This is a very engrossing book weaving the lives of families impacted by Hitler's quest for the destruction and murder of those in Germany who were deThis is a very engrossing book weaving the lives of families impacted by Hitler's quest for the destruction and murder of those in Germany who were deemed not fit to live. Not only Jews, but children who were challenged, women and men with mental illness, gypsies, homosexuals, and everyone who did not agree with the quest for the perfect nation were eliminated.
The character building was strong as the reader learns of Karl Muller, a chemist and doctor who was instrumental in obtaining a quicker way to kill. As the barbarity becomes increasingly intolerable, Karl decides to try to save at least one child. Hedda Gunther lived a life of luxury. Her father, also someone who assisted with the T4 program for euthanizing those noted as cripples, or in curable, eventually grew more and more upset with his role.
At a young age Hedda married handsome SS officer Walter Gunther. Gunther worked his way up the ladder of terror inflicted upon humanity. When Berlin was unexpectedly bombed by England, Walter and Hedda's daughter was slammed into a wall, rendering her in a coma with little help of a normal life. Karl Muller learns that Walter has signed the papers for his daughter to be exterminated. When he tells Hedda, she must try to save her daughter. Together Karl and Hedda work together to ensure her daughter will live.
SS officer Walter Gunther is a cold, calculating, wife beater. Hitler and his goals have long ago brainwashed Walter until there is nothing left but an unfeeling robot bent on the destruction of thousands.
Therese Down does a very credible job of portraying the complexity of Hitler's Germany.
While I thought the author repeated the stories over and over again, still, I would recommend the book....more
In Portsmouth, Ohio circa 1929, the town built a football field size pool. It became the center for generations to swim, meet others, eat french friesIn Portsmouth, Ohio circa 1929, the town built a football field size pool. It became the center for generations to swim, meet others, eat french fries and hot dogs and enjoy a slice of the American dream. That was then, now the town lies in ruin and decay. Businesses are gone as families moved away.
In place of a close-knit community, are major pill mills of distribution. By the mid 2000s, Portsmouth had more pill (OxyCodone, OxyContin,, dilaudid, vicodin) mills per capita than any other in the US. Difficult to believe, it was at one time a thriving community of hard working, blue-collar people who were happy.
Fast forward to today where across America, in small and big towns, cheap, easy to find black--tar heroin is the desired drug of choice. Leading to severe, almost immediate addiction, this potent drug flourishes and races with lightening-like speed across the highways and byways of America.
Indeed, it is difficult to know someone who is not impacted by the effects of drugs upon the social fabric, ripping and tearing apart any safety net imagined; heroin addiction crosses all socioeconomic classes.
The author traces the arrival and incredible snake like, fast-moving poisonous web throughout small-town America,to one major Mexican cartel. In the 1990's, The Xalisco Boys from Nayarit, Mexico were genius in their pizza-like delivery plan. And, in their highly effective system, they continue to leave thousands upon thousands addicted and dead.
In search of their imagined view of the American dream, The Xalisco cartel use poor Mexicans to carry small, rolled balls of heroin in balloons in their mouth. Fanning out across the border, to fit in, they tend to choose communities with a large Mexican population already in place. As soon as they are given a cell phone, the multiple calls arrive all day long, and the young men are more than happy to deliver door-to-door.
This multi-faceted problem has many veins. Coupled with the quick, easy, cheap way to get addicted to heroin, hand in hand, is American's addiction to pain killers. Narcotics industries revolutionized advertising both to doctors who dispense, and Americans willing to take mass doses of highly addictive medication.
Arthur Sackler was the revolutionary mind who unleashed the drug advertising campaigns touting the joys and benefits of pain medications. If you visit the New York Metropolitan Museum, you will find an entire wing dedicated to his art given to the met. Not only successful in accumulating art, he was just as crafty in advertising opiates. So highly successful was he that in 2008 overdose from opiates outnumbered deaths by auto accidents.
Researchers discovered that in the molecular structure of opiates is a compound that fits like a key in a lock, opening the feel-good high calling for larger and larger quantities.
This unlocking structure of opiates makes it so very difficult to give up the habit. Researchers found that the body is so amazing at holding on to this substance, that even the kidneys rebel against eliminating it from the system.
While the book could have been less redundant, I think the author cannot be faulted for this. In his aim to hit the mark of how very insidious this is, he needs to repeat the figures over and over. Like someone who simply cannot believe a terrible fact, he stresses over and over and over again just how very terrible the American landscape has become.
This is such a stellar book that a review is difficult. Suffice it to say it is one wherein I want to tell my book loving friends to read it--just goThis is such a stellar book that a review is difficult. Suffice it to say it is one wherein I want to tell my book loving friends to read it--just go ahead and read it! Those of us who are avid readers know good writing when we read, and feel it!
The author was adopted. Sadly, she was taken into a small England town by a flat-out-crazy woman and her never discuss a problem husband.
While Jeanette was physically and emotionally beaten down, her father simply followed what his wife wanted her to do. If she "needed" to be beaten, then he did it.
