The books listed here are new to the various Voices' annotated bibliography list. For the most part, they are recently released books, or newly discovered books. After being on the this rotating list for a month, they will appear in one of our annotated bibliography listings. See the listing below.
We are looking for our members to continue to update us on their reading by making recommendations to the Voices community. Contact us with your recommendations, and if possible, your comments on your suggested book at: email@example.com.
Books formerly on this list were transferred to their respective annotated bibliographies on 1/19/2011.
Early on in her tribute to Meena, an Afghan woman who founded and led the Revolutionary Association of Women in Afghanistan before being assassinated in 1987 at age 30, Chavis tells the legend of another martyred Afghan, Malalai, who was supposedly shot while inspiring her compatriots to defeat the British in 1880. It is a glorified portrait, revealing little more than Malalai's nationalistic bravery. Unfortunately, Chavis' glowing, saccharine telling of Meena's life provides about the same level of insight, reducing this leading Afghan feminist to a storybook heroine. Chavis describes Meena as a selfless, tireless saint who, despite personal tragedy and physical illnesses, never complained and worked each day to help others until she passed out from exhaustion -a clichéd rendering that, while perhaps true, makes for a one-dimensional biography. Just as Chavis' characterizations lack the quirks and complexities needed to bring people to life, her inadequate historical and political background, peppered with such phrases as "flickering flame of freedom," wants for sophistication and nuance. According to the author's note, she spent months in Afghanistan, interviewing Meena's friends and acquaintances. Instead of drawing on the voices of her subjects, however, Chavis largely reconstructs the story from Meena's imagined point of view, a strategy that leads to simplistic, emotive writing.
In Parvana’s Journey, the Taliban still control Afghanistan, but Kabul is in ruins. Parvana’s father has just died, and her mother, sister, and brother could be anywhere in the country. Parvana knows she must find them. Despite her youth, Parvana sets out alone, masquerading as a boy. She soon meets other children who are victims of war — an infant boy in a bombed-out village, a nine-year-old girl who thinks she has magic powers over landmines, and a boy with one leg. The children travel together, forging a kind of family out of sheer need. The strength of their bond makes it possible to survive the most desperate conditions. Royalties from this book will go toward an education fund for Afghan girls in Pakistani refugee camps.
The Breadwinner brings to life an issue that has recently exploded in the international media — the reality of life under the Taliban. Young Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan. Because he has a foreign education, her father is arrested by the Taliban, the religious group that controls the country. Since women cannot appear in public unless covered head to toe, or go to school, or work outside the home, the family becomes increasingly desperate until Parvana conceives a plan. She cuts her hair and disguises herself as a boy to earn money for her family. Parvana’s determination to survive is the force that drives this novel set against the backdrop of an intolerable situation brought about by war and religious fanaticism. Deborah Ellis spent several months talking with women and girls in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and Russia. This suspenseful, timely novel is the result of those encounters. Royalties from the sale of The Breadwinner will go toward educating Afghan girls in Pakistani refugee camps. “A potent portrait of life in contemporary Afghanistan, showing that powerful heroines can survive even in the most oppressive ... conditions.” — Booklist
Deborah Ellis reads the stories of other young children she has met in her travels.
