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Book review: Gerald Lund's Vol. 4 of Fire and Steel series follows families in Germany, Utah between world wars

"FIRE AND STEEL, VOL 4: The Proud Shall Stumble," by Gerald N. Lund, Deseret Book, $27.99, 529 pages (f)

The recently released fourth volume of author Gerald N. Lund's Fire and Steel series titled "The Proud Shall Stumble" continues the tale of the Eckhardt family in Bavaria, Germany, and Westland family in the Monticello, Utah, area as the world moves toward World War II.

In his 20th work of historical fiction, Lund outlines the stark differences of life in post-World War I America and postwar Germany and the striking contrast between the two. Set from 1923-30, Lund uses his powerful storytelling as well as historical research to weave an intricate and moving story of these two fictional families into real historical events.

The Eckhardt family is dealing with their son and father's participation in the Nazi party and he ends up spending time in jail due to a failed coup led by Adolf Hitler. The Westland family is facing life in rural America before the Great Depression. Throughout the novel, Lund goes between the two story lines and also has them intersect.

One of the author’s calling cards from his previous works is character development and that is again a strong part of the Fire and Steel series, including this "The Proud Shall Stumble." Lund continues to expand the detail of his character’s lives from the previous volumes while also providing information about historical people who many readers may not be completely aware of.

One of the key aspects of "The Proud Shall Stumble" is Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and the fictional characters are intertwined masterfully throughout the real, documented information. In addition, each chapter has a brief section of chapter notes to provide more contexts for the historical information provided in the book.

This is a great book for those interested in history and would be recommended for teenagers to adults.

As is standard for Lund’s books, there is no sexual content and no swearing. There is violence mentioned consistent with coups and uncertain life between the two world wars, but the detail is minimal.

Lund, who was born in Fountain Green, Sanpete County, graduated from Brigham Young University and Pepperdine University. He has previously served as a general authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day as well as in the Missionary Training Center in Provo.

Landon Walters studied history and political science at Salt Lake Community College. He is an avid sports fan and loves writing. Email: mavericksoccer_22@hotmail.com