fascinating, but I really was not in the mood for a lengthy biography. Plus the story of a Nazi leader rising to power and learning how to more effectfascinating, but I really was not in the mood for a lengthy biography. Plus the story of a Nazi leader rising to power and learning how to more effectively hate others is a pretty depressing tale. Maybe I'll come back to this some day when I'm in the mood for this kind of thing. From what I've read, it appears well-researched and the writing style is engaging. I didn't think I'd be that interested in Goebbels early life, but Longerich makes it clear how these events set up the rest of Goebbels life....more
I had a hard time getting into this story of 3 American women during 1941. The portrayal of that time period is one we don't see as often as stories tI had a hard time getting into this story of 3 American women during 1941. The portrayal of that time period is one we don't see as often as stories told after the U. S. entered WWII, but I keep put finding myself zoning out....more
Really solid look at the history of atomic weapons, and since it's written for young adults it's not too long. The narrative style also keeps it niceReally solid look at the history of atomic weapons, and since it's written for young adults it's not too long. The narrative style also keeps it nice and suspenseful as we learn a lot about mid-20th century espionage.
The only disappointing thing to me was as a fan of the show Manhattan, you learn just how much the show plays fast and loose with history and science....more
Not as poetic as Elie Wiesel's Night, but still an amazing account of a Holocaust survivor and his drive to not only survive but thrive when he comesNot as poetic as Elie Wiesel's Night, but still an amazing account of a Holocaust survivor and his drive to not only survive but thrive when he comes to America after World War II.
This one is definitely written for students, so some of the explanations are a little repetitive, but the audio is really wonderful with Lesser reading the opening and closing sections and actor Jonathan Silverman reading the rest. This is a thorough and well-produced affair....more
Sepetys tells the little-know story of Lithuanias rounded up by the Soviet secret police and whisked off to work camps and prisons where they were forSepetys tells the little-know story of Lithuanias rounded up by the Soviet secret police and whisked off to work camps and prisons where they were forced to endure unbelievably harsh conditions simply because they might challenge Soviet communism. Our narrator through this world of horrors is 15-year-old Lina, who with her mother and 10-year-old brother is sent off to a work camp in southern Siberia and then to the Arctic Circle. The situations they endured were absolutely horrible and the reasons they were sent there were ridiculous.
Sometimes the narrative seems just a touch too neat, but Sepetys interviewed many survivors, so I think it's more the way she chose to weave the details together and not the details themselves. Mostly though I was just touched by how she brought this story of persecution home to me, a librarian, just like one of the characters deported in the book. Somehow we've gotten used to deporting people of a certain religion or heritage, but here they just sent away everyone who was smart and likely to speak up against Stalin's stupidity. That would likely be me. Yikes....more
This slim volume lays out the stories of several of Anne Frank's classmates at the Jewish Lyceum, including the author. Their stories are quite variedThis slim volume lays out the stories of several of Anne Frank's classmates at the Jewish Lyceum, including the author. Their stories are quite varied, from the author who managed to hide in plain sight, to a girl who ended up in the concentration camps before Anne's family and reunited with her briefly at Bergen-Belsen. A good supplement to any unit on the Holocaust and teaching Anne Frank's famous diary, this volume fills in the gap of what happens after a hiding family is discovered, or what happens after the war, when state-sanctioned racism is no longer the law of the land, when so many of your friends and family have been killed, and your home doesn't look like it did before the War. It also brings up the important point that survivors of the Holocaust are growing old and will soon be only read about in history books, so Coster hopes that putting down his story and those of his classmates will prove to the world that this terrible atrocity really did happen, so that it will never happen again....more
A Dutch Christian family works tirelessly for the Resistance during WWII, hiding Jews and others who would be sent to the concentration camps. The stoA Dutch Christian family works tirelessly for the Resistance during WWII, hiding Jews and others who would be sent to the concentration camps. The story is told by the middle-aged spinster daughter who was the mastermind of the operation, but also the most honest with her reservations and selfish inclinations. What an amazing story. What an amazing family. What an amazing God....more
I can't decide if I dislike this one or grudgingly love it. Felix is a young Jewish boy in 1942 who has spent the last few years hiding in a remote CaI can't decide if I dislike this one or grudgingly love it. Felix is a young Jewish boy in 1942 who has spent the last few years hiding in a remote Catholic orphanage, sheltered from the events of World War II going on around him. When Nazi's come to the orphanage to burn all the Jewish books, Felix decides it's up to him to save his parents - Jewish booksellers - from having their store destroyed by the Nazis, not having any idea that losing their books is the least of his parents' worries.
