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review 2019-04-14 12:17
A must read. Unmissable.
Nuremberg's Voice of Doom: The Autobiography of the Chief Interpreter at History's Greatest Trials - Wolfe Frank,Paul Hooley

My thanks to Rosie Croft and to Pen & Sword for sending me a hardback copy of this book, which I freely chose to review and I can’t recommend enough.

Often, when we read books on important historical subjects we feel we have learned something that others should also know about, something that should not be forgotten by the new generations, to avoid mistakes being repeated or to give credit to people who played an important role in ensuring a better future for all. This book combines both of these aspects, and much more.

Having read about the Nuremberg Trials, watched movies, and seen them mentioned often in other settings, I was curious when I saw this book. I’d never paid much heed to the role of the interpreters at the trials, but now that I’ve been doing translations for a while (and I know it’s a very different type of work), I’ve become much more aware of how important accuracy is, and in that case, with all the legal requirements and speed also playing a part, even more so. The fact that Wolfe Frank was the main and star interpreter (not that he ever says so himself, but it is an easy conclusion from the accolades and endorsements he received) at the trials would have made it an interesting book already, but his adventures and the man are fascinating in their own right.

The story of why the book had never come to light before (that links to his final years and his sad circumstances) sounds like the stuff of fiction: the memoirs of a very important and fascinating man locked up in an attic, with nobody fully aware of what was there, for twenty-five years. And then, what a life! If this was a work of fiction many readers would think that the author had gone too far stretching the suspension of disbelief. It feels as if Frank had lived several lives in one, and they all make for a very compelling read.

Paul Hooley does a great job of interfering little with the original materials, while providing sufficient information and background to ensure that the memoirs read smoothly, and we don’t need to keep searching for explanations of terminology or for details about people and places mentioned. His vast amount of research is evident but non-intrusive, and he also includes pictures to do with Frank’s life and with the trials. They all add to the reading experience, and I found particularly enlightening the drawings indicating how the courtroom worked, the places all the key players occupied, and the annotated pictures, originally from other books. Mostly, Hooley allows Frank’s words to speak for themselves, and he comes across as an intelligent, funny, witty, sharp, and matter-of-fact man, who was charming, could turn his hand at anything and do it well, knew how to get his own way often, for whom Justice (with capital letters) was truly important, but who had no great respect for rules, regulations or authority for their own sake, and could not abide fools or bullies gladly. He loved adventures and living in the fast-lane, but not when it came to putting other people’s lives at risk. He lived through some terrible events and put up with things that many of us can’t even imagine, but he maintained his dignity and is a perfect example of grace under pressure.

I cannot summarise the whole book and his life in a review, and in fact there is another book about his later adventures in Germany, which I have already secured a copy of, but if you love spy books, and are a fun of James Bond (I am not, by the way), you will want to read this book. He was not a spy, at least in the sense we have become familiar with through books and movies, but he did many of the things we would expect a spy to do, and many more. The part of the book about the trial is fascinating in its own right. The setting up of simultaneous translation, which had not been successfully used or established before, is a must for anybody interested in how international courts and organisations work at a practical level. Even though Frank makes light of many things, it is clear that he was serious about this, and he took the experience to heart (just imagine having to listen to hours and hours of descriptions of the crimes committed, while trying to do a job, and you will get an idea of how harrowing that must have been). He talks about Otto Ohlendorf, Chief of the Special Action Group in the East —this was part of the Subsequent Proceedings where he was the Chief Interpreter— and explains why he was one of the most chilling individuals he had to listen to, his pride when explaining his method of setting up the mobile gas chambers and perfecting them to make sure his staff were not affected mentally by the killings. He evidently thought he had done a great job and remained proud of it. Here is one of the few times when Frank explains how affected he was by it all:

There were days, such as that, when after my day in court I could not eat and I had to drown myself in alcohol before I could sleep; days when my reactions to anything or anyone German were not normal.

