What You Wear Can Change Your Life: Sartorial Lessons in a Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz

Book review: Measure of a Man, by Martin Greenfield with Wynton Hall Martin Greenfield was born Maximilian Grünfeld in Pavlovo, then part of Czechoslovakia and now in Ukraine. At age fifteen, he and his family were deported to Auschwitz, like so many other Jewish families in this part of the world during WWII. The infamous Dr. Mengele separated him and his father from his mother … Continue reading What You Wear Can Change Your Life: Sartorial Lessons in a Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz

Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

Book review: The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich Yet another book about war? What for? There have been a thousand wars—small and big, known and unknown. And still more has been written about them. But…it was men writing about men—that much was clear at once. Everything we know about war we know with “a man’s voice.” When I came to polish up this … Continue reading Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

A Family Broken Apart by War and a Stylistic Trek Across Europe

Book review: Maybe Esther, by Katja Petrowskaja The train station was recently built in the middle of this city, and despite the peace the station was inhospitable, as though it embodied all the losses that no train could outrun, one of the most inhospitable places in our Europe, united as it is forward and backward, yet still sharply bounded, a place that always feels drafty and … Continue reading A Family Broken Apart by War and a Stylistic Trek Across Europe

A Group Biography Tells Women’s Stories from the French Resistance

Review: A Train in Winter, by Caroline Moorehead They had spent the months in Romainville very close together and it was as a train full of friends, who knew each other’s strengths and frailties, who had kept each other company at moments of terrible anguish, and who had fallen into a pattern of looking after each other, that they set out for the unknown. Historian Caroline … Continue reading A Group Biography Tells Women’s Stories from the French Resistance

Upcoming New Nonfiction in 2018, Part 2

One post of anticipated reads for 2018 wasn’t enough to include them all, especially with so many exciting -sounding ones already on the release calendar. Here, a dozen more of the year’s upcoming reads I think are worth taking note of, mainly from the latter part of the year. Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found (Gilbert King, … Continue reading Upcoming New Nonfiction in 2018, Part 2

2017 Favorites, Published July-December

Photo of Baroque bookshelves in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar, via Wikimedia Commons I couldn’t confine my favorites to one year end best list. I need three! First, here’s the companion to my midyear best-so-far-titles published in 2017 list. Next week, my favorites read but not published this year, plus a final roundup of my favorites from the whole year’s new releases. … Continue reading 2017 Favorites, Published July-December

Dark Roots and the Myth or Reality of a European Family History

Book review: A Crime in the Family, by Sacha Batthyany Swiss journalist Sacha Batthyany heard a disturbing rumor: near the end of the Second World War, his Aunt Margit was alleged to have participated in the massacre of hundreds of Jewish prisoners in the small Austrian town of Rechnitz. The crime took place during a party at her home attended by Nazi officers. He’s haunted, … Continue reading Dark Roots and the Myth or Reality of a European Family History

Memory, History, And Family Roots in Latvia

Book review: Among the Living and the Dead, by Inara Verzemnieks “This is why I had journeyed to my grandmother’s lost village, nestled at the edge of Latvia, which is itself nestled at the edge of Europe’s psychic north, south, east and west, or, as Pope Innocent III described it…’the edge of the known world’.  Because I imagined, maybe, I might find her again in the old … Continue reading Memory, History, And Family Roots in Latvia

The Lost Libraries of Europe

The portal of the Berlin City Library (Berliner Stadtbibliothek) at Breite Straße 32-34 in Berlin-Mitte. It shows steel plates with 117 variations of the letter “A”, created by Fritz Kühn in 1965. By Beek100 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons Book review: The Book Thieves, by Anders Rydell This is to a very great extent a story of dispersal – about … Continue reading The Lost Libraries of Europe

Letters from a Life, Poems from the Camp

Book review: Dancing on a Powder Keg, by Ilse Weber In 1942, Jewish author Ilse Weber was deported from Prague along with her husband Willi and the younger of her two sons to Theresienstadt, the Jewish ghetto and the Nazis’ “model” concentration camp, trotted out as a fake village for events like Red Cross visits. Beginning in 1933 as political and social changes began taking root … Continue reading Letters from a Life, Poems from the Camp

Updating the Legacy of a War Heroine

Book review: Lindell’s List by Peter Hore Early on in reading Lindell’s List, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to keep track of all the people who were in some way involved in the stories and narrative, whether integrally or peripherally. There were so many introduced in rapid succession, and sometimes they’d be gone just as quickly, and I got lost. I … Continue reading Updating the Legacy of a War Heroine

“He who lives will see.”

Book review: War Diaries, 1939-1945, by Astrid Lindgren, translated by Sarah Death Astrid Lindgren, the beloved author of the Pippi Longstocking series, lived through the Second World War with her family in Stockholm, Sweden. She was just beginning her writing career, and in wartime got a job in the censorship office. Lindgren began recording daily life with “Oh! War broke out today. Nobody could believe it,” on that … Continue reading “He who lives will see.”