Above all, Greenhorn is a book to help tell the tale of the Holocaust to children. It presents the story in a way that children can relate to it, Jewi...moreAbove all, Greenhorn is a book to help tell the tale of the Holocaust to children. It presents the story in a way that children can relate to it, Jewish or not.
Daniel is the new kid in class in a new school where he doesn't speak the language. (The story is actually told by Daniel's roommate.) The other boys pick on Daniel because he's different and because he carries around something they don't understand. Daniel carries around a box; he doesn't open it and he doesn't let it out of his sight. This leads to lots of jeering from the other boys.
The climax of the book hits when they boys open Daniel's box. What they find is just gruesome enough to hit home and make the story real. I've done a lot of reading on Nazi Germany, Concentration Camps, and the Final Solution. I had a few guess of what would be in the box: bone fragments, teeth, ashes, scraps of C-camp clothing, but the ------- definitely surprised me. I think adults will find it creepier than kids, but hopefully it will get the children to want to learn more.
The epilogue to the book very touching. This story is based on a true event from the life of Rabbi Grossman. Even though it is a sad tale, it does have a happy ending.(less)
The beginning was kinda slow, but I got really engrossed about 1/3 of the way through. I also took breaks to read other things, so that may have helpe...moreThe beginning was kinda slow, but I got really engrossed about 1/3 of the way through. I also took breaks to read other things, so that may have helped as well.
Great for anyone interested in immigration, Chinese in California, the meaning of 'The American Dream', and a history of Los Angeles.(less)
I'll start by saying it's hard to write a review of a memoir like this. How does one who has not had similar experiences pass judgment on this type of...moreI'll start by saying it's hard to write a review of a memoir like this. How does one who has not had similar experiences pass judgment on this type of work?
In this book Father Malak tells the story of his capture in Poland by the Nazis and his journey through concentrations camps to Dachau where he spent then most time and was finally liberated. He tells the story of a group not normally mentioned when people talk about the Holocaust: Polish priests. His group from Inowroclaw traveled through Gorna Grupa, Gdansk, Stutthof, Grenzdorf, Sachsenhausen, and finally to Dachau, where they were classified as ‘political prisoners’. The transfers from place to place were scary: “A human being is a curious creature. He can come to love even a death camp… In the context of the mysterious unknown to which we’re heading, even Stutthof leaves behind the feeling of a ‘home’ that’s been lost.” (p72) In each location he tells of the horrors they were subjected to in graphic detail. This is not a book for anyone with a weak stomach. “If I had… not experienced this myself… [taking] part in sport five full days in a row, running, jumping, rolling and crawling (without interruption) from early morning to dinner and from dinner to evening, it would be hard for me to believe.” (p111) “Even so it’s difficult to believe what hatred is capable of inventing!” (p253)
This book was first published in Polish in 1948. This first English translation was based on the second edition published in 1961. He wrote this memoir to keep alive the memory of those who did not survive, giving long lists of Polish names. Besides the events in the camp, in the second edition he adds events from the war which gives context to life in the camps. Chapters have endnotes that give added information or sources for the text. The back also includes an extensive bibliography. While in the camp he learned German and read extensively, so many of the sources are German in origin. His friend Zdzich told him, “if you want to write about them sometime, you have to get to know them very well. You won’t learn about them or their… culture or ideology without knowing their language.” (p288)
Having been to Dachau, it was fascinating to match his descriptions to my memories. Some of what he wrote contradicts what I was told and I am more apt to believe Father Malak. I wish I had had this book when I did my research on Nazi concentration camps.
Father Malak wrote this memoir to tell the story of a group overlooked by historians: Polish priests. He wanted to keep the memory of his colleagues alive. He points out numerous times that he can only speak for himself and his barracks, not for what was happening to others, but he sees that the Jews have things worse than anyone else. He doesn’t want to encourage people to hate Germans. “If there’s anything I want to present in a true light, against a background of historical events, it’s godless Nazism. Humanity must realize that all ‘isms’ – Nazism, Fascism, and Communism – which make the state a deity and trample the individual human being… will lead to the very results that Hitlerism produced.” (p93)
Full of graphic details, this book is not for the faint of heart, but us a good resource for day to day camp life and barbaric tortures the human psyche is capable of. It is also a testament to how much a person, a people, a nation can withstand when faced with deplorable treatment and conditions. (less)
Loved it! I felt like I was watching an episode. It would make a really good episode, especially the twist at the end. A must for any Weeping Angels f...moreLoved it! I felt like I was watching an episode. It would make a really good episode, especially the twist at the end. A must for any Weeping Angels fan!(less)
The Black Count tells the story of Alexandre Dumas, father of the novelist of the same name. Alex Dumas was born to a white aristocratic French father...moreThe Black Count tells the story of Alexandre Dumas, father of the novelist of the same name. Alex Dumas was born to a white aristocratic French father and a black mother on the French sugar colony of Saint-Domingue. When he was 14 he moved to France with his father and even as a mulatto he was a free man because "No one is [a] slave in France." There he took up the life of French nobility and later joined the army as one of Queen's Dragoons. He entered as a private and rose to general in command of the Army of the Alps.
After glorious (and not so glorious) battles, he traveled France then the Mediterranean with Napoleon. Upon returning from Egypt he was nearly shipwrecked off the Italian coast and was thrown into the dungeon for being a high-ranking French general.
He finally returns home to find the ideas of the French Revolution overthrown by Emperor Napoleon. Due to his skin color he lives out his last few years with none of the respect due a great general. Enter Alexandre Dumas, the novelist, who immortalizes his father's exploits in novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
The book is painstakingly researched, the author finding even the smallest traces of Alex Dumas' trail. He goes through great lengths to explain the world around Dumas to help the reader understand the true tragedy of his life. Besides Dumas' story the author includes tidbits about his research, but not so much they detract from the story.