There were inevitable emotional reactions. What has remained is the realisation that a lifetime is too short for such horrors to be filed away in the annals of history as something destined to be forgotten. Forgiven, perhaps —forgotten— never. I flinch at the sickening sentimentality that demands the release of a Rudolf Hess, the application of the statutes of limitation. (Frank, 2018, p. 166)

I couldn’t agree more, and indeed it is a shame when one reads what happened to him at the end (when he couldn’t stay in his accommodation and due to his ill health he could not keep working) that he was not honoured and remembered as he deserved. At least one can hope that this book will make people become aware of him and his role, even if it is a case of ‘too little, too late’.

He was popular with women and his cavalier attitude can be problematic to read nowadays, but he recognised his own responsibility in the matter, and he does not appear dismissive or prejudiced when talking about women in a professional capacity. He could be a rogue (if we were to use a typical romantic novel definition of the word), but it seems fair to assume that he was a charming one. As Hooley very aptly summarises:

In short Wolfe Frank seems to have been a mixture of Casanova, with whom he had much in common, Cary Grant, the Scarlet Pimpernel, James Bond and Oliver Reed; and he had that rare ability to be a man’s man —a worldly-wise, educated gentleman who possesses class and admits his faults— as well as being a ladies’ man.  (Frank, 2018, p. 178)

This is an important book, a page-turner, a book that moves at fast pace, full of adventure, historical detail, and with a protagonist that even the most skilled fiction writers would struggle to improve on. Read it and recommend it. I’m sure you will.

And as a closing, I had to leave you with a lighter passage, and one that I, who lived in the UK for many years but could never fully understand the attraction cricket held for many, had to smile at. Here he had just arrived in the UK after one of his lucky escapes, was starving and hoping his friend would take him for a meal on arrival, but he was dragged instead to watch a cricket match. He’d never experienced one before.

At the match I found myself sitting next to a teacher who wanted to practice his German. For some time, I gazed at a group of men who, at first, seemed to be in doubt about what to do with themselves. They finally started to throw a ball about half-heartedly and now and then one of them seemed to arouse himself from his lethargy, to take an awkward swing at the ball with a large, clumsy lump of timber. Finally, I felt that I required an explanation. I turned to my neighbour and asked him when they would start to play? ‘Heavens’ he said with an expression of complete horror on his face, ‘what do you mean? They’ve been playing for over an hour… and this is a frightfully exciting match!’ (Frank, 2018, p. 42)

Frank, W. (2018). Nuremberg’s voice of doom. The autobiography of the chief interpreter at history’s greatest trials. Barnsley, UK: Frontline Books (Pen & Sword).

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text 2019-03-22 10:00
Getting Professional Voice Over Services? Here Are Its Major Advantages

One of the most vital video elements is the sound or, to be more particular, the voice over work. It makes a video more intriguing and easier to grasp. But if this isn't made appropriately, it can damage the video and its overall purpose. Hence, in case you do not have the suitable resources and training to carry this out, getting professional voice over services is an outstanding idea.

Professional voice over service allows you to receive the suitable audio for your video without the need to perform all of the hard work yourself. If you're curious about what are the benefits of working with these experts, listed below are a few of them:

1. Authenticity

First, professional voice over service providers possess an extensive background in this business, which enables them to deliver the most genuine materials. A lot of them have accomplished voice over work on all kinds of businesses, media, and purposes that honed their voice in order to take care of any type of project you're looking for. Many suppliers of professional voice over services display all of their previous projects through a portfolio on their online site, which you can study to have a glimpse of the way they work and measure their experience.

2. Versatility

Considering that providers of professional voice over services usually experienced doing various projects, they can be adaptable enough in order to modify their voice according to your specifications. They must be able to work directly with you for them to take note of all of your directions and suggestions for the audio you're looking for. With that in mind, they'll go beyond the voice over technique that they are used to. Rather, they'll use an array styles, tones, and enunciations depending on the output you require.

