Rawicz, Slavomir. The Long Walk: the True Story of a Trek to Freedom. guilford, CT: Lyons Press: 1997.
The Long Walk came about because of a journalist for the London Daily Mail was writing a story on the Abominable Snowman. Ronald Downing was told Slavomir Rawicz had seen the creature. So what started as a story about a yeti gave birth to Rawicz telling his own seemingly incredible tale. Ronald Downing became the ghost writer for the project. The short story: Slawomir Rawicz was imprisoned by the Soviets after the invasion of Poland in World War II. After being sentenced to 25 years of hard labor Rawicz managed to escape and, along with seven other companions, supposedly made a 4,000 mile trek to India. I have some skepticism in my words because some say the story is not true.
True or not, time and time again I was amazed by Rawicz’s resolve even if it was only in his head and he had no witnesses. First, during his endless “trial” when he was questioned repeatedly about being a spy. I believe every word. A lesser man would have cracked under the pressure and finally given a false confession. Then, after being sentence to 25 years hard labor in a remote part of northern Siberia Rawicz never gave up believing he could survive his sentence. The idea for escape was planted after being summoned to fix a commandant’s radio. Unbelievably, the commandant’s wife subtly suggested it to Rawicz. The idea percolated gently while Rawicz worked out the details in his bunk at night. There were so many elements that needed to be in place. He needed men and he needed supplies. Then he needed the perfect storm, a blizzard, to cover his tracks. It reminded me of Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne planned his escape from prison.
Whether Rawicz’s story is 100% true or not remains a mystery. There is no one to confirm his story. What remains is an incredible tale about an impossible journey made possible only by hope.
Lines that got me, “The Soviet Supreme Court was showing me a very cold and businesslike face” (p 18), “I was never allowed to meet any of the unfortunates” (p 26). How unfortunate.
Reason read: At the end of May I will be undertaking a long walk of my own. Definitely not as long or as arduous as Mr. Rawicz’s trek, but an honorable walk nonetheless.
Author fact: Rawicz died in 2004 and some say his long walk never happened. Boo hiss. I’d like to think his tale of courage is true.
Book trivia: A movie version of The Long Walk was made in 2010 starring Colin Farrell.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Armchair Travel” (p 25).
Kelly, Clara Olink. The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Mother’s Wartime Courage. New York: Random House, 2002.
This is a short memoir. Some would say too short. Clara Olink Kelly is just four years old when her family is torn apart by the Japanese invasion of the Pacific Island of Java during World War II. Clara’s father is forced to work on the Burma railroad while Clara’s mother is left to care for two small children and a pregnant with a second son. It isn’t long before the Japanese commandeer their home and the entire family is transferred to a concentration camp, Kamp Tjideng. There Clara spends four long years enduring extreme crowding, starvation, illness and unspeakable filth. In addition she witnesses horrific abuse and violence that would haunt her for the rest of her life. The one piece of home that keeps them going is a small painting of a red flamboya tree. This painting, because it was never abused or destroyed by the Japanese, became a symbol of strength for the family. It goes wherever they go. The other symbol of strength is Clara’s mother. The beautiful thing about The Flamboya Tree is that throughout the entire story Clara’s respect and admiration for her mother never waivers. It is a lovely tribute to a mother who did everything she could to protect her children and survive the harsh conditions.
Powerful line, “She still had the audacity to hold her head high” (p 61).
Reason read: To recognize Nyepi, the Balinese Day of Silence. Last year it was celebrated at the end of March.
Author fact: Do a search for Clara Olink Kelly and she pops up on the website IMDb because she appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show in 2002. Do an image search for Clara Olink Kelly and you will discover she looks just like her mother.
Book trivia: There is a study guide for The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Mother’s Wartime Courage and the first question is, “would you have tried to escape?” What a loaded question!
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Indicative of Indonesia” (p 104).
