Kaplan, Alice. The Interpreter (Free Press, 2005).
"No story of World War II is more triumphant than the liberation of France, made famous in countless photos of Parisians waving American flags and kissing GIs, as columns of troops paraded down the Champs Élysées. Yet liberation is a messy, complex affair, in which cultural understanding can be as elusive as the search for justice by both the liberators and the liberated. Occupying powers import their own injustices, and often even magnify them, away from the prying eyes of home. One of the least-known stories of the American liberation of France, from 1944 to 1946, is also one of the ugliest and least understood chapters in the history of Jim Crow. The first man to grapple with this failure of justice was an eyewitness: the interpreter Louis Guilloux. Now, in The Interpreter, prize-winning author Alice Kaplan combines extraordinary research and brilliant writing to recover the story both as Guilloux first saw it, and as it still haunts us today. When the Americans helped to free Brittany in the summer of 1944, they were determined to treat the French differently than had the Nazi occupiers of the previous four years. Crimes committed against the locals were not to be tolerated. General Patton issued an order that any accused criminals would be tried by court-martial and that severe sentences, including the death penalty, would be imposed for the crime of rape. Mostly represented among service troops, African Americans made up a small fraction of the Army. Yet they were tried for the majority of capital cases, and they were found guilty with devastating frequency: 55 of 70 men executed by the Army in Europe were African American -- or 79 percent, in an Army that was only 8.5 percent black. Alice Kaplan's towering achievement in The Interpreter is to recall this outrage through a single, very human story. Louis Guilloux was one of France's most prominent novelists even before he was asked to act as an interpreter at a few courts-martial. Through his eyes, Kaplan narrates two mirror-image trials and introduces us to the men and women in the courtrooms. James Hendricks fired a shot through a door, after many drinks, and killed a man. George Whittington shot and killed a man in an open courtyard, after an argument and many drinks. Hendricks was black. Whittington was white. Both were court-martialed by the Army VIII Corps and tried in the same room, with some of the same officers participating. Yet the outcomes could not have been more different. Guilloux instinctively liked the Americans with whom he worked, but he could not get over seeing African Americans condemned to hang, Hendricks among them, while whites went free. He wrote about what he had observed in his diary, and years later in a novel. Other witnesses have survived to talk to Kaplan in person. In Kaplan's hands, the two crimes and trials are searing events. The lawyers, judges, and accused are all sympathetic, their actions understandable. Yet despite their best intentions, heartbreak and injustice result. In an epilogue, Kaplan introduces us to the family of James Hendricks, who were never informed of his fate, and who still hope that his remains will be transferred back home. James Hendricks rests, with 95 other men, in a U.S. military cemetery in France, filled with anonymous graves. "
Kaplan, Marion A. Between Dignity and Despair (Oxford University Press, 1999).
Between Dignity and Despair draws on the extraordinary memoirs, diaries, interviews, and letters of Jewish women and men to give us the first intimate portrait of Jewish life in Nazi Germany. Kaplan tells the story of Jews in Germany not from the hindsight of the Holocaust, nor by focusing on the persecutors, but from the bewildered and ambiguous perspective of Jews trying to navigate their daily lives in a world that was becoming more and more insane. Answering the charge that Jews should have left earlier, Kaplan shows that far from seeming inevitable, the Holocaust was impossible to foresee precisely because Nazi repression occurred in irregular and unpredictable steps until the massive violence of Novemer 1938. Then the flow of emigration turned into a torrent, only to be stopped by the war. By that time Jews had been evicted from their homes, robbed of their possessions and their livelihoods, shunned by their former friends, persecuted by their neighbors, and driven into forced labor. For those trapped in Germany, mere survival became a nightmare of increasingly desperate options. Many took their own lives to retain at least some dignity in death; others went underground and endured the fears of nightly bombings and the even greater terror of being discovered by the Nazis. Most were murdered. All were pressed to the limit of human endurance and human loneliness. Focusing on the fate of families and particularly women's experience, Between Dignity and Despair takes us into the neighborhoods, into the kitchens, shops, and schools, to give us the shape and texture, the very feel of what it was like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany.
Katz, Robert. The Battle for Rome: The Germans, the Allies, the Partisans, and the Pope (Simon and Schuster, 2003).