Afghanistan 101 is an introduction to Afghan culture. More specifically, this dimensional analysis discusses Power Distance (PD), Uncertainty Avoidance (UA), Individualism (IND), and Masculinity (MAS) in the Afghan national culture. These dimensions are based on the work of the well-known Dutch anthropologist Geert Hofestede. The manifestations of these cultural dimensions explain the attitudes and actions of Afghans. Each chapter on dimensions also includes a section where the implications of a particular dimension are pointed out to the Westerner working in Afghanistan. Power Distance, the first dimension of culture, describes the relationship between a less powerful person and a more powerful one. As Afghanistan is on the high side of PD, social power is coercive in Afghanistan. One comes to power by force and is ousted by force; wealth and power are inseparable; decision making is autocratic and consultative; expert power does not carry much weight; age and charisma are important; and in Afghanistan, it is the authority of the person rather than the authority of position or rule that counts most. Uncertainty avoidance, the second dimension, involves dealing with fear and ambiguity-fear of nature, fear of other men, and fear of the supernatural. UA is negatively related to PD. A high PD society is on the low side of UA. Cultures use three methods to deal with fear and ambiguity: law, technology, and religion. Being on the low side of UA, Afghans rely heavily on Islam to reduce fear and uncertainty because they cannot rely on technology or the rule of law. The fundamental religious beliefs that help Afghans cope with fear and uncertainty are (1) life in this world temporary, (2) the source of both good and evil is God, and (3) God is just and will punish the oppressors and evil-doers in this world and in the next. Individualism versus collectivism, the third dimension of culture, relates to the relationship of an individual to a collectivity. In nonindividualistic societies such as Afghanistan, one's loyalty and devotion is first and foremost to the family, ethnic or other collectivity, rather than to the country as a whole. Such loyalties are characteristic of nonnation-states, and are best explained as "Afghan nationalism" that is based on ethnicity, sect, region, and ideology. Afghanistan is not and has never been a nation-state. In a nation-state, people rally around the constitution, the flag, the national anthem, and other such symbols instead of their ethnicity, sect, region, ideology, and so on. Furthermore, a nation-state is based on the rule of law, checks and balances, human rights, freedom of the press, political parties, free and fair elections, accountability, and transparency. The concept of a nation-state is a Western phenomenon, although the roots of a nation-state are deep in some Islamic countries, shallow in others, and nonexistent in others. Turkey, the first Islamic country to have become a nation-state, falls into the first category whereas Afghanistan, into the last. For Afghanistan to move in the direction of becoming a nation-state, some type of federalism may be the only way to prevent further ethnic conflict and another civil war. Masculinity, the fourth dimension of culture, describes the degree to which there is a gender gap within a culture. Afghanistan is on the high side of MAS. As such, sex roles are set in the family and are reinforced in the schools, workplace, and other social organizations. In general, males are taught to be assertive and females, nurturing. In Afghan society, male assertiveness generally involves aggressiveness, bravery, endurance, leadership, power, dominance, and independence. Female nurturance, on the other hand, is characterized by submissiveness, patience, tenderness, and affection. It is Islamic fundamentalism and Afghan cultural tradition, rather than mainstream Islam, that limits the rights of women in Afghanistan, making the country a high MAS culture.
"One of the most thoughtful and honest accounts ever written by a young Army officer confronting all the tests of life." -Bob Woodward In this surprise bestseller, West Point grad, Rhodes scholar, Airborne Ranger, and U. S. Army Captain Craig Mullaney recounts his unparalleled education and the hard lessons that only war can teach. While stationed in Afghanistan, a deadly firefight with al-Qaeda leads to the loss of one of his soldiers. Years later, after that excruciating experience, he returns to the United States to teach future officers at the Naval Academy. Written with unflinching honesty, this is an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of war while coming to terms with what it means to be a man.
U.S. Army Captain Craig Mullaney tells the story of his personal evolution
In early 1864, as the Confederate Army of Tennessee licked its wounds after being routed at the Battle of Chattanooga, Major-General Patrick Cleburne (the "Stonewall of the West") proposed that "the most courageous of our slaves" be trained as soldiers and that "every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war" be freed. In Confederate Emancipation, Bruce Levine looks closely at such Confederate plans to arm and free slaves. He shows that within a year of Cleburne's proposal, which was initially rejected out of hand, Jefferson Davis, Judah P. Benjamin, and Robert E. Lee had all reached the same conclusions. At that point, the idea was debated widely in newspapers and drawing rooms across the South, as more and more slaves fled to Union lines and fought in the ranks of the Union army. Eventually, the soldiers of Lee's army voted on the proposal, and the Confederate government actually enacted a version of it in March. The Army issued the necessary orders just two weeks before Appomattox, too late to affect the course of the war. Throughout the book, Levine captures the voices of blacks and whites, wealthy planters and poor farmers, soldiers and officers, and newspaper editors and politicians from all across the South. In the process, he sheds light on such hot-button topics as what the Confederacy was fighting for, whether black southerners were willing to fight in large numbers in defense of the South, and what this episode foretold about life and politics in the post-war South.