Benioff, David. City of Thieves. Read by Ron Perlman. New York: Penguin Audio, 2009
Leningrad, 1942. Lev Beniof is arrested for being out after curfew and caught in the act of robbing the dead body of a German paratrooper. The penalty for such crimes is death. Awaiting his fate Lev meets fellow prisoner and alleged Red Army deserter, Kolya Vlasov. Lev and Kolya couldn’t be more mismatched. Lev is a quiet and unassuming insomniac Russian Jew, only 17 and still an insecure, awkward virgin. Kolya a 20 year old smooth (never shuts up) talker, exceedingly well read and charming. Instead of being executed as expected together they are tasked with finding a dozen eggs for Colonel Grechko’s daughter’s wedding cake. Finding these eggs in starved Leningrad is absurd but it is also a matter of life and death.
The horrors or war and the harsh realities of deprivation are an interesting juxtaposition against the sometimes comical relationship of Lev and Kolya. Their growing friendship reminds me of Gene and Phineas from John Knowles’s A Separate Peace. While the two endure the bitter cold, starvation and the threat of the German enemy their journey is tempered with Kolya’s humorous blatherings about jokes, literature and sex. The ending is predictable but stays with you long after you close the book.
Reason read: January was Russia’s coldest month on record. Read in honor of that.
Author fact: According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia Benioff took his mother’s maiden name but was born Friedman.
Book trivia: There is a rumor floating around that this will be made into a movie.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Saint Petersburg/Leningrad/Saint Petersburg” (p 195). Interestingly enough, plays up the “historical fiction” hype. In the first chapter of City of Thieves Benioff insinuates the story is about his grandfather and that when his grandfather refused to be specific about some details he was told to “make it up.” None of that is true. It just makes for a more interesting story to think that it *could* have happened that way.
Ambrose, Stephen. D-Day, June 6, 1944: the Climactic Battle of World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.
Where do I begin with a book like this? Imagine watching a scene from high above. Everything is muted and details are fuzzy. Now imagine swooping in to ground level and being able to engage all the senses. You hear, see, smell, taste and feel everything at close range. D-Day is such a book. You know all about June 6th, 1944 from your textbooks and your history classes. With D-Day, June 6th, 1944: the Climactic Battle of World War II Stephen Ambrose swoops in and takes you down the to fighting. Ground level. You get to hear (supposed) first hand accounts from the American, British and Canadian men who survived Operation Overlord: the five separate attacks from sea and air. The opening chapter is a harrowing parachute drop into enemy territory. Soldiers who fought side by side with buddies who later wouldn’t make it recall every emotion. What a strange circumstance, to be fighting for your life and watching men die around you and yet, yet have no fear. They knew they could meet death at any minute but were so moved by the leadership of commanding officers to keep surging forward. The tragic battle at Omaha Beach illustrates this most poignantly.
Probably the most interesting section of the book for me was the comparisons between Commanders Eisenhower and Rommel. They had so many different things in common they could have been friends had it not been for their opposing positions in the war.
Of note: several people have told me that I should be taking the details of D-Day with a grain of salt; that not all interviews are truthful or accurate. Well, if that’s the case, slap a “fiction” label on it and call it a riveting best seller! Regardless of its integrity I loved the book.
Favorite lines: impossible to tell you because I ended up listening to this rather than reading it.
Author Fact: Ambrose was awarded the Department of Defense’s medal for Distinguished Public Service in 2000. This is the highest honor the Department of Defense can give a civilian.
Book Trivia: D-Day, June 6th 1944 is one of many books written by Ambrose that is surrounded in controversy involving inaccuracies and plagiarism.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “World War II Nonfiction” (p 253).
Ambrose, Stephen E. Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne From Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.
If it seems as if I have been reading a lot of war books lately it’s true. Last month it was a World War II narrative to commemorate the flag raising on Japan’s Iwo Jima. This month, to celebrate “Hug a G.I. Day” on March 4th, I read Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. It makes sense because it wasn’t like reading someone else’s version of the same account. The men in Band of Brothers were fighting across Europe instead of the Pacific. Same war, a much different story.
