James M. Deem

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James M. Deem I am currently finishing THE PRISONERS OF BREENDONK, the first English language book about a little-known Belgium concentration camp and its prisoners…moreI am currently finishing THE PRISONERS OF BREENDONK, the first English language book about a little-known Belgium concentration camp and its prisoners. Although relatively few prisoners were incarcerated there over the course of World War II—never more than 660, and that number for only a very brief time—its very smallness, "which made it possible for each prisoner to be 'dealt with' individually," turned it into a camp of terror. One man who survived Breendonk wrote that although the camp "had no gas chambers, no incinerators . . . Breendonk was no less notorious, no less a black hell of the most barbarous terror." Another claimed that he "would prefer to spend nineteen months at Buchenwald than nineteen days at Breendonk." A historian describing the concentration camp of Auschwitz I before the nearby extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was built wrote that the camp "was widely known as a site of imprisonment, extreme brutality, starvation, illness, and high mortality rates, including killings by various forms of torture, shooting, and hanging." The same description could be applied to Breendonk, only on a smaller scale. The book will be published in April 2015 and will feature over 225 photographs, many of the prisoners and their families. It is the most challenging and moving book I have ever researched.(less)
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So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
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A small book with a simple autobiographical story that still sears in my mind: how two boys with tragic family lives come together as friends (to escape momentarily from the "shipwrecks" that life and their families have caused) and then lose track o ...more
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