Confederate Emancipation offers an engaging and illuminating account of a fascinating and politically charged idea, setting it firmly and vividly in the context of the Civil War and the part played in it by the issue of slavery and the actions of the slaves themselves.
The story of the Confederate States of America, the proslavery, antidemocratic nation created by white Southern slaveholders to protect their property, has been told many times in heroic and martial narratives. Now, however, Stephanie McCurry tells a very different tale of the Confederate experience. When the grandiosity of Southerners' national ambitions met the harsh realities of wartime crises, unintended consequences ensued. Although Southern statesmen and generals had built the most powerful slave regime in the Western world, they had excluded the majority of their own people—white women and slaves—and thereby sowed the seeds of their demise.
Wartime scarcity of food, labor, and soldiers tested the Confederate vision at every point and created domestic crises to match those found on the battlefields. Women and slaves became critical political actors as they contested government enlistment and tax and welfare policies, and struggled for their freedom. The attempt to repress a majority of its own population backfired on the Confederate States of America as the disenfranchised demanded to be counted and considered in the great struggle over slavery, emancipation, democracy, and nationhood. That Confederate struggle played out in a highly charged international arena.
The political project of the Confederacy was tried by its own people and failed. The government was forced to become accountable to women and slaves, provoking an astounding transformation of the slaveholders' state. Confederate Reckoning is the startling story of this epic political battle in which women and slaves helped to decide the fate of the Confederacy and the outcome of the Civil War.
Following his acclaimed debut, Waterborne, Bruce Murkoff gives us another American panorama with a Civil War novel unlike any other. Born near Rondout, New York, to a family steeped in wars both before and after independence, Will Harp returns home in 1864 for the first time in a decade, disconsolate over the campaigns being waged against Indians in the West even as the nation is busy tearing itself apart. His father is now buried in the Harp graveyard, surrounded by two preceding generations, and much else, too, has changed.
For Mickey Blessing, though, these are heady times. Serving the darker needs of a prosperous businessman, Harry Grieves, he commands fear and respect as few Irish immigrants have managed to do in a society still hostile to their presence. The man he’d replaced had enlisted and is now missing in the horrors of Cold Harbor, leaving Mickey’s sister, Jane, fearing the worst about her fiancé’s survival.
Coley Hinds, orphaned as a child, is fending for himself and fast growing savvy as the town around him bustles with trade and tragedy. In his stable-basement lodgings, he reads Western serials that he hopes will describe his future, but then falls under the sway of Mickey, who recognizes in him the powerless waif he once had been himself.
All of these lives and more are intertwined when the bones of a mastodon surface on a neighboring farm that Will quickly purchases, pursuing a fervent boyhood interest. He finds an eager assistant in Coley, who suddenly needs refuge from budding criminality when Mickey suffers a hideous loss and develops an unhealthy obsession with a baby found on Jug Hill, where free black people have lived for generations. And before long, every fate is uncertain as calamity threatens to envelop them all. Red Rain is masterful in both its specifics—Coley’s pet squirrel, the erotic tableaux Will’s photographer friend contrives, the bakery where Jane finds comfort as well as income—and its broad historical sweep, which reaches from the settling of the Hudson River Valley to the bloodshed now ravaging the South and the West. Its characterizations are impeccable, whether of Grieves’s dream of a grand hotel or Mickey’s love of water, with not one gripping love story but several. And its plotting is relentless, weaving stories from various times and places that inevitably converge, right here in Rondout, with heart-stopping intensity. Engrossing and revelatory, Red Rain shows an extraordinarily talented writer expanding his already great range, and at the very top of his form.
