Voices of the Second World War’s Children, Curated by Svetlana Alexievich

Book review: Last Witnesses, by Svetlana Alexievich (Amazon / Book Depository) These pictures, these lights. My riches. The treasure of what I lived through… Last Witnesses is the latest work from incomparable Belarusian journalist and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich to be translated from Russian to English. In the vein of her other books, this oral history collects stories told from one of Russia’s immense twentieth … Continue reading Voices of the Second World War’s Children, Curated by Svetlana Alexievich

The Life and Work of Virginia Hall: An Amazing Untold Spy Story

Book review: A Woman of No Importance, by Sonia Purnell (Amazon / Book Depository) To meet Virginia was clearly never to forget her… She was a woman ahead of her time who has much to say to us now. American spy Virginia Hall is one of the many heroes whose contribution to history has gone unsung, despite hers being extraordinary almost beyond belief. Historian Sonia … Continue reading The Life and Work of Virginia Hall: An Amazing Untold Spy Story

A Holocaust Survivor’s Letter to Her Father

Book review: But You Did Not Come Back, by Marceline Loridan-Ivens (Amazon / Book Depository) I was quite a cheerful person, you know, in spite of what happened to us…But I’m changing. It isn’t bitterness, I’m not bitter. It’s just as if I were already gone…I don’t belong here anymore. Perhaps it’s trite to say that a book will haunt you, particularly one about the … Continue reading A Holocaust Survivor’s Letter to Her Father

Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

Book review: The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich Amazon 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 … Continue reading Women’s Voices Tell the Stories of Russia at War

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

Review: A Train in Winter, by Caroline Moorehead (Amazon / Book Depository) 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 … Continue reading A Group Biography Tells Women’s Stories from the French Resistance

Updating the Legacy of a War Heroine

Book review: Lindell’s List by Peter Hore (Amazon / Book Depository) 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 … 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 (Amazon / Book Depository) 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 … Continue reading “He who lives will see.”

On Living and Forgiving

Book review: Surviving the Angel of Death, by Eva Mozes Kor (Amazon / Book Depository) If you’re familiar with any Holocaust or Auschwitz documentaries, you’ve probably seen or heard of Eva Mozes Kor. She’s the living badass who, as a child along with her twin Miriam, survived the infamous Dr. Mengele’s nightmarish experiments on twins in Auschwitz. She later immigrated to Israel and then on … Continue reading On Living and Forgiving

Ladies of the City of Light’s Darkest Days

Book review: Les Parisiennes, by Anne Sebba (Amazon / Book Depository) Anne Sebba writes in her extensive history of the lives of Parisian women during WWII that it’s our task to understand, not to judge. And the women whose lives are covered range across such a broad spectrum, from those with selfless motives and actions to those who didn’t act as honorably as might be … Continue reading Ladies of the City of Light’s Darkest Days

A Found Memoir of Running and Refuge

Book review: Asylum, by Moriz Scheyer (Amazon / Book Depository) Viennese author Moriz Scheyer completed his memoir of being wrenched from his life as an editor and critic for a major newspaper in Vienna and hiding out in France even before World War II had ended. Considering that, it’s incredible that he had so much perspective about what was going on in the war and abroad. … Continue reading A Found Memoir of Running and Refuge

Drowning in the past

Book review: The Drowned Man, by Brendan James Murray (Amazon / Book Depository) A chance meeting in a fish and chip shop with a veteran sailor of the WWII battle cruiser HMAS Australia was the catalyst that eventually led to this extensively, even exhaustively, researched story. Brendan James Murray encounters an elderly man who proudly tells a brief story about a gay sailor who was … Continue reading Drowning in the past

A French Village, Under Occupation

Book review: One Day in France, by Jean-Marie Borzeix (Amazon / Book Depository) A history written in rich, lovely language (even in translation!) about the author’s interest in digging up information about the tragic events that took place on a single day in a French village, when German soldiers murdered several (likely) Resistance members and probably an additional person, a Jewish man who may or may … Continue reading A French Village, Under Occupation