Throughout the book, the author never calls the woman mother. She is known as "Mrs." Left alone on the outside stoop for hours and hours, or locked in a bin, she learned to get tough. It is with words that her internal beauty came through.
Always drawn to books, when she worked, she bought them. When the Mrs. found them, they were promptly burnt.
At the age of sixteen, when Jeanette discovered love via another woman's arms, in church her mother announced that an exorcism was needed. No where better was the hypocrisy of her mother's religion shown than when one of the men performing the exorcism was visibly aroused and tried to accost Jeanette.
This incredibly well-written book is about many things. It is about the search for love and the difficulty of trust. It is about the search for identity of a biological mother. It is about reading and the redemption of beautifully crafted words. It is about the meaning of home. And, I urge you to read it--just go ahead and read it.
With the reading of this book, I have now exhausted my comprehensive search to learn as much about the sad, tragic death of 14 year old Emmett Till.
ThWith the reading of this book, I have now exhausted my comprehensive search to learn as much about the sad, tragic death of 14 year old Emmett Till.
This is quite a comprehensive study of the subject. In particular, the author did a marvelous job of depicting the strong Jim Crow atmosphere of the Mississippi delta.
The fact that black men were depicted as depraved animals longing to violate white women was clearly outlined. While I find this thinking despicable, it was helpful in explaining the reason why two white red neck, vile, white men walked away free. With smiles on their faces, they left the court room smug in their victory.
Knowing that they could lie in the court room and have the backing of their lawyers who used the ugly sentiment at the time, allowed them to walk away freely.
If there is such a thing as pay back, both men had marriages that ended in divorce. And, while not particularly liked before their murder of Emmett Till, they were ostracized and not able to make a decent living....more
On a hot steamy August evening, young fourteen year old boy Emmett Till and his cousins, despite the rules of Emmett's uncle, left church and walked tOn a hot steamy August evening, young fourteen year old boy Emmett Till and his cousins, despite the rules of Emmett's uncle, left church and walked to a rural store in Money, Mississippi. A checker game was happening on the front porch.
From Chicago, Ill, young Emmett was not accustomed to the Jim Crow laws of the south. While the exact details of what Emmett said to the white, pretty, beauty contest winner wife of Roy Bryant, his behavior was enough to enrage Roy Bryant and his step brother J.W. Milam.
A few days later, Emmett's bloated, beaten-beyond recognition, body was found in the Tallahatchie river.
This book focus on the travesty and lack of justice when Emmett's murderers were placed on trial. Admitting to kidnapping, both Boy and J.W. told the sheriff that they left him go.
There were others in the shed who assisted in pistol whipping Emmett. Two of whom were hidden by the sheriff at the time of the trial.
Despite the fact that Roy and J.W. were not considered quality people by all who knew them, they were acquitted and left go.
There was in fact no way a black boy could live after breaking the strict rule of keeping black men away from white women. For perhaps swaggering into the store and calling Caroline Bryant "baby", the price Emmett paid as with his life.
Considered the event that ushered in the Civil Rights movement, Emmett's mother kept vigil at his casket as thousands marched past witnessing the horror of his badly beaten body.
As Bryant and Milam were ostracized by people in the rural community, their popularity lessened. Blacks protested by not buying things at the Bryant store. Soon, both Bryant and Milam found it difficult to make ends meet. Thus, when Look magazine promised $3,500 for the story of how they murdered Emmett, Bryant and Milam gladly gave up the details.
For all to read, these two near do wells, bragged about the murder. Within the next few years, the Civil Rights movement, including Rosa Park's refusal to give up her seat on the bus, and the huge bus boycott, were major steps by blacks justifiably showing they had had enough. ...more
Life was good for Dr. Paul Kalanithi, he found his niche in the profession of neurosurgery, and he was veryThis is an incredible book in so many ways.
Life was good for Dr. Paul Kalanithi, he found his niche in the profession of neurosurgery, and he was very close to completing all requirements he needed in order to place in a high-level position of scholarly research and surgery.
While still in medical school, he developed severe, debilitating back pain. His MRI showed cancerous masses in the lungs, spreading to other areas. Both he and his medical wife knew there could be no mistake.
This is a story, written by Paul, as he grapples with life and death decisions. Always drawn to philosophy and the meaning and purpose of life, Paul now had to assimilate all he read and had to live the words and begin the journey and waltz of the dance of death.
Realistic and never dramatic, Paul shows a great deal of emotion. When in a small remission period, he went back to performing very complicated surgeries. Increasingly, though, he knew that the days were limited when he could excel in the delicate, complex surgeries that he has schooled to perform.
As he and his wife celebrated all that was good in life, including the birth of a baby girl, they also heard the clicking of the clock.
He broke down and cried when he could no longer perform surgery. He and his wife cried when MRI's and his increasing pain and lack of air began to cut into quality time.
I highly recommend this well-written, thoughtful discourse on the reality that life is fragile, and fate has other plans than those we hope to accomplish in our time on earth.