If Stephen Ambrose wrote about every event in history I would read it. I wish he had written all my textbooks in high school. No matter the subject Ambrose makes it real, he makes it come alive. It isn’t some dry account that drones on like Charlie Brown’s teacher. He not only makes it interesting, he makes it human. War, on the surface, is about defeating the enemy; doing whatever it takes to win each skirmish in an effort to be the final victor; to win the entire war. Human emotion, especially in the aftermath of it all, gets lost. Ambrose points out the lesser-realized aspects of war – fear, regret, sorrow, but most of all, survivor guilt. This often happens mid-war when soldiers have the opportunity to first realize with shock that they survived that grenade strike and then moments later remember those who didn’t. Comrades who were standing beside them just moments ago.
I think the section that best sums up Band of Brothers is from pages 202-203: “Combat is a topsy-turvy world. Perfect strangers are going to great lengths to kill you; if they succeed, far from being punished for taking life, they will be rewarded, honored, celebrated. In combat men stay underground in daylight and do their work in the dark. Good health is a curse, trench foot, pneumonia, severe uncontrollable diarrhea, a broken leg are priceless gifts.”
Strange example of hope: Lieutenant Welsh carried his reserve parachute throughout Normandy in the hope of sending back to his best girl, Kitty so that she could make a wedding dress out of it. Kudos for Welsh for having the optimism to think he was going to survive the bloody campaign but double kudos for Kitty if she actually made a thing of beauty out of something that symbolized such violence.
Probably my favorite “character” of the entire book was Captain/Major Richard Winters. Throughout the entire war he remained true to his men and true to himself. An example: “Winters stayed in Albourne to rest, reflect, and write letters to parents of men killed or wounded” (p 109). A seven day pass entitled him to go sight seeing or carousing to blow off steam. Instead he chose to reflect on the events of the war…my kind of man.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “World War II Nonfiction” (p 253).
Bradley, James. Flags of Our Fathers. New York: Bantam, 2000.
The reading of Flags of Our Fathers was very timely. February 19th marked the anniversary of the famous flag raising on Iwo Jima, Japan. The first word that comes to mind when I think about Flags of our Fathers is respect. This was a book written with the utmost respect, not only for the author’s own father, but for the other five men responsible for raising the flag on Japan’s Iwo Jima. Everyone knows the photograph born of that historical event but not many can name the six men involved. In fact, even fewer would guess there were six men there. Unless you scrutinize the photograph, at first glance, there are only four. James Bradley, with the help of Ron Powers, brings to life all six men. He brings them out of historical obscurity and into present-day focus.
Favorite lines (if there can be such things in a book about war): “The fatigued boys knew what lay in store when the winter sun rose again” (p 177). I liked this line for it’s sense of foreboding.
“And then the heroes of the day began literally stand up and be counted” (p 183). This sentence sounds so benign, so harmless on its own.
“On this night, the madman in the haunted house unleashed all his ghouls” (p 191). Again, such a simple sentence but the horror behind it is unimaginable.
Book Trivia: Clint Eastwood directed the movie version of Flags of Our Fathers in 2006.
Author Fact: James Bradley traveled to Iwo Jima with his mother and siblings to the very spot where his father helped raise the American flag.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter simply called “World War II Nonfiction” (p 254).
What is March 2012 all about? Hard to say . Or as they say on Monhegan, hard tellin’ not knowin’. Fitting I suppose for a reading project still in limbo. I’m still reading books off my own shelves and borrowing books from my own library. To those not in the know that sounds strange, but there you have it.
Here are the books I *think* I’ll be reading in March:
- A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (baptized James Ngugi) ~ in honor of March being African Writers Month
- Little Town in the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder ~ in honor of the Dakotas (series was started in January)
- Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101 Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest by Stephen Ambrose ~ in honor of March 4th being “Hug a GI Day.” Since I don’t have a GI to hug, I’ll hug a book about World War II.
- Lord of the Rings: Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ in honor of New Years (series was started in January)
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte ~ in honor of March being National Literature month.
For the Early Review program for LibraryThing – I never got the February book so we’ll see if it comes in March…Incidentally, I just checked the LibraryThing website and I was awarded a March book as well. Now the race is on to see which book makes it here first.