Overall I enjoyed the book. The beginning was a bit slow given that the author gave the background of the setting and time period. His explanations of the French Revolution were easy to follow and the military exploits as exciting as a Dumas novel. The ending was sad (and abrupt), especially after learning about Dumas' life: a man who gave so much for his country is treated worst than dirt in return.
Reiss' book brings the great General Dumas to life again so that perhaps over 200 years later he will get the respect and recognition he deserves.(less)
I love the weeping angels, so I was psyched to find this book. It's not "Don't look back", it's "Don't blink", so that right there will make any Weepi...moreI love the weeping angels, so I was psyched to find this book. It's not "Don't look back", it's "Don't blink", so that right there will make any Weeping Angels fan unhappy. Was it as good as the episodes? No. Still worth a read though. I didn't think the Doctor was in it enough, but the part at the wedding was pretty funny, best part of the whole book.(less)
I was greatly looking forward to this book after learning it was being written. With Plagueis' brief mention in Episode III, I was curious whether Ana...moreI was greatly looking forward to this book after learning it was being written. With Plagueis' brief mention in Episode III, I was curious whether Anakin really had any hope of saving Padame'.
The story starts with Plagueis killing his master (almost as an afterthought), then takes the reader through his manipulations as part of the Intergalactic Banking Clan. He finally meets and ‘befriends’ Palpatine and then spends many pages spouting Sith doctrine. I know Luceno is doing this so the reader learns as well, but after a while he just needed to get on with it.
Anything with Palpatine as a main character is bound to be full of political intrigue and this book doesn’t disappoint. Eventually all the names, places, and faces get a bit confusing. He seems to be going through an elaborate set-up for Episode I. (Which is what this is meant to be.)
I wish Luceno had gone more into depth about Plagueis’ experiments with midi-chlorians. The few scenes on the topic are almost afterthoughts, “Oh yeah, Plagueis was trying to cheat death.” The author mentions during one experiment that Plagueis heals himself, but later in the book his is still injured. And Palpatine’s blow-up at the end seemed to come out of nowhere, like Luceno realized he needed to end the book.
Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about Plagueis, Palpatine, the Sith, and the fall of the Republic. (less)
The thing that most impressed me about this book was all the footnotes and sources. The author really did his research; he didn't just rehash what oth...moreThe thing that most impressed me about this book was all the footnotes and sources. The author really did his research; he didn't just rehash what others have said before.
Each chapter focuses on a different group of people: ship owners, ship builders, sailors, crew, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class passengers. (Also, I thought the character who opens the and closes the book ~no spoiler~ was an eerie touch.) Each chapter gives the background for a number of different people in each category, not just the famous ones, such as Andrews, Ismay, Astor, and the like. The book also follows up with the characters during the sinking and aftermath.
Besides first hand accounts of survivors, the book also sites newspaper articles, letting the reader see how the mainlands were dealing with the disaster. The end of the last chapter, to me was sadder than the sinking of the ship; the most poignant lines being " Survivors asked themselves.. why they had lived when so many others had perished. In many cases, their survival felt despicable. They knew that for them to live, it had been necessary for others to die..."
I gave this 4 stars only because the ending (after he gets back from Africa) seemed a little awkward and almost like an after thought.
I was impressed...moreI gave this 4 stars only because the ending (after he gets back from Africa) seemed a little awkward and almost like an after thought.
I was impressed by Doc's ingenuity and determination to get supplies where they were needed, be it up a mountain in Darfur or to places in Haiti. His writing style seemed down-to-earth and easy to read. It helped me to make more sense out of the situation in Darfur and also to learn about wells and filter system. The filter pot was so simple, yet so ingenious.
This book shows that any normal person with a good heart and determination can make a difference. With all the hubbub surrounding 'Three Cups of Tea', I hope Doc's organization is able to keep it's focus and bring water to those who need it.(less)
This book may only tell the story of 3 generations of women, but you get the feeling of traversing many centuries. The story begins high in the Tibeta...moreThis book may only tell the story of 3 generations of women, but you get the feeling of traversing many centuries. The story begins high in the Tibetan Himalayas in a small village lacking any modern conveniences. Modern, for 1910, that is. But it could have been 1810 or 1710. Life was hard but simple, and the author's grandmother was content. Her contentment and detachment from worldly life is felt in the narrative. Then in 1959 the Chinese took over and imposed Communism on the country. They sought to destroy Buddhism and the Tibetan social hierarchy. The author describes the brutality and humiliation inflicted on her grandparents were a poor monk and nun, not rich gurus. In the end the family makes a daring escape over the highest passes of the Himalayas to join the Dali Lama in India. To me, this was the most interesting part of the book.
Life in India seems harder than life in Tibet. Even though it is the 1960s, the family is crushing rocks manually to make gravel. The story centers more on the author's mother who is now a teenager. The narrative takes on her questioning and unsure nature.
The family eventually travels to Switzerland where 21st century Western life and technology is thrust upon them. Even a plastic glass of orange juice is unknown to them. The narrative shifts to the story of the author growing up with her Swiss dad and Tibetan mother and grandmother. Her modern Western childhood seems more than a generation removed from her mother's. I didn't like this part of the book as much. It didn't seem like there was much of a story to tell and that the author was looking for filler between major events.
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in Old Tibet, Free Tibet, and the plight of the refugees. It gives the reader a look at centuries of culture and the intimate lives of Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.(less)