6. Mississippi to Madrid: Memoir of a Black American in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade by James Yates - first book I read in my first history class in college. That semester the class (HISTORY 101 for History Majors) was spent learning all about the Spanish Civil War and this was what my professor started with as a bridge between American history and the conflict in Spain. Many POC who fought in the Lincoln Brigade would go on to serve in WWII and had more experience fighting Germany than their white counterparts because they had already seen the destruction the Nazis could do in war via Spain. Also a theme in the book is living life under Jim Crow and then going abroad to fight for another people's liberation. Can't recommend this one enough.
7. Night by Elie Wiesel - should be required reading for every high school freshman in the US. And every member of the US political realm.
8. How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana - ditto the sentiments in number 7.
9. Call the Midwife series by Jennifer Worth - while I do love the show, the memoirs of a mid-wife/district nurse in the poorest area of London after the war is a must read, especially in light of how the NHS is being used as a pawn in the Brexit/PM race. The second book doesn't deal with pregnancy or childbirth but does deal with people who are otherwise invisible.
10. Plenty of Time When We Get Home (Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War) by Kayla Williams - Kayla and Brian were friends, meeting through different times while both served in Afghanistan. Brian was involved in roadside bombing but nobody could know the depths of his injuries until much later. Kayla and Brian eventually fell in love and got married, but dealing with their own and each other's PTSD and Brian's physical injuries were challenging. Kayla and Brian are now working in the VA, hoping to create change in culture and attitude as well as policies that hinder a veteran's progress. I follow Kayla on Twitter and she is just a great person to highlight how women veterans are faring in the VA and what we can all do to help.
"A LUCKY CHILD: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy" is Thomas Buergenthal's story of survival against incredible odds during the Second World War, first at the Ghetto in Kielce, Poland (which was later wiped out by the Germans), Auschwitz (where he was imprisoned between August 1944 and January 1945, when he with other able bodied survivors were forced to march on foot in the depths of winter into Germany shortly before Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops), and Sachsenhausen, where he was liberated by the Soviets in April 1945. Thomas was by then 10 years old, the only child to have survived the Auschwitz Death March.
Burgenthal's story is a heart-searing, honest, and powerfully poignant account of the human cost of the Nazi Holocaust, and of the resilience of one of its survivors to endure, persevere, and make a life for himself in the U.S. as one of the world's leading international human rights law experts
I have read Night several times, and every time I read it I am reminded of why it is such a great book. I picked up some 9th grade English classes this school year and it was on the required reading list. I really looked forward to re-reading it with the students. It was amazing to watch them get drawn in to his story. They were shocked at the atrocities that were committed, were able to understand and follow Elie's journey and I had a few say they loved the book or that it was a good read.
It is such a powerful, well-written, and eloquent account of what Elie and so many other Jews went through during the Holocaust. If you haven't read it, it is definitely one that needs to be added to your TBR Bucket List. His use of internal dialogue, first person narrative, and reflection throughout the story pulls the reader in and keeps their attention. You become a witness to what happened. Beautiful. Powerful. Memorable. And one of my absolute favorite books of all time.