On the morning of April 2, 1865, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, received a telegram from General Robert E. Lee. There is no more time—the Yankees are coming, it warned. Shortly before midnight, Davis boarded a train from Richmond and fled the capital, setting off an intense and thrilling chase in which Union cavalry hunted the Confederate president.
Two weeks later, President Lincoln was assassinated, and the nation was convinced that Davis was involved in the conspiracy that led to the crime. Lincoln's murder, autopsy, and White House funeral transfixed the nation. His final journey began when soldiers placed his corpse aboard a special train that would carry him home on the 1,600-mile trip to Springfield. Along the way, more than a million Americans looked upon their martyr's face, and several million watched the funeral train roll by. It was the largest and most magnificent funeral pageant in American history.
To the Union, Davis was no longer merely a traitor. He became a murderer, a wanted man with a $100,000 bounty on his head. Davis was hunted down and placed in captivity, the beginning of an intense and dramatic odyssey that would transform him into a martyr of the South's Lost Cause.
The saga that began with Manhunt continues with the suspenseful and electrifying Bloody Crimes. James Swanson masterfully weaves together the stories of two fallen leaders as they made their last expeditions through the bloody landscape of a wounded nation.
An al-Qaeda bomb attack on a London soccer match provides the tragicomic donnée of former Daily Telegraph journalist Cleave's impressive multilayered debut: a novel-length letter from an enraged mother to Osama bin Laden. Living hand to mouth in London's East End, the unnamed mother's life is shattered when her policeman husband (part of a bomb disposal unit) and four-year-old son are killed in the stadium stands. Complicating matters: our narrator witnesses the event on TV, while in the throes of passion with her lover, journalist Jasper Black. The full story of that day comes out piecemeal, among rants and ruminations, complete with the widow's shell-shocked sifting of the stadium's human carnage. London goes on high terror alert; the narrator downs Valium and gin and clutches her son's stuffed rabbit. After a suicide attempt, she finds solace with married police superintendent Terrence Butcher and in volunteer work. When the bomb scares escalate, actions by Jasper and his girlfriend Petra become the widow's undoing. The whole is nicely done, as the protagonist's headlong sentences mimic intelligent illiteracy with accuracy, and her despairingly acidic responses to events—and media versions of them—ring true. But the working-class London slang permeates the book to a distracting degree. Publishers Weekly
One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year National BestsellerWith a New AfterwordNational Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A Best Book of the Year: Salon, Slate, The Economist, The Washington Post, Cleveland Plain-Dealer
The Dark Side is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how the United States made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world—decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In spellbinding detail, Jane Mayer relates the impact of these decisions by which key players, namely Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, exploited September 11 to further a long held agenda to enhance presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history, and obliterate Constitutional protections that define the very essence of the American experiment.
1945 was the most pivotal year in Germany's modern history. As World War II drew to a devastating and violent close, the German people were confronted simultaneously with making sense of the horrors just passed and finding the strength and hope to move forward and rebuild. Richard Bessel offers a provocative portrait of Germany's emergence from catastrophe, and he astutely portrays the defeated nation's own sense of victimhood after the war, despite the crimes it had perpetrated. Authoritative and dramatic, Germany 1945 is groundbreaking history that brilliantly explores the destruction and remarkable rebirth of Germany at the end of World War II.