3. Save cash and time

You can expect amazing outputs from professional voice over service providers because of their state of the art recording tools and editing software. This allows them not just to record sharp sound but edit them as well in order to remove unnecessary segments and make enhancements using various sound clips. Through their assistance, you aren't required to employ additional individuals only to develop voice over work or spend time and cash to train your own voice actors. Additionally, acquiring recording equipment, which can be a bit costly, won't be necessary anymore.

4. Customised

Every video is one of a kind and possesses its own concept and style. Professional voice over actors can deliver the output that will match your video nicely along with its intended objective. For example, they will utilise numerous voice intensities if you are doing a narrative video. And as for an educational company video, they will read your script in a mild and fascinating way to get the attention of the listeners at once. Furthermore, they will consider the target market when choosing a style so the video can send its message appropriately.

Voice over is just one of the elements that constitute a video, but it is the one that empowers the message as well as its visuals. Therefore, when developing a video, be it for instructional material or business promotion, obtaining the services of professional voice over service providers is important.

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text 2019-03-07 18:08
My February 2019
The Mermaid's Voice Returns in this One - Amanda Lovelace
What Makes Girls Sick and Tired - Lucile de Pesloüan,Genevieve Darling
Das Lied der Krähen: Roman (Glory or Grave, Band 1) - Michelle Reid,Leigh Bardugo
Das Gold der Krähen - Leigh Bardugo
The Mermaid's Voice Returns in this One - 5 stars
What Makes Girls Sick and Tired - 3 stars
Das Lied der Krähen - 5 stars
Das Gold der Krähen - 5 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month:

The Mermaid's Voice Returns in this One, Six of Crows duology

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet:

Still, Spindle, Wahrheit gegen Wahrheit, Wie Blut so rot

 

Random ramblings:

I'm so happy with this months reading. I actually managed to read the Six of Crows duology in one month, without struggle. I loved these books so much. Also the other book that I have read, I really loved and enjoyed them. Super great reading month.

 
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review 2019-02-06 22:46
the mermaid's voice returns in this one!!!
The Mermaid's Voice Returns in this One - Amanda Lovelace

First things first: I received this book through NetGalley

 

Oh gosh, I just finished this and it was just so damn beautiful. Seriously. This is the first Amanda Lovelace poetry that I have read (I have 'the princess saves herself in this one' at home, but I haven't picked it up yet but I totally will do that SOON).

 

Her writing is beautiful. Of course not every poem worked for me or touched me the same that all the others did. BUT MAN, everything was just beautiful and so heartfelt and just everything!!!!

 

As soon as it's out, I'm going to buy the book and highlight the shit out of it.

 
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review 2019-02-04 08:57
Book Blitz: Shadow’s Voice by Natalie Johanson with Giveaway

Shadow’s Voice
Natalie Johanson
Publication date: January 2nd 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
 
Rose Trewin is on the run. Pursued by memories of her father, she runs from city to city, seeking normalcy. But Rose can’t escape her past, or the magic running through her veins, the magic that allows her to slip through the shadows unnoticed. The magic her father once used to mold her into a mercenary sent to destroy his enemies.
 
Now her magic is growing and changing, becoming something new and untamable. Rose is unable to rest. Wolves wrapped in fog follow her relentlessly along the countryside. Desperate, she uses her magic to escape, but the shadows are pushing her towards the center of a conspiracy.
 
Now, her country teeters on the brink of a civil war as a Lord Governor gathers power against the king. An enemy, with magic similar to her own, emerges in the chaos of political intrigue.
 
Faced with a country at war and a king brought to his knees, Rose must accept who she is and harness her powers in order to save her country and herself.

 
EXCERPT
 
Rose stretched her neck and sighed. the low setting sun was hot on her neck and sweat trickled down her back. She groaned and pushed away from the spinning wheel, dropping the bundle of wool back into the pile at her feet.
 
