The author's mother and father have lived in Zimbabwe for many decades and now sees a nation coming apart. What was once the continent's most prosperoThe author's mother and father have lived in Zimbabwe for many decades and now sees a nation coming apart. What was once the continent's most prosperous and best-educated country has become a nightmare of poverty, brutality, corruption and death. His parents refuse to leave. His mother is a doctor and his father no longers works and is in bad health. It was after his father died when he discovered his mother's World War II medals: her father's World War I medals; and his father's Zimbabwean Police Reserve medals, his radio unit badges, his old military insignia from World War II, his Polish First Armored Division cap badge and shoulder flashes. He later was able to find the 1939-45 Star, Defense medal, and France and Germany Star, and War Medal 1039-45 (with more to follow from the Polish army).
After reading this book I plan to read earlier books by Mr. Godwin.
Bruce Chatwin left his place of employment and went to Patagonia as a result of a brontosaurus which was found by his grandmother's cousin, Charley MiBruce Chatwin left his place of employment and went to Patagonia as a result of a brontosaurus which was found by his grandmother's cousin, Charley Milward the Sailor. The Brontosaurus never made it to London except as a putrefied mess. The bones are in a museum and cousin Charley had posted a scrap of skin to Chatwin's grandmother. Chatwin says that "never in my life have I wanted anything as I wanted that piece of skin". Unfortunately, his mother tossed it!
And so, later in life he chose to go to Patagonia, and we are the ones who benefit from the many varied people he meets, and the stories he hears and writes about which are varied, serious, humorous and kept my reading. A very good travel story....more
I have read many, many Holocaust stories but this one was unlike any I had read before. His mother had told her son, five-year-old Alex Kurzem that thI have read many, many Holocaust stories but this one was unlike any I had read before. His mother had told her son, five-year-old Alex Kurzem that they would all die the next day and not to be afraid. He escaped in the morning and saw his family shot by the soldiers after being placed in a large hole with many others. After running away he was picked up by a Nazi who was the only one who knew he was Jewish. He became a mascot and "honorary corporal" in the SS with his own uniform, and stayed with this group until liberation. But what began as a desperate bid for survival became a performance that delighted the highest ranks of the Nazi elite. And so a young Jewish boy ended up starring in a Nazi propaganda film.
After the war he moved to Australia, married and had children. It was in 1997 that he began his quest to remember what had happened to him and his family. Oddley enough, many of the Nazi's who knew him were now living in Australia and threatened him to remain quiet. It was to his son that he was able to remember his family members and what had really happened to him so many years ago. ...more
Elizabeth Richardson was a Red Cross volunteer from Indiana who worked as a Clubmobile hostess during World War II, handing out free doughnuts, coffeeElizabeth Richardson was a Red Cross volunteer from Indiana who worked as a Clubmobile hostess during World War II, handing out free doughnuts, coffee, cigarettes, and gum to American soldiers in England and France. It wasn't always easy since equipment would break down, they frequently were out in the cold and rain, and occasionally V-1 and V-2 rockets rained down over London. There were literally hundreds of soldiers who received these services every night and both the soldiers and the Red Cross volunteers remembered the names of each other when they met again. It was often cold and the doughnut maker would break down but these American volunteers did this for the duration of the war, going from place to place, and are fondly remembered by the GI's who utilized this service.
The story is told in letters by Elizabeth which she wrote to her parents and friends. She was very articulate and her letters really open up to the reader what England was like during the war, and the difficulties they often had in being able to fix thousands of doughtnuts for the "boys'. In her last letter she told her mother whe would be flying to Paris on Wednesday. The plane crashed and she and the pilot were both killed. This is not a spoiler since you know this from the beginning but it was so tragic since the war was over. She was buried at the Normandy American cemetery. First Lady Nancy Reagan placed a wreath on the grave. In 2007, six women who served with her, went to France to place to also placed a wreath on her grave.
As sad as the ending was, I found this book very interesting and informative about a subject I knew little about. These women actually perfomed a wonderful service for the soldiers who never forgot them.