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review 2017-02-21 02:35
Book Review: My Bridges of Hope by Livia Bitton-Jackson
My Bridges of Hope - Livia Bitton-Jackson

I went into this book not really knowing what to expect — I’m not sure how it ended up on my family’s shelves, but I noticed it one day and added it to my to-read list for the future. Now, I have no idea where my copy of this book is, but luckily, the library had a copy. This is a memoir about a teenage girl’s coming of age after she survives the Holocaust and struggles to make a life for herself and make sense of the world after what she suffered, and after the turmoil that her country is put in post-World War II. It’s written in a very easy-to-read manner, so I can see this being a great introduction to older children and middle-graders as to what different people had to deal with during this time. It’s also a pretty quick read and told in short segments, so it would be easy to include in a Holocaust curriculum, at least in part.

 

This is apparently book 2 in a series, and I love that it follows the aftermath of the Holocaust, which I don’t think is talked about quite as much — or at least, my teachers never focused on it as much as the Holocaust itself. I’ve never read much about what happened to Slovakia after the war, so I enjoyed this book for giving me that perspective and teaching me more about all the different countries and people who were affected by the Holocaust, and how the surrender of Germany didn’t lead to immediately fixing anti-Semitism. Livia tells her story with painstaking honesty, and it hurt to see how roughly Jewish people were treated even after the war, and how hard it was for them to reunite with family members who had already emigrated to the United States or other countries. For some, it was even impossible.

 

Overall, I recommend this for someone who’s looking to learn more about this time period and what people had to deal with. In a way, it was heartening to read, because the community came together for each other and all supported one other so that they could make a better life for themselves. It’s still horrifying that any people were ever treated the way Jewish people were treated during this time, but reading about someone overcoming that hate and being an integral part in building up her community was heartwarming.

Source: www.purplereaders.com/?p=3418
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review 2017-01-01 22:27
KAROLINA'S TWINS by Ronald H. Balson
Karolina's Twins - Ronald H. Balson
Karolina's Twins
Ronald H. Balson
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN:  1250098378 (ISBN13: 9781250098375) 
 
  I found myself looking forward to picking up this book after putting it down. Balsom does well going between past and present throughout the story. He developed Lena's and Karolina's characters well, and I wanted to be there to help Lena fulfill her promise to Karolina. Balson did not shy away from describing the Ghetto, concentration camps, the risks of being in the underground resistance, and the impact of keeping those events secret from family members. A definite must read recommendation.
 
 
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review 2016-12-23 01:40
fictional account of one woman's life during the Holocaust
The Sugar Men - A Story of Holocaust Echoes - Ray Kingfisher

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book!

 

As I recently wrote in a review for another book in which a fictional story was set during a real-life tragedy (in that case, 9/11), it's tricky writing fiction with a horrific real-life event as the main event. There's a balance to be struck between keeping the facts of what really happened and the story you're trying to tell.

 

I wanted to really love The Sugar Men but found I wasn't fully invested in it. While the beginning hooked me right away, I found parts of the story implausible and wasn't able to connect with the characters very well. The flashbacks were the most engaging parts of the novel, and I think the story would have fared better had the present been contained to the beginning and ending of the novel.  

 

What I found most implausible was Susannah's journey back to Germany. With her illness, I don't think she would have been able to travel alone. I couldn't understand why she insisted on going alone. Why didn't she ask at least one of her kids to go with her? I also was surprised at how little her kids knew about her past. I can understand how she'd want to bury her past, but how do you keep all of that pain and anguish bottled up from people you love? I'd imagine it would have eventually spilled out long before it did.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I had a difficult time connecting with Susannah and her kids, hence the 3 stars. Since her kids didn't know their mother as well as they thought, I felt as a reader I didn't, either. And her kids -- the reader learns very little about them. They were just kind of there almost as props. 


On the plus side, the author researched the Holocaust thoroughly. I wanted more of Susannah's story when she was a kid, and I felt disappointed when the story swung back to the present. The time Susannah spent in a  concentration camp was described in such vivid horrific detail that it didn't feel like fiction; however, the rest of the story wasn't nearly as engaging. The flashbacks were what I wanted to read about the most.

 

We hear so much about Auschwitz that it's easy to forget there were other camps with their own atrocities. The author did well with setting the story in a different concentration camp.  

 

Overall, I'd still recommend The Sugar Men to anyone who's interested in learning more about the Holocaust because while Susannah is a fictional character, the author was able to put a face to this real-life tragedy.

