belief and faith in the midst of a Germany ruled by belligerent Hitler.

In the book, you will read about how God has delivered them from danger, provided them with divine provision, and how they survived through the darkest history of mankind.

The book will inspire you to always follow God’s commandments even in the midst of danger, persecution, and confusion.

The author

Susi Hasel Mundy is the author of this book. She is the youngest daughter of Franz Hasel, the head of the Adventist family talked about in the book.

Susi has taught behavioral science and German. She also spent 10 years serving as a family, marriage, and child therapist.

At the time of this writing, she is the registrar at Pacific Union College in Angwin, California.

Susi wrote, A Thousand Shall Fall, after Gerhard, her brother, encouraged her to write the book. Sadly, Gerhard already died in 1994 and wasn’t able to read the book, which was published in 2001.

Susi wrote the book, which is a story of her family during World War II. The stories were written based on the accounts given by the people involved in the story. 

Book Summary

A Thousand Shall Fall has a subtitle, “The electrifying story of an Adventist family who dared to practice their faith in Hitler’s Germany.” 

This should give you a general idea of what the book is all about.

Franz Hasel thought that he wouldn’t be drafted to be part of Hitler’s army since he was already 40 years old. However, a letter came in one day telling him that he was drafted as a soldier.

Upon joining the army, Franz expressed his religious beliefs and would like to be a medic instead. The army officer didn’t like his request. Thus, he was assigned to be part of the Pioneer Company 699, a group of soldiers who are assigned to the front lines of war.

Franz knew what it means to be part of the Pioneer Company, many people have died because they are the first ones who are sent in enemy lines.

This started Franz’s journey through the most difficult time of his life.

Life wasn’t just difficult for Franz, but also for his family. Because they were Sabbath-keepers, they are often ridiculed and considered to be sympathizers of the Jews.

Often, Franz’s family had to deal with harsh threats and torturous persecutions. His children had to go through hunger, harsh weather, and the threat of death as they live in a godless society.

Franz was also ridiculed and often made fun of in his company. He was called all sorts of names. However, he eventually gained the respect of the people around him because of his religious conviction.

Franz refused to kill anyone. Thus, he threw away his gun and replaced it with a wooden gun, just so his superiors won’t notice. 

During his duty as a German soldier, he tried to save as many Jews as possible by warning them of the coming of the dreaded SS army.

Out of the 1,200 Pioneers, only seven of them survived. Out of these seven survivors, three of them were not wounded. One of these unwounded survivors is Hasel Franz.

Book content

Here’s a quick glimpse of what you will read in this book:

Dedication
To The Reader
Chapter 1:       The Draft
Chapter 2:       In Boot Camp
Chapter 3:       Political Pressures At Home
Chapter 4:       In France And Poland
Chapter 5:       In The Black Forest
Chapter 6:       Into The Ukraine
Chapter 7:       The Brown House|
Chapter 8:       Winter Battle
Chapter 9:       Susi’s Birth
Chapter 10:     Saved By An Angel
Chapter 11:     In Eschenrod
Chapter 12:     In The Caucasus
Chapter 13:     Life In Frankfurt
Chapter 14:     Bible Studies
Chapter 15:     The Americans Arrive
Chapter 16:     Retreat
Chapter 17:     Return Home
Chapter 18:     Winter Rescue
Chapter 19:     Packages From America
Chapter 20:     Aftermath
Epilogue

Why should you read A Thousand Shall Fall?

One best reason for you to read this book is this: it’s inspirational.

It is such a great testimony of God’s divine protection to the people who want to follow Him.

The story is well-written and easy to read, follow, and understand. 

Although Susi mentioned in the book that she took some liberties in the telling of the story, her intention is always to illuminate the truth.

Based on Amazon reviews, at the time of this writing, the book has 4.8 out of 5-star ratings from more than 350 readers.

Why should you not read A Thousand Shall Fall?

I frankly can’t think of a reason why you should not read this book. Perhaps, for people who don’t keep the seventh-day Sabbath, they might think twice about reading this.

However, I would tell you that let not that stop you from reading this book. It is such a great read even if you don’t observe the Sabbath. The reason is that this is a real story. It is not fictional.

It shows you God’s promise of protection. It shows you how God arranges things, gets rid of the things that are not needed, and places the provisions where it is needed the most.

Moreover, the book can also serve as a history book. It gives you firsthand accounts of what it feels like to be part of the German army during World War II.

Lessons I learned from A Thousand Shall Fall

The number one lesson I learned from the book is God’s unfailing love and protection to His people.

When you follow God, everything would fall into its right place. Hasel Franz is a Sabbath keeper and because of that, people hated him.

Although this made him weird and an outcast, he eventually gained the respect and trust of people around him.

Why?

Because of God’s favor.

When you please God, He will also make you pleasing to others.

When you make God your top priority in life, He will move obstacles on your path.

God won’t command you to do something that you can’t do.

When God says you keep His Sabbath, then you should keep it even in the midst of a war.

Hasel Franz showed us that it is possible.

He showed us that even in the most extreme situations, God will still provide a way for us to keep His commandments.

This reminds me of what 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 

(Note: The title of this book is inspired by Psalm 91:7. If you wish to learn more, you should read, “20 Most Surprising Lessons from Psalm 91 You Probably Never Heard Of.”)

20 Most Surprising Lessons from Psalm 91 You Probably Never Heard Of
20 Most Surprising Lessons from Psalm 91 You Probably Never Heard Of

Why I like the book

I am a Sabbath keeper. I follow the Fourth Commandment, the same commandment that starts with the word, “Remember,” but is most often forgotten by Christians today.

Because of this, I could relate to Hasel Franz and his family. 

I remember the time when I was persecuted in college because of my religious beliefs. However, it is because of the Sabbath that I also gained the respect of my professors and the friendship of our admin staff.

I can personally attest that when you keep the Sabbath, you are letting God move and guide you in ways you didn’t imagine possible.

Should you read A Thousand Shall Fall?

Absolutely, yes!

I remember myself almost crying in Chapter 17. It was the time when Hasel finally returned home after the surrender of Germany.

I can just imagine the joy of his family discovering that he was still alive and listening to his stories of God’s protection.

So, if you want to get inspired and see how God’s favor works in people’s lives, I highly recommend you read this book.

I am confident that you will not regret reading this book!


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