As in his other photographic history books (Abraham Lincoln being the most well known to me), in We Will Not Be Silent, Russell Freedman tells a true story with the added addition of photographs to give the characters life. In this case, he shares about the brave students in Germany who stood up to Hitler, Hans and Sophie Scholl. The Scholl children published anti-Nazi brochures and worked to spread the understanding of the danger of Hitler’s policies. Ultimately, they paid for their bravery with their lives.Continue Reading
Beatrice Nash is an educated, talented, and pleasant woman. But life in 1914 England does not give much credence to those qualities when she has been left orphaned and impoverished at the old maid age of 22 without any marriage prospects. To make matters worse, she must rely on her unfriendly relatives for assistance in finding a job. Her position as Latin teacher to the small school in Kent is tenuous, and she can only hope that somehow she can find the means to get ahead of her fate.
Meanwhile, Hugh Grange visits his aunt in Kent this summer, along with his cousin Daniel, and the two friends find themselves in a new situation as the country turns in the tides of war.
Yes, The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson does have a romance in it, and the tea parlor conversations in it make it a delightful woman’s novel. But in the tradition of Downton Abbey, we also face the dichotomy of the classes during an intriguing changing era when the world is soon to be turned upside down by war. Add in a very timely discussion of refugees from Belgium, and I found The Summer Before the War to be a delightful British novel for capturing my Downton Abbey-starved mind.Continue Reading
Trapped Behind Nazi Lines by Eric Brown is a middle grade nonfiction book about a company of medics and nurses that, while flying to Italy during World War II, got lost in the clouds and ended up crash landing in Nazi-occupied Albania.
The story tells how upon crash landing their airplane, they were able to find a way to villages and walk from where they landed to the coast, avoiding the Nazis and the Nazi sympathizers that would have killed them upon discovery. Their story was truly amazing. More than 20 people were trapped in Albania in this crash, and yet none of them died and none of them were captured by Nazis. It took a long time to sneak to the coast safely, but all of them were able to return to Italy during the war.Continue Reading
I am not an expert in battle history nor even early modern world history. That said, I’ve always been fascinated by Waterloo due to its appearance in many familiar novels that I’ve enjoyed such as Les Miserables and Vanity Fair. Waterloo seems to have been a defining moment for European history, and Waterloo by Alan Forrest does an amazing job of explain just why it has become so.
Alan Forrest’s Waterloo is not a strict history of the battle itself. Rather, Waterloo examines how Napoleon got to Waterloo, what happened during the battle itself, and then what the impact of Waterloo has been since that time. Only one single chapter discussed the battle itself! Because so much of the book was about the impact, I really enjoyed reading the book.Continue Reading