Considering the tumultuous way 2012 started February was a bit gentler and definitely easier to get through. I think celebrating a birthday definitely helped. It’s always good to have something to celebrate!
Here are the books read (or listened to) in February:
- Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough ~ in honor of President’s Day (even though this had very little to do with Roosevelt being president of anything). This was an audio book and a real pleasure to listen to.
- Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban ~ in honor of Hoban’s birth month. This was an oversized kids book!
- Personal History by Katharine Graham ~ in honor of February being Scholastic Journalism month and this was all about Graham being involved with The Washington Post for nearly 60 years. This was a book left over from the Public Access to Library Services program.
- Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien ~ a continuation of the series that I started in January. I have two more books that I will read through March and April (Two Towers and Return of the King).
- A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark ~ Another audio book that was extremely funny.
- Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers ~ in honor of the day in February (the 23rd) that the American flag was raised on the island of Iwo Jima in Japan.
- Blues Dancing by Diane Kenney-Whetstone ~ in honor of Black History month AND Valentine’s Day. Yes, it was chick lit, but yes, it was also very good.
For the fun of it I read Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers by Nancy Pearl ~ a gift from my sister.
I also did a little housekeeping and realized I never reviewed The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’m not sure how that happened, but it happened. So, while I didn’t read it this month I am including it in the list.
Keith, Agnes Newton. Three Came Home. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1947.
This may sound a little strange but I was able to finish this in the time it took to a baseball game to start and finish (no extra innings), a movie to be watched (127 minutes) and a man to get a vasectomy. In other words, no time at all was taken to start and finish Three Came Home. Besides being extrememly uncomplicated I liked it and I think that made it all the easier to buzz through.
Agnes Newton Keith is what you would call “plucky.” She is a straight shooter even in the presense of pain and suffering. As prisoners of war from January 19th, 1942 to September 11th, 1945 Keith, her husband Harry, and their infant son George are held captive by the Japanese on the island North Borneo. Because of Keith’s reputation as a writer (previously publishing a book called Land Below the Wind) Keith is commissioned by Japanese Commander Major Suga to write “The Life and Times of an Internee” as proof his prisoners did not suffer in captivity. He wanted to convey actual happiness. Keith writes an account for Major Suga but at the same time she needs to tell her truth. Three Came Home is her written-in-secret journal of nearly three years as a prisoner. It documents not only her survival but her determination to be a good mother to George and a good wife to Henry.
Despite being a “war memoir” Three Came Home is not without humor. Case in point, Keith is trying to diaper her child and “misses” describing the outcome as “an aborginal phallic decoration” (p 16). Ouch!
Above all else Keith remained true to the idea that all people are good and only circumstance makes us bad. “I believe that while we have more than we need on this continent, and others die for want of it, there can be no lasting peace” (p 317).
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Living Through War” (p 156).
What a weird month June ended up being! I wanted to stop borrowing books from other libraries while mine went through a transition period with it’s catalog. I chose one book to read, And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hoover Santmyer which I thought would take me the entire month of June. How wrong I was…about everything. First, the migration is delayed so I could have borrowed books from other libraries. In that one instance the library stayed the same while everything else changed: the entire building has had every light bulb changed, I’m in the process of hiring two new people (and an architect for a complete overhaul of the library’s layout), in September I will have three staff members working nights, only two people are in their same offices, and I even got new furniture. What a difference a month makes. I was also wrong about finishing And Ladies of the Club. I was bored to tears. So I moved on to:
- Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan in honor of D-Day on June 6th, 1944.
- Atonement by Ian McEwan in honor of June being Family month.
- Gold Bug by Edgar Allan Poe in honor of June being National Short Story month.
- Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler in honor of Food Week
Not a huge month for reading. I spent a lot of time focusing on life in the here and now…
Ryan, Cornelius. The Longest Day: June 6th, 1944. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1959.