In September 1943, the German army marched into Rome, beginning an occupation that would last nine months until Allied forces liberated the ancient city. During those 270 days, clashing factions -- the occupying Germans, the Allies, the growing resistance movement, and the Pope -- contended for control over the destiny of the Eternal City. In The Battle for Rome, Robert Katz vividly recreates the drama of the occupation and offers new information from recently declassified documents to explain the intentions of the rival forces.
One of the enduring myths of World War II is the legend that Rome was an "open city," free from military activity. In fact the German occupation was brutal, beginning almost immediately with the first roundup of Jews in Italy. Rome was a strategic prize that the Germans and the Allies fought bitterly to win. The Allied advance up the Italian peninsula from Salerno and Anzio in some of the bloodiest fighting of the war was designed to capture the Italian capital.
Dominating the city in his own way was Pope Pius XII, who used his authority in a ceaseless effort to spare Rome, especially the Vatican and the papal properties, from destruction. But historical documents demonstrate that the Pope was as concerned about the Partisans as he was about the Nazis, regarding the Partisans as harbingers of Communism in the Eternal City. The Roman Resistance was a coalition of political parties that agreed on little beyond liberating Rome, but the Partisans, the organized military arm of the coalition, became increasingly active and effective as the occupation lengthened. Katz tells the story of two young Partisans, Elena and Paolo, who fought side by side, became lovers, and later played a central role in the most significant guerrilla action of the occupation. In retaliation for this action, the Germans committed the Ardeatine Caves Massacre, slaying hundreds of Roman men and boys. The Pope's decision not to intervene in that atrocity has been a source of controversy and debate among historians for decades, but drawing on Vatican documents, Katz authoritatively examines the matter.
Katz takes readers into the occupied city to witness the desperate efforts of the key actors: OSS undercover agent Peter Tompkins, struggling to forge an effective spy network among the Partisans; German diplomats, working against their own government to save Rome even as they condoned the Nazi repression of its citizens; Pope Pius XII, anxiously trying to protect the Vatican at the risk of depending on the occupying Germans, who maintained order by increasingly draconian measures; and the U.S. and British commanders, who disagreed about the best way to engage the enemy, turning the final advance into a race to be first to take Rome.
Keegan, John. The Second World War (Penguin, Reprint edition, 2005).
Praised as “the best military historian of our generation” by Tom Clancy, John Keegan here reconsiders his masterful study of World War II, The Second World War, with a new foreword. Keegan examines each theater of the war, focusing on five crucial battles and offering new insights into the distinctive methods and motivations of modern warfare. In eloquent, perceptive analyses of the airborne battle of Crete, the carrier battle of Midway, the tank battle of Falaise, the city battle of Berlin, and the amphibious battle of Okinawa, Keegan illuminates the strategic dilemmas faced by the leaders and the consequences of their decisions on the fighting men and the course of the war as a whole.
Kershaw, Alex. The Few (Da Capo Press, 2006).
The never-before-told story of the American pilots-idealists, adventurers, romantics-who joined the RAF before America entered the war and helped save Britain in its darkest hour. The few tells the dramatic and unforgettable story of eight young Americans who joined Britain's Royal Air Force, defying their country's neutrality laws and risking their U.S. citizenship to fight sideby- side with England's finest pilots in the summer of 1940-over a year before America entered the war. Flying the lethal and elegant Spitfire, they became "knights of the air" and with minimal training but plenty of guts, they dueled the skilled and fearsome pilots of Germany's Luftwaffe. By October 1940, they had helped England win the greatest air battle in the history of aviation. Winston Churchill once said of all those who fought in the Battle of Britain, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." These daring Americans were the few among the "few."
Kershaw, Alex. The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon (Da Capo Press, Export edition, 2004).
From the author of the best-selling The Bedford Boys, the remarkable story of America's most decorated platoon that miraculously halted Hitler's massive offensive at the Battle of the Bulge. On a cold morning in December, 1944, deep in the Ardennes forest, a platoon of eighteen men under the command of twenty-year-old lieutenant Lyle Bouck were huddled in their foxholes trying desperately to keep warm. Suddenly, the early morning silence was broken by the roar of a huge artillery bombardment and the dreadful sound of approaching tanks. Hitler had launched his bold and risky offensive against the Allies-his"last gamble"-and the small American platoon was facing the main thrust of the entire German assault.