Freeman, Gregory A. The Forgotten 500 (NAL Trade, 2008, reprint). Bombing of the Ploiesti, Romania, oil refineries, a key German resource, started in 1942. Allied pilots sustaining damage frequently bailed out over Serbia in German-occupied Yugoslavia, where the resistance and others hid them. By 1944, more than 500 were stranded and slowly starving. The OSS concocted the daring Operation Halyard to airlift them, but they had to construct a landing strip without tools and without alerting the Germans or endangering local villagers, and then the rescuers had to avoid being shot down themselves. The operation's story is an exciting tale, but it was kept from general knowledge for decades; the resistance leader most responsible was a rival to Tito. Nazi-baited by a Stalinist mole in British intelligence, he was executed in 1946 with the consent of Britain and America, which thereafter refused to acknowledge having been snookered (the State Department kept many details classified more than 50 years). Evoking the rescuees' successive desperation, wild hope, and joy, and their gratitude to the Serbians who risked their lives to help, Freeman produces a breathtaking popular account. (Frieda Murray for Booklist)
Patton was champing at the bit to lead the D-Day invasion, but Eisenhower placed him in command of a decoy unit, the First U.S. Army Group. Nearly seven weeks after D-Day, Patton finally got his chance to take Third Army into battle. He began a ten-month rampage across France, driving through Germany and into Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and Austria. Along the way Third Army forces entered the Battle of the Bulge, breaking the siege of Bastogne. It was a turning point in the war, and afterward the Third Army pushed eastward again.
Patton’s Third Army in World War II covers Patton’s command of Third Army with a focus on the armor. It was a new style of fighting, avoiding entrenched infantry warfare by continuously pushing forward, and it appealed to Patton’s hard-charging personality. Archival photos along with frequent quotes complete the portrait of Patton as well as his men as they fight their way across the Third Reich.
During the Second World War, Allied air forces dropped nearly two million tons of bombs on Germany, destroying some 60 cities, killing more than half a million German citizens, and leaving 80,000 pilots dead. But the terrible truth is that much of the bombing was carried out against the expressed demands of the Allied military leadership, leading to the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Focusing on the crucial period from 1942 to 1945, Fire and Fury tells the story of the American and British bombing campaign through the eyes of those involved: the military and civilian command in America, Britain, and Germany, the aircrews in the skies who carried out their orders, and civilians on the ground who felt the fury of the Allied attacks.
Paul and Marie are comparatively lucky because they live in the free zone of France instead of the occupied zone. When they try to hide their Jewish friend Henri from the Germans after his parents vanish, the children get recruited into the French Resistance movement. The story opens with Paul's sepia-toned drawings of a bucolic landscape that transforms as the clouds darken, demonic monsters appear, and the houses in the distance start burning. While the rest of the story is illustrated in full color, the boy's drawings appear throughout, a visual thread that readers can follow to see the action through his eyes. Throughout the course of this book, Paul and his sister learn more about the world around them and begin to understand the scope of what is happening to the rest of the country. By the end of the book, they have witnessed forced deportations and seen a member of the Resistance shot in front of them. But they have also learned that many people are participating in the movement and are fighting back in myriad ways. This ending makes it clear that sequels are needed to complete the story. A brief overview of free and occupied France and the French Resistance movement is included, which will be helpful for readers who are unfamiliar with this facet of history. (Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library for School Library Journal)
In SHADOW KNIGHTS, everyday men and women risk their lives on top-secret missions to sabotage Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Hell-bent on conquering Europe, Hitler had just set his sights on England when Winston Churchill reached into his bag of tricks and invented a secret spy network of ordinary citizens. These schoolteachers, housewives, prostitutes, and farmers abandoned their former lives, trained in covert black ops, and set Europe ablaze. Parachuting into Nazi territory under the cover of night, they destroyed factories, armed resistance networks, and turned Hitler’s juggernaut on its head.
This is a unique generational history of the young people whose lives were irrevocably shaped by the rise of the Nazis. Half a million Jews lived in Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933. Over the next decade, thousands would flee. Among these refugees, teens and young adults formed a remarkable generation. They were old enough to appreciate the loss of their homeland and the experience of flight, but often young and flexible enough to survive and even flourish in new environments. This generation has produced such disparate figures as Henry Kissinger and "Dr. Ruth" Westheimer. Laqueur has drawn on interviews, published and unpublished memoirs and his own experiences as a member of this group of refugees to paint a vivid and moving portrait of "Generation Exodus."
