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review 2018-04-23 21:01
Review of George Washington: The Forge of Experience by James Thomas Flexner
George Washington: The Forge of Experience, 1732-1775 - James Thomas Flexner

This was the first in the famous four book biography of Flexner covering the life of George Washington.  This first volume takes the reader from Washington's birth through his appointment as General of the Continental Army.  It goes into great detail about Washington's participation as the leader of the Virginia militia during the events of the French and Indian War and I learned a great deal about the struggles he had not only in managing a militia for many years, but not receiving the respect or appointment he felt he deserved as an officer in the regular British Army.  I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the 17 years Washington spent at Mount Vernon after resigning his Virginia military commission before the Revolution broke out.  Learning how he improved Mount Vernon to make it profitable, how he dealt with English traders and creditors, and how his relationship with his wife Martha and his first true love Sally Fairfax took place were fascinating and enlightening for me.  I was not naive to think of Washington as having lived a perfect life in terms of character, but taking the time to read these details in a book about his early life is something that all fans of Washington need to be sure to do.

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text 2018-04-18 17:27
Will the real Thomas Jefferson please stand up?
Burr - Gore Vidal
America's First Daughter: A Novel - Stephanie Dray,Laura Croghan Kamoie

Jefferson according to Burr. Jefferson according to his daughter. These are fun to read at the same time!

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review 2018-04-15 20:34
A Lucky Child (A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy)
A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy - Thomas Buergenthal,Elie Wiesel

For being about the horrors of Nazi occupation of Europe and the Holocaust, this wasn't a difficult  read. The author, Thomas Buergenthal, writes about his childhood in an approachable manner. It probably helps that he's writing it several decades after the fact - the pain and anger he would have felt during and immediately after the events have had time to heal. It's light on details of the day-to-day activities of those years, as he and his family were first on the run from Germans, then living in the Jewish ghetto in Poland, then the various concentration camps he was imprisoned in. As a result, it glosses over a lot of the horrors, focusing instead on events that stick out to him most - but those events are rather harrowing in themselves. He doesn't linger on them though. Some might find this lack of detail frustrating, others may be relieved. I've read other accounts of the Holocaust, most memorably Elie Wiesel's Night, so I was able to fill in what wasn't there. 

 

This felt like a very honest and intimate account of his days surviving WWII and the Holocaust. His writing here is flowing and stark, and he doesn't get bogged down with unnecessary repetition like last few autobiographies I've read. He was indeed a "lucky" child to survive Dr. Mengele and Auschwitz. Speaking of Night, they were both clearly in Auschwitz at the same time, as they both describe the Death March with the same sort of dreadful resignation. He was lucky many other times in order to survive, and that continues even after his liberation as he details how he was eventually reunited with his mother.

 

One cannot stress enough how important this time period was to the shaping of the world as it is today and why it's necessary that it continue to be taught in our schools. Buergenthal's work in international humanitarian law is inspirational and reminds us that, no matter how bleak things can still appear, there is hope for improvement and that things already have improved in many places. We can make the world a better place, but we can only do that by remembering the atrocities that came before and striving not to repeat them.

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review 2018-04-13 19:17
Broken Promise by Tara Hall
Broken Promise - Tara Q. Thomas

Third in this series. All the plot twists come to fruition and there are some well kept secrets here. The previous books are not necessary to understand the story, but they would enhance this read. I knew who the bad guy was before starting this and he is a piece of work. There is steam but the story is not overwhelmed with it. A lot of intrigue and just plain crazy. Good read.

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review 2018-04-09 00:20
The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas
The Silent Woman - Terry Lynn Thomas
I love a good WWII genre book 
and this is one I truly enjoyed.
The author made me feel the
pressure of living in London right
before WWII and not knowing
what was coming next.
The mystery of 'who done it"
was an extra bonus in a well told story. Well developed characters that you will
love and some you will hate.
I would recommend this book to friends
and give it a 5 star rating.

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