Non-Fiction--Lambert to Litvin
Lambert, Angela. The Lost Life of Eva Braun (St. Martin’s Press, 2007).
With impeccable attention to detail, Lambert takes us into Eva’s early convent schooling, and stint as an apprentice at a camera shop, where she met Hitler for the first time. The young Fuhrer-to-be was magnetic and charming. Eva was virginal, malleable, and unthreatening. A match made in heaven? Not quite. According to Lambert, Hitler’s “treatment of this one young woman—first enthralling, then dominating and finally destroying her—reflects in microcosm the way he also seduced and destroyed the German people.
Lanckoronska, Karolina. Michelangelo in Ravensbruck: One Woman's War Against the Nazis (Da Capo Press, 2007).
In September of 1939, Countess Karolina Lanckoronska, wealthy landowner and professor of art history, watched the Soviet army march into Poland. After joining the resistance, she was arrested, sentenced to death, and held in Ravensbrueck concentration camp. There she taught art history to other women who, like her, might be dead in a few days. This brilliantly written memoir records a neglected side of World War II: the mass murder of Poles, the serial horrors inflicted by both Russians and Nazis, and the immense courage of those who resisted.
Lanckoronska, Karolina. Those Who Trespass Against Us (Pimlico, 2006).
Born in Vienna in 1898, Karolina Lanckoronska was an aristocrat and art historian who taught at the University of Lwow. When the Soviets came to occupy the city, Lanckoronska became active in the Polish resistance. She was arrested in 1942, imprisoned and sentenced to death before being incarcerated, first in Stanislau then in Lwow and Berlin. She was finally placed in a concentration camp in Ravensbruck.
As a Countess, Lanckoranska was subjected to varying treatment, at times suffering near starvation, only to receive extra food and medical care at other times according to the often-conflicting concerns of the authorities in Berlin. With the intervention of some influential friends, the honourable actions of one Nazi, and efforts by the Swiss scholar Carl J. Burckhardt, she was eventually released. Throughout her imprisonment, Lanckoronska remained defiantly resilient, loyal to Poland and committed to her fellow prisoners. Her magnetic personality and superb storytelling makes this a powerful narrative and sustains our interest through harrowing reading. Hers is an extraordinary story of courage and will.