I think people view history as a boring and tedious subject because they forget that flesh and blood people are often the backbone of historical events. Ancestors who could have been the reason for their very being. Cornelius Ryan didn’t forget that the importance of D-Day didn’t lie in how it happened but whomade it happen. In his introduction he makes it clear that The Longest Day is not an military account of June 6th, 1944 but “a story of people…” within a 24 hour time span. The detail and clarity with which Ryan writes about seemingly ordinary men and women makes The Longest Day extraordinary. I thoroughly enjoyed Ryan’s straightforward style.
Line that grabbed me: “Now on this great and awful morning the last phase of the assault from the sea began” (p 239).
Author Fact: Two things – Ryan was born on June 5th (ironically so close to D-Day) and he died a cancer victim.
Book Trivia: Longest Day was made into a movie in 1962. Ryan wrote the screenplay and it starred John Wayne and Richard Burton.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “World War II Nonfiction” (p 253). Pearl calls it a “classic” and suggests following up with Ryan’s A Bridge Too Far and The Last Battle.
McEwan, Ian. Atonement.New York: Anchor Books, 2001.
I love it when I find a book that I find impossible to put down. I read this in three stages: on the car ride to Syracuse (3.5 hours), in the hotel an hour before bed, and on the car ride home (another 3.5 hours). Finished it in that eight hour time span. It was that good. I know I will be reading it again. And again.
How to review a book that has already been “reviewed” over three hundred times in one place? Suffice it to say I could not (and will not) write a one line review, “this was boring.” Nor, will I say “I loved it” and leave it at that. Having not seen the movie I am relieved I cannot confuse the two.
Briony Tallis, as a thirteen year old girl, witnesses an exchange between her 23 year old sister, Cecelia, and the son of a house servant, Robbie Turner. Because she is not within hearing distance she perceives the situation based on body language and facial expression alone. Being young and impressionable she mistakes sexual tension for violence and anger. This misconception is further compounded when she witnesses Cecelia being “attacked” by Robbie later in the evening. Briony’s perceived reality is so horrifying she points the finger at Robbie when her cousin is raped by an unidentifiable man. The next two parts of the novel are from the point of Briony and Robbie five years later as they both deal with the horrors World War II. The final section is sixty years later when Briony is a successful author.
Part One was definitely my favorite section. It’s the only point in the book where one character tells the story from a limited perception and another character circles back to describe the same situation from his or her point of view. The reader has the sense of circling the scene, seeing it from different angles, witnessing it from all sides.
Favorite quotes, “Cecelia longed to take her brother aside and tell him that Mr. Marshall had pubic hair growing from his ears” (p 48), “Every now and then, quite unintentionally, someone taught you something about yourself” (p 111), and “In love with her, willing himself to stay sane for her, he was naturally in love with her words. When he wrote back he pretended to be his old self, he lied his want into sanity” (p 191 – 192). I chose these three quotes because they seemed pivotal to turning points in the story: the first quote is lighthearted, a foreshadowing of how treacherous things are about to become; the second quote could sum up Briony’s entire existence; and the third quote illustrates true love in its finest moment.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Ian McEwan: Too Good To Miss” (p 149). I’ve read five books by McEwan so far and I have to say this one is, by far, my favorite. Atonement is also listed in More Book Lust in the chapter called “Tricky, Tricky” (p 222). This last inclusion is a head scratcher for me. While there were many twists and turns to the story I never once felt McEwan “tricked” me in any way. If anything, McEwan’s ending seemed logical and expected.
February was a strange, strange month. On the one hand, my birthday (which was good), yet on the other hand, many different family dramas (not so good). Other oddities include getting robbed, the roof leaking, a mysterious flat tire, and lots of great PT (what’s different?). My list of books for the month included some behemoths – two over 700 pages long. It took me longer than expected to get through my list because I also got an Early Review book from LibraryThing and I decided to read a few “off-list” titles. February was also a month of personal challenges (yay for physical therapy and the return to running for real). I can’t forget to mention that!
- Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution by Diane McWhorter ~ in honor of National Civil Rights month. This was a nice blend of didactic and personal.
- Big Year: a Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik ~ in honor of February being a bird feeding month (as apposed to watching). Funny, funny, funny.