“Miss Trewin, you haven’t finished.”
 
She rolled her stiff shoulders and turned to the older, white haired woman. “No, ma’am. But the sun is setting and I’m hungry.” She dusted her lose skirts free from the wool fibers. “I’ll make it up tomorrow.”
 
The shopkeeper glowered at her but relented with a wave of her hand. “Fine then. Business has been slow anyway.”
 
“Thank you, Marg.”
 
Rose smiled softly and slipped past the gruff woman—the first to offer
Rose a job in this small town. She wasn’t a great seamstress or spinner, but she worked hard, and Marg wasn’t a cruel shop owner.

“Are you still staying at the inn?” Marg asked as she passed.

She tucked stray hair behind her ear. “Yes. It’s clean and not too expensive.”

Marg snorted softly at her. “You should look for a room somewhere else. There are plenty of people who would rent you a room. I even know of a small cottage or two near the woods.”

“Perhaps,” she said as she dusted off her skirts.

Rose looked up when her boss cackled at her. “You’ve been here nearly six weeks. Living in an inn can’t be enjoyable.”

“No, it is not but . . .” She trailed off. “Thank you again.”

Slipping outside, she wandered down the uneven cobblestone street toward the pub and inn. It was a small building, dingy and worn. The ceiling had a haze of smoke clinging to it, but it had decent food, mostly, and clean beds. It was a small town, smaller than she liked, but it seemed to suit her. The buildings were a ramshackle collection of stone and wood, many wedged next to each other as if the city grew too quickly.

Rose settled herself at a small table in the corner. “Dinner ma’am?”

She looked up at the tired barmaid and nodded. “Some ale as well, please.”

The barmaid quickly returned with a bowl of stew and a mug of ale. Rose sipped at the thin broth and poked at the chewy chunks of meat. She wrinkled her nose at it and pulled the mug of ale closer. Leaning back in her creaky chair, she watched the room.

Her view was interrupted by a man stopping in front of her table. “Yes?” Rose drawled and slowly dropped her hand closer to the dagger sheathed in her boot.

The thin man gestured to the empty chair across from her. “Might I join you for some conversation and a meal?”

She glanced at the stranger and looked him quickly up and down.

Worn and cracked boots, old but nice clothes, dirty face but clear eyes. Before she could shake her head no, he was dragging the chair around and sitting next to her, his back to the wall.

Rose raised an eyebrow at him as he settled in the chair and waved over the barmaid. “Yes, of course . . . help yourself,” she drawled and shifted so she could face him.

He snorted. “A horse makes for stale company after so long.” He turned to the woman. “Some stew and ale, please.”

She sipped her ale and watched him. “I’m Nico.”

“Rose.”

Nico gulped down half of his ale before stopping for air. “Have you lived here long?”

She clucked her tongue and finished off her ale. “Born and raised.” She stood from the rickety table. “Now, I must be off. Enjoy your stew.” Rose walked steadily and calmly toward the narrow stairway in the corner without looking back. She didn’t care for strangers and cared for questions even less, no matter where they came from. Let that traveler think she was born in this rotting little town and forget all about the strange girl he met in the tavern when he left.

Rose unlocked the door to her small room and slipped inside, locking it behind her. She walked to her narrow bed and pulled the dagger from each boot, dropping them onto the small table next to it. She slipped off the simple skirt of browns and reds and yanked off the constricting bodice. Rose climbed into bed, ignored the sounds of a tavern below her, and tried to sleep.

The night was restless, with the wind howling outside all night. Dreams of her father and life before made for a long night. When morning came, it was gray and cold. Rose looked at the sky from her small window and thought grimly how it fit her mood. She dressed quickly in more reds and browns before heading out of the inn for another day of tedious work. She liked the flashy bright colors of turquoise or green, but those stood out. She paused as she passed the small mirror hanging on the wall. Her hazel eyes and straight brown hair were simple. Too young to have wrinkles, but life didn’t care that she was barely in her second decade and there were small lines at the corners of her eyes. Rose loved bright colors when she was young. Now, reds and browns were her col- ors. They don’t stand out. She snorted at her reflection and left her room.

