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review 2016-07-25 19:06
A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France - Caroline Moorehead
I did find parts of this book dry, but it is less dry when the women get imprisoned. While I enjoyed the whole book, I did find it a little annoying that it was at times as if we were looking in at the women instead of following one narrative. This might be a product of the subject matter, but I didn't feel the same way with books like Ravensbrück: Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women. I think there needed to be a little more glue. I also was little annoyed at the idea of "happily ever after" being something that most of the women did not get. I wasn't clear what definition of that term Moorehead was using. In some of the brief bio bits at the end, it seemed to be only having children and a husband, while relatively free of illness. I'm not sure that such a definition is fair to the women.

Still, I am glad I read this book. I would recommend readingAuschwitz and After as well (or in place of).
 
 

 

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review 2016-05-11 23:38
When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 - Ronald C. Rosbottom

Enjoyable. Quite a bit of information. At times, you want a bit more, but it does give a pretty good view.

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review 2016-04-27 20:40
Auschwitz and After - Charlotte Delbo, Rosette C. Lamont (Translator)

This book is one of those good books that you find difficult to say how good it is.

Delbo was imprisoned in Auschwitz (and Ravensbruck) because of her involvement with the French Resistance (her husband was killed). This was written long after the events and is a blend of poetry and memory.

It is readable and wonderful and heartbreaking. They really should reach this in school,to be honest.

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review 2016-04-17 22:28
Out April 30, 2016
One Day in France: Tragedy and Betrayal in an Occupied Village - Jean-Marie Borzeix,Gay McAuley

 

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

 

                Everyone knows that no one event is remembered the same way by everyone involved.  Memory becomes even harder to pin down when those involved in the event have reason not to remember or lose that memory though illness or death. 

 

                In many ways, this hard to search for truth is what Borzeix is trying to straighten out in this book.  He wants to discover the truth behind the death of four people, perhaps connected to the Resistance, as well as more about the fifth man that not everyone talks about.  The fifth man was a Jewish man whose family survived the Holocaust.  It is a discussion and a letter about a memorial and tombstone that, in part, sets Borzeix upon his quest.  He also seems possessed by a desire to discover and come to terms with Occupied France’s treatment of its Jewish population.

 

                The investigation aspect of the book is engrossing, if a little disorganized.  At times, the direction of the book is a little choppy to follow.  That said, the most important parts of the book conceal the sections about memory, in particular national memory and a struggle to come to terms with a nation’s past.  Considering that is something many nations are dealing with, it brings the work a step above most.

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review 2015-10-14 23:39
For Opera fans
The Real Traviata: The Song of Marie Duplessis - Rene Weis

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.


If you have seen the older movie version of Annie, you have heard of Marie Duplessis, whose fictional mirror appears briefly when Annie attends a film.

Marie Duplessis inspired one of the most famous novels in literature -
La Dame aux Camélias. It is one of those stories - a mistress of gold, the undeserving lover.

In many ways this book is important because it puts more than a face to Marie Duplessis - though she doesn't really seem to move far from the idea of a romantic figure. She is still, somewhat, in shadow.

This isn't due to any fault of Weis. While some of the statements are too general, the research does seem to be solid (though I would have liked more footnotes/endnotes in some sections).

At times, I felt the language was a bit too romantic, but the book is a good study of the subject. Recommend for Dumas and Opera lovers.

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