The original conceit means most of the book has an Amelia Bedelia meets the Holocaust feel to it, as Felix makes wrong assumption after wrong assumption and unknowingly nearly gets himself killed several times, which is just a little too heartbreaking and wrong feeling. On the other hand, as the truth of the events going on around him begins to dawn on Felix my heart went out to this poor boy who's just beginning to realize that his parents may already be dead. At first I thought he was just foolish, but even after he begins to comprehend the truth, he's still willing to take big risks to protect those he cares about.
This was a really emotionally challenging read for me, probably partly because I did most of the book in one long stretch, so I'm still on the fence about whether I'll read the rest of the series. I think most of the reason I struggled with it, though, is because I'm an adult and instantly knew how wrong Felix's assumptions were. Kids, especially younger kids who haven't learned a ton about the Holocaust yet, may draw the same conclusions as Felix and take the same emotional journey he does....more
I've wanted to read this book since shortly after it came out because it was advertised as a great new sci-fi title, but I think that's a real disservI've wanted to read this book since shortly after it came out because it was advertised as a great new sci-fi title, but I think that's a real disservice to the book because if you know Philip Roth's other books, you know he's not a sci-fi writer, and, aside from the alternate history aspect, this doesn't feel like a sci-fi book.
The Plot Against America reads like historical fiction detailing the life of the Roth family in Newark, New Jersey in the early '40s from the perspective of the younger son, Philip (the autobiographical connections are obvious), with the one big difference that Nazi-sympathizer Charles Lindbergh runs against FDR for President in 1940 and wins. Reading the story of what follows gave me the same feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach that I get watching the early scenes of Schindler's List when the Jews are forced to relocate to the ghetto, but they're still alive. Nobody knows exactly what to expect, but it's clearly not good. The Jews of Newark live in the same sense of fear when they realize that the President of the United States no longer has their best interests at heart. For that reason this is a hard, but very worthwhile, read.
My biggest problem with this book that the ending left me vaguely unfilled as the resolution and it's possible explanations aren't as well constructed as the rest of the story. Still, on the whole, this is a well-written book that will definitely appeal to World War II fiction fans, historical fiction fans, and probably many more....more
Lately, it seems like the only romances I read are what I like to call "church lady romances". Basically they can have steamy sex scenes, but those onLately, it seems like the only romances I read are what I like to call "church lady romances". Basically they can have steamy sex scenes, but those only happen after the hero and heroine get married. In order to have a good story, this means that the main characters usually get married at the beginning of the story for reasons other than romantic love.
In this case ex-con Will Parker is desperate for a job and a home on the eve of WWII. When Crazy Elly Dinsmore advertises for a husband, Will sees the potential in her long-neglected farm. Through helping Elly take care of her children and working with her to fix up her dilapidated farm, Will quickly learns to love her, and eventually this woman who's lived a similarly friendless existence learns to love him too. I should also mention that the next most important character in the book after Will and Elly is the town librarian, an old-school shusher and advocate of free access to information who befriends Will and eventually Elly, easing their transition to rejoin the community of Whitmore, Georgia as upstanding citizens.
The really rewarding thing about this story is that for characters who have had lives so deprived of unconditional love, Elly and Will are so willing to love each other without exception. On the other hand, because so much of the story focuses on the long emotional journey of getting these two to belief that another person could love them, the plot is pretty slow. There's a little suspense in the last hundred or so pages, but you're really going to pick this one up if you want an emotionally rewarding story from a simpler time....more
This is like the American Girl books all grown up. Two best friends in WWII do all they can to help Britain defeat the Nazis. One is a pilot in the ciThis is like the American Girl books all grown up. Two best friends in WWII do all they can to help Britain defeat the Nazis. One is a pilot in the civilian reserves, not allowed to be a fighter pilot because she's a woman. Another is a wireless operator and a spy. The story begins as her confession to her German captors of all she knows of England's war efforts.
The story starts slowly as Agent Verity tries to buy time by telling her pilot friend's story, dragging out her written confession as long as possible before she gets to the really sensitive information, so if you're not into historical fiction, it may be hard to get through the beginning. However, this is a story that rewards patience, and a lot is revealed piece by piece as the story of these girls' friendship and their role in the war is slowly unraveled. Some of this was because of my very pregnant (and therefore hormonal) state, but I bawled through the last several chapters as the story came to its wrenching conclusion.
The reason it feels a little like an American Girl book is that Wein clearly did research about how females were allowed to help the war effort in the 1940s and is eager to show it off. That isn't a bad thing, though, it only makes it hit home just how hard these girls' lives were, and how dangerous WWII was for everyone in Europe, not just those fighting on the front lines.
While the historical details are great, too, this book really worked for me as a story of friendship put to the test and the hard choices that are presented to people in the time of war. Definitely worth checking out....more