Rose pulled her long jacket closed against the wind. The walk from the inn to the shop was short but the wind was cold and hard. By the time she reached the shop door, she was half running. The bell dinged softly as Rose tried to smooth her hair back into place.

“Oh, hello dear.”

She gave up pulling her hair out of her face with a huff. “Nasty wind picking up, there better not be a storm coming.”

Marg snorted and turned the page in her ledger. “Oh, someone came looking for you after you left yesterday.”

She snapped her head up. “What?” Alarm made her insides twist. No one should be looking for her. No one should know to come here. Marg licked her thumb and turned another page. She spoke without bothering to look up, “Yes, tall man. Had quite a lot of black hair. He said he was an old friend of yours.”

Rose tried to swallow but her mouth had gone dry from fear. “What did you tell him?”

Marg finally looked up. “That you’d gone for the day.”

“Anything else?”

Marg frowned at her. “No, dear. What’s gotten into you?”

She rubbed her lips with her shaking fingers. “I need to run an errand. I’ll be back later. I’ll make up the missed work tonight.”

Marg frowned at her. “You only just got here, girl. What am I paying you for?”

“I’ll be back.” Rose turned on her heel and went back out into the wind. Her hair whipped around her face as she turned down the narrow alley between the drapery next door. Her light skirt wrapped around her legs in the wind. She took another turn and headed along the back of the buildings toward the inn.

“Morning, Flower.”

Rose jerked to a stop. She turned faced the speaker. “You know I hate that name.”

A tall man leaned against the wall, his dark hair hiding most of his face. She could never tell if it was to be sensual, to hide his face, or if he simply couldn’t control his messy locks.

“I thought I’d wait around for you.”

“Why are you here, Gavin? Have you finally found someone who will hire you?”

He leaned against the shop wall, trying to look relaxed, but Rose could see the strain in his neck and the clench of his jaw.

“I’m looking for better employ, if you must know. You, however, are a long way from home. Your father must be so worried.”

Rose pulled her hands out of her pockets and kept her arms lose at her sides. The wind pulled her hair from the loose braid and it whipped around her face. “I’m sure,” she drawled. “Is that what you’re going to do, Gavin? Rush back to him with news of my whereabouts, hope that lets you back into his fold? Do you think presenting me as a gift will get you work?”

He jerked away from the wall and grabbed her hard by the arm. “He’ll be mighty pleased to know your location. Might even pay me good coin for the information. And if he won’t, others will. You know they will.”

A quick, hard whirl freed her arm from Gavin’s grip. Before he could say more, she turned away. He shouted after her but she ignored him; keeping her back straight. She slipped in through the servant’s door near the stables and used their hallways to get up to her room. She locked the door behind her and let out a deep breath.

Her little room was barren: a small bed against one wall, a short rick- ety desk along the other. She had no decorations and her few personal items were still packed in her bag. If she were to leave, no one would remember she’d been here. Her spot at the small spinner shop would be easily filled.

Rose slumped onto her small bed. This was the farthest west she’d been, had even crossed the province borders into Amora and still her past found her. She’d been here too long already, and Gavin couldn’t be allowed to sell his news of her. She curled onto the bed, tucked the scratchy wool blanket around her, and set in to wait for the night.


Author Bio
Natalie Johanson has been interested in writing and reading since she first held a pencil. What first began a short story for her own reading turned into a world with a story to tell the world. When her time isn't being monopolized by her ferret, work as a police officer, running Dirty Dash races or reading she is writing.

Check out Natalie's website, nataliejohanson.com, for news, updates and more.

 
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