- Night Soldiers by Alan Furst ~ in honor of Furst’s birth month. This was really heavy, but I actually got into it.
- Belly of Paris by Emile Zola ~ in honor of Charles Dickens (writing style is similar). Word to the wise – don’t read this when you are hungry. The food descriptions are amazing!
For the Early Review Program with LibraryThing I finally received and read My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe. I’m still waiting for a second Early Review book from LibraryThing.
- Runner’s World The Complete Book of Running: Everything You Need To Run For Weight Loss, Fitness and Competition by Amby Burfoot. I picked this up because someone had given me a gift certificate for B&N and I wanted to get something I would keep for a very long time.
- It Must Be..(a Grand Canyon Trip : Drawings and Thoughts From a Winter’s Trip From Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek (December 19, 2010 – January 2, 2011).. by Scott P. Barnes ~ this was such a surreal read for me! I’ve always wanted to see this author’s name in print.
Furst, Alan. Night Soldiers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988
I have to admit this took me a little time to get into. The story starts off in 1934 with a violent bang. Khristo Stoianev is a Bulgarian teenager who witnesses the brutal beating and subsequent killing of his younger brother, Nikko. Nikko, only 15 years old, was used as an example of a growing power. Using this tragedy as a vehicle for change, Khristo is drawn into the NKVD, the Soviet intelligence service. From there he is sent to serve in the Spanish Civil war (although it is curious to note during his training he was taught English and French, not Spanish). Meanwhile,the political arena is heating up. Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia are arm wrestling over real estate in Eastern Europe. Stalin is starting to purge the undesirables and this is to include Khristo so he flees to France.
Furst paints a stunning picture of eleven years of Eastern European history complete with French underground guerrilla operations, lavish love affairs, the never ending quest for power and multidimensional aspects of war.
Most telling line, “But these were political times, and it was very important to think before you spoke. Nikko Stoianev spoke without thinking, and so he died” (p 3).
Favorite line, “The nasty scene at the Finnish embassy refused to leave his mind, and he and Andres had decided to drawn their war in a bottle of Spanish gin” (p 161).
Author fact: Alan Furst was born on February 20th, 1941. He has an ongoing love affair with Paris.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “World War II Fiction” (p 253) even though WWII isn’t the focal point of the the story.
Ambrose, Stephen E. Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army From the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944 -May 7, 1945. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.
Stephen Ambrose has the uncanny ability to take you back in time. His words pick you up and carry you hook, line and sinker, back to June 7, 1944 and forward through the great and terrible World War II. However, Citizen Soldiers is not a dry account of strategic war maneuvers. It is not a blah blah blah play by play of how Germany’s armies moved along the western/eastern slope while the Allies pushed further north or south. Those things did happen but Citizen Solders is more than that. It’s as if you have been dropped in the middle of hand to hand skirmishes or have the ability to eavesdrop on Hitler’s frequent phone arguments with a subordinate. You get to know people, places and events as if you are talking to the soldiers themselves, dodging bullets in the snow-covered country side, and witnesses skirmishes first hand. For once, the photographs and maps included do not make the storytelling vivid, they only enhance the words.
The version I read included an afterword where Ambrose talks about the reactions he has received upon publishing Citizen Soldiers. To me, this afterword was humble and gracious and yet, had an air of protective authority.
Things that made me go hmmmm. Little reminders that WWI and WWII were not really that far off. For example, “There [Stoob] discovered that he had been wounded in the same small French village as had his father in 1914 – also in the head and leg” (p 111). There were also moments of humor: “Cooper examined the wreckage in the train and was surprised to find that invaluable space had been taken up with women’s lingerie, lipstick, and perfume, instead of desperately needed ammunition and food. “The Germans apparently had done a good job of looting all the boutiques in Paris when they pulled out”" (p 112), and “In Paris the whores put away their English language phrase books and retrieved their German versions” (p 205).
Author fact: Stephen Ambrose was born in the month of January, hence the reading of this book at this time.
Book Trivia: Citizen Soldiers was a New York Times bestseller.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “World War II Nonfiction” (p 253).