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review 2016-11-29 16:48
Edelweiss Pirates: Operation Einstein (Volume 1)
Edelweiss Pirates: Operation Einstein (Volume 1) - Mark A. Cooper

Great book for teens who are high school and above it is set in the time of WW2 and is fun because Author Mark A. Copper mixes the reality of historic events with the incredible fiction and a bit of creative licensing with respect to the story line. There is enough truth however to be a mind expanding pleasant read for most teens male or female.

The characters are very well developed know their job within the story and all work in harmony to get that story told which with this detailed of a story line is difficult at best. Cooper pulls it off well and with irreverent sometimes wickedly funny runs on his prose.

I really think he has a great talent for dialoge that brings out the pathos of the characters while allowing us a glimpse at some of the nuances that make them more interesting then passive, perfect people.

The interesting part is that it is marked as Volume 1. I hope to read more of the series, the author left us hanging when a character mentions Fritz gets captured by the Nazi's.

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review 2016-11-20 09:45
a must read
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning - Timothy Snyder

In this epic history of extermination and survival, Timothy Snyder presents a new explanation of the great atrocity of the twentieth century, and reveals the risks that we face in the twenty-first. Based on new sources from eastern Europe and forgotten testimonies from Jewish survivors, Black Earth recounts the mass murder of the Jews as an event that is still close to us, more comprehensible than we would like to think, and thus all the more terrifying.
The Holocaust began in a dark but accessible place, in Hitler's mind, with the thought that the elimination of Jews would restore balance to the planet and allow Germans to win the resources they desperately needed. Such a worldview could be realized only if Germany destroyed other states, so Hitler's aim was a colonial war in Europe itself. In the zones of statelessness, almost all Jews died. A few people, the righteous few, aided them, without support from institutions. Much of the new research in this book is devoted to understanding these extraordinary individuals. The almost insurmountable difficulties they faced only confirm the dangers of state destruction and ecological panic. These men and women should be emulated, but in similar circumstances few of us would do so.
By overlooking the lessons of the Holocaust, Snyder concludes, we have misunderstood modernity and endangered the future. The early twenty-first century is coming to resemble the early twentieth, as growing preoccupations with food and water accompany ideological challenges to global order. Our world is closer to Hitler's than we like to admit, and saving it requires us to see the Holocaust as it was -- and ourselves as we are. Groundbreaking, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, Black Earth reveals a Holocaust that is not only history but warning.
. What did I think of it:
five stars
In this epic history of extermination and survival, Timothy Snyder presents a new explanation of the great atrocity of the twentieth century, and reveals the risks that we face in the twenty-first. Based on new sources from eastern Europe and forgotten testimonies from Jewish survivors, Black Earth recounts the mass murder of the Jews as an event that is still close to us, more comprehensible than we would like to think, and thus all the more terrifying.

The Holocaust began in a dark but accessible place, in Hitler's mind, with the thought that the elimination of Jews would restore balance to the planet and allow Germans to win the resources they desperately needed. Such a worldview could be realized only if Germany destroyed other states, so Hitler's aim was a colonial war in Europe itself. In the zones of statelessness, almost all Jews died. A few people, the righteous few, aided them, without support from institutions. Much of the new research in this book is devoted to understanding these extraordinary individuals. The almost insurmountable difficulties they faced only confirm the dangers of state destruction and ecological panic. These men and women should be emulated, but in similar circumstances few of us would do so.
By overlooking the lessons of the Holocaust, Snyder concludes, we have misunderstood modernity and endangered the future. The early twenty-first century is coming to resemble the early twentieth, as growing preoccupations with food and water accompany ideological challenges to global order. Our world is closer to Hitler's than we like to admit, and saving it requires us to see the Holocaust as it was -- and ourselves as we are. Groundbreaking, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, Black Earth reveals a Holocaust that is not only history but warning.
. What did I think of it:
five stars
Chilling, gripping account of the history that should never be forgotten, nor should the ones that lost their lives in this unspeakable tragedy , Mr. Snyder has a way that he brings to life before your very eyes this epic history of extermination and survival. It pulls on everything, your very soul, heart and emotions, as well as being Emotional ,dramatic, powerful, and compelling , while its not an easy book to pick up and read , and its best to read a few chapters a day its still a book that I think everyone should pick up at lest once in their life to read. that said I would love to also say that I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest opinion and review and that these are 100 % my own thoughts to what is truly a great book


, nor should the ones that lost their lives in this unspeakable tragedy , Mr. Snyder has a way that he brings to life before your very eyes this epic history of extermination and survival. It pulls on everything, your very soul, heart and emotions, as well as being Emotional ,dramatic, powerful, and compelling , while its not an easy book to pick up and read , and its best to read a few chapters a day its still a book that I think everyone should pick up at lest once in their life to read. that said I would love to also say that I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest opinion and review and that these are 100 % my own thoughts to what is truly a great book

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