Vastly outnumbered, they repulsed three German assaults in a fierce day-long battle, killing over five hundred German soldiers and defending a strategically vital hill. Only when Bouck's men had run out of ammunition did they surrender to the enemy. As POWs, Bouck's platoon began an ordeal far worse than combat-survive in captivity under trigger-happy German guards, Allied bombing raids, and a daily ration of only thin soup. In German POW camps, hundreds of captured Americans were either killed or died of disease, and most lost all hope. But the men of Bouck's platoon survived-miraculously, all of them.
Kershaw, Ian. Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940-1941 (Penguin Press HC, 2007).
In a mere nineteen months, from May 1940 to December 1941, the leaders of the world's six major powers made a series of related decisions that decided the course and outcome of World War II, cost the lives of millions, and profoundly shaped the course of human destiny from that point forward. How were these decisions made? What were the options facing these leaders as they saw them? What intelligence, right and wrong, did they have? What was the impact of personality, what that of larger forces? In a brilliant work with haunting contemporary relevance, Ian Kershaw tells the connected stories of these ten fateful decisions from the shifting perspectives of the protagonists, and in so doing rescues them from the sense of inevitability that now envelops them and restores to them a feeling of vivid drama and contingency-the feeling that things could have turned out very differently indeed.
Kim, Ester. If I Perish (Moody Publishers, 2001).
Ahn E. Sook stood alone among thousands of kneeling people. Her bold defiance of the tyrannical demand to bow to pagan Japanese shrines condemned her to a living death in the filth and degradation of a Japanese prison. This brave woman remained faithful to Christ in the face of brutality, oppression, and ruthlessness of her captors. The story of how she won many of her fellow prisoners to Christ in the most deplorable conditions is an inspiration to all.
King, David C. World Wars and the Modern Age (Jossey-Bass, 2004).
From 1870 to 1950, America experienced an unprecedented era of rapid change and growth. A host of remarkable inventions led the way in transforming this nation into a major world power, and yet the forces of change often caused tremendous upheaval in people's lives. Now, World Wars and the Modern Age provides a rare glimpse into the day-to-day experiences of Americans who lived through Prohibition, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and two world wars. You'll be there as the New York Times offices are filled with electric light for the first time. You'll watch as immigrants flock to America's colorful, fast-growing cities, hoping to start anew. You'll read a young soldier's account of going "over the top" during the grim trench warfare of World War I—and, barely twenty years later, an eyewitness account of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that plunged America into World War II.
From the personal writings of Henry Ford on his Model T automobile to songs of the Depression, from FDR's Inaugural Address to a G.I.'s description of D-Day, World Wars and the Modern Age presents a wealth of period documents, including diaries, letters, articles, advertisements, speeches, and more, from both famous figures and ordinary citizens. Find out how all of these American voices together helped make this country what it is today.
Kinman, Diane. Franca’s Story (Wimer Publishing Company, 2005).
Franca's Story chronicles a young girl's determination to help her family survive World War II in Italy, spanning the years 1937-1945. The onset of war shatters Franca Mercati's privileged childhood in Florence, devastates her aristocratic family, and threatens the Italian way of life. Her sisters' fiances, then two of her brothers are sent to the front. A third brother, award-winning author Krimer, befriended by Hemingway and Picasso, volunteers as a war correspondent in Tripoli. The family flees their palatial home in Florence to escape Allied bombs and settles in their beach home at Viareggio. One brother is soon killed, and a second is missing in action. Franca and her father secure a private audience with the Pope to see if he could help them find her missing brother, Lt. Mercati
Franca discovers her father is helping Jewish children escape; she secretly uses his connections to rescue a wounded British pilot. She watches in horror as her school friends die in the bombing of a train station; helps when her brother-in-law is severely beaten by Fascists; and survives a harrowing ride with a deserting Nazi doctor. The family's beach home and all their possessions are destroyed before their eyes. Franca and her family slide from wealthy aristocrats to impoverished refugees surviving hand to mouth at Pianore, an old Hapsburg palace on the Italian Riviera. She and her friend Lilly scavenge for food to feed 300 older citizens living there. Franca overcomes obstacles with courage, ingenuity, good humor, and a deep faith in God as her dreams of living a traditional adolescent life are shattered by a world filled with turbulence.