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Ann’s review of Mila 18
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Jun 20, 2010 12:27PM
I just came across your review today. I read Mila 18 in the 60's when I was a teenager. I gave it a 3 star rating for various reasons.
As a history buff, I realized quite early how bias gets into history texts sometimes intentially and sometimes not. With historical novels I find it difficult sometimes when I disagree with the description of historical events. Authors who write historical fiction, unlike historians, can let their perspective be completely encompassed in the novel. (Some historians do this also but can lose the respect of many readers.)
I did not know much about the Warsaw ghetto so I had no significant perspectives of my own. I would agree that the character developement wasn't the best. I thought the dialogue was a little flat but the plot was interesting. I would also agree that there did not seem to be the intensity that you would think might be present. But on the other hand, that is just an opinion.
Regardless of the detail, we know what happened in the Warsaw ghetto was beyond most people's experience. I try to look at it from a Jewish perspective as I already know my own perspective.
When I read historical fiction I'm careful to remember that I am reading fiction. I enjoyed Exodus but I knew it related to a controversial political issue which the western powers were responsible for implementing. I'm sure the Arab world would have a much different opinion.
I also read Trinity which I just found O.K. Recently, I have met two Irish history instructors that thought "Trinity" was very unbalanced and was a "disgrace". I was quite young when I read that book also, so do not remember much a about it.
I have read some history of the Irish in Canada but I'm afraid my knowledge of Irish history is pretty limited. I will read at least one history book of Ireland and I've already picked up the Oxford Companion To Irish History to act as some sort of counterbalance.
I guess this long winded comment could of have been done in one sentence. There will always be a considerable degree of bias in historical novels, and even history texts have a bias because we are all influenced by our culture and environment.
Thanks for speaking up.
Aug 11, 2010 11:40PM
I will just HAVE to disagree with you!!!!!
"EXODUS" was a hundred times worse.
(Now you can breath easy - I just wanted to scare you with that opening sentence.)
These books have two things against them.
1.They are historical fiction.
2. They are propaganda.
So sadly not striving for authenticity as other writers indeed do when dealing with this volatile material.
"Exodus" is the worst.
I read it in my teens and found it quite sacrine. As I got older and read more widely and worked with a gracious Palestinian lady in Sydney's Hospital Interpreter Service who had actually experienced the events of 1947/48 as a young girl, I had my suspicions confirmed that there were many sides to this story and Mr Uris certainly was NOT letting on about them.
Just as the Nazis called the Jewish Freedom Fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto "gangsters", so the Jews labelled the Palestinians "terrorists", when they themselves had used similar tactics in 1947/48. I am not taking sides here because no side is perfect and you have to listen to both. And one person's Freedom Fighter can be another person's Terrorist.
I later joined the Holocaust Committee in Sydney.
Anna Frank was my guideline, not Leon Uris!!!I like to think she would see clearly the many injustices suffered by the Palestinian people.
I haven't remaked on the failings of some historical fiction here, but I can see you are right onto them!
I will have to echo Glen and say "Thanks for speaking up."
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