Here is one of the most riveting first-person accounts ever to come out of World War II. Robert Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In Helmet for My Pillow we follow his odyssey, from basic training on Parris Island, South Carolina, all the way to the raging battles in the Pacific, where some of the war’s fiercest fighting took place. Recounting his service with the 1st Marine Division and the brutal action on Guadalcanal, New Britain, and Peleliu, Leckie spares no detail of the horrors and sacrifices of war, painting an unvarnished portrait of how real warriors are made, fight, and often die in the defense of their country.
From the live-for-today rowdiness of marines on leave to the terrors of jungle warfare against an enemy determined to fight to the last man, Leckie describes what war is really like when victory can only be measured inch by bloody inch. Woven throughout are Leckie’s hard-won, eloquent, and thoroughly unsentimental meditations on the meaning of war and why we fight. Unparalleled in its immediacy and accuracy, Helmet for My Pillow will leave no reader untouched. This is a book that brings you as close to the mud, the blood, and the experience of war as it is safe to come.
Days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt met at the White House. It was Christmas Eve, 1941. As war raged throughout the world, the two leaders delivered a powerful message that still resonates today. Bestselling author and historian David McCullough relates a compelling story about the spirit of Christmas and the power of light in difficult, dangerous times. Beautifully designed with historic photographs that transport readers to the early days of World War II Includes a DVD of David McCullough's presentation of this story at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 2009 Christmas concert.
Sid Phillips knew he was a long way from his home in Mobile, AL, when he plunged into the jungles of Guadalcanal in August 1942. A mortarman with the same company of the 1st Marine Division as Helmet For My Pillow author Robert Leckie, Sid was a 17-year-old kid when he entered combat. Some two years later, when he returned home, the island fighting on Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester had turned him into an "Old Timer" by Marine standards and a man. In this true story, Sid recalls his encounters with icons like Chesty Puller, Gen. Vandergrift, Eleanor Roosevelt, and his boyhood friend, With the Old Breed author, Eugene Sledge. He remembers fighting in the battle of the Tenaru (Alligator Creek), the struggle for Henderson Field, bombardments by Japanese battleships, the brutality of the tropics, and the haunting notion of being surrounded and expendable. This is the story of how Sid stood shoulder to shoulder with his Marine brothers to discover the strength and faith necessary to survive the dark, early days of WWII in the Pacific.
On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into a silent and deserted Paris. Eight days later, a humbled France accepted defeat along with foreign occupation. The only consolation was that, while the swastika now flew over Paris, the City of Light was undamaged. Soon, a peculiar kind of normality returned as theaters, opera houses, movie theaters and nightclubs reopened for business. This suited both conquerors and vanquished: the Germans wanted Parisians to be distracted, while the French could show that, culturally at least, they had not been defeated. Over the next four years, the artistic life of Paris flourished with as much verve as in peacetime. Only a handful of writers and intellectuals asked if this was an appropriate response to the horrors of a world war.
Alan Riding introduces us to a panoply of writers, painters, composers, actors and dancers who kept working throughout the occupation. Maurice Chevalier and Édith Piaf sang before French and German audiences. Pablo Picasso, whose art was officially banned, continued to paint in his Left Bank apartment. More than two hundred new French films were made, including Marcel Carné’s classic, Les Enfants du paradis. Thousands of books were published by authors as different as the virulent anti-Semite Céline and the anti-Nazis Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Meanwhile, as Jewish performers and creators were being forced to flee or, as was Irène Némirovsky, deported to death camps, a small number of artists and intellectuals joined the resistance.
Throughout this penetrating and unsettling account, Riding keeps alive the quandaries facing many of these artists. Were they “saving” French culture by working? Were they betraying France if they performed before German soldiers or made movies with Nazi approval? Was it the intellectual’s duty to take up arms against the occupier? Then, after Paris was liberated, what was deserving punishment for artists who had committed “intelligence with the enemy”?
By throwing light on this critical moment of twentieth-century European cultural history, And the Show Went On focuses anew on whether artists and writers have a special duty to show moral leadership in moments of national trauma.
Dr. Seuss & Co. Go to War presents a new trove of close to four hundred discoveries from the PM World War II archives, including over one hundred cartoons by Seuss, fifty cartoons by the New Yorker's Saul Steinberg, and works by the leading cartoonists of the time, such as Al Hirschfeld, caricaturist for the New York Times; Polish-born American artist Arthur Szyk; and future New Yorker cartoonists Carl Rose and Mischa Richter. The cartoons and commentary in this handsome volume (to be published in the same format as the original Dr. Seuss Goes to War) cover the five years of the war, illustrating changing attitudes and providing a complex picture of the issues that concerned Americans.
Americans call the Second World War “The Good War.” But before it even began, America’s wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens—and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war’s end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.
Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power. Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive,Bloodlands will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history.
This first fully documented biography of Simon Wiesenthal, the legendary Nazi hunter, is also a brilliant character study of a man whose life was part invention but wholly dedicated to ensuring both that the Nazis be held responsible for their crimes and that the destruction of European Jewry never be forgotten.
Like most Jews in Eastern Europe on the eve of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, twenty-four-year-old Simon Wiesenthal did not grasp the nature of the Nazi threat. But six years later, when a skeletal Wiesenthal was liberated from the concentration camp at Mauthausen, he fully fathomed the crimes of the Nazis. Within days he had assembled a list of nearly 150 Nazi war criminals, the first of dozens of such lists he would make over a lifetime as a Nazi hunter. A hero in the eyes of many, Wiesenthal was also attacked for his unrelenting pursuit of the past, when others preferred to forget.
For this new biography, rich in newsworthy revelations, historian and journalist Tom Segev has obtained access to Wiesenthal’s private papers and to sixteen archives, including records of the U.S., Israeli, Polish, and East German secret services. Segev is able to reveal the intriguing secrets of Wiesenthal’s life, including his stunning role in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, his relationship with Israel’s Mossad, his controversial investigative techniques, his unlikely friendships with Kurt Waldheim and Albert Speer, and the nature of his rivalry with Elie Wiesel.
Segev’s challenge in writing this biography was Wiesenthal’s own complicated relationship to truth. Wiesenthal told many versions of his life, his suffering in the camps, and his involvement with the arrest of individual Nazis. Segev shows that in order to gain the information he sought and twist the arms of reluctant government figures, Wiesenthal needed to seem more influential than he really was.
For two generations of Americans, Simon Wiesenthal was a Jewish superhero—depicted on film by Ben Kingsley and Laurence Olivier—and the muse for a Frederick Forsyth thriller. Now Segev demonstrates that the truth of Wiesenthal’s existence is as compelling as the fiction. Simon Wiesenthal is an unforgettable life of one of the great men of the twentieth century.
Conversations with History. Tom Segev disusses his book on Wiesenthal
The imperial aspect of Churchill's career tends to be airbrushed out, while the battles against Nazism are heavily foregrounded. A charmer and a bully, Winston Churchill was driven by a belief that the English were a superior race, whose goals went beyond individual interests to offer an enduring good to the entire world. No better example exists than Churchill's resolve to stand alone against a more powerful Hitler in 1940 while the world's democracies fell to their knees. But there is also the Churchill who frequently inveighed against human rights, nationalism, and constitutional progress—the imperialist who could celebrate racism and believed India was unsuited to democracy. Drawing on newly released documents and an uncanny ability to separate the facts from the overblown reputation (by mid-career Churchill had become a global brand), Richard Toye provides the first comprehensive analysis of Churchill's relationship with the empire. Instead of locating Churchill's position on a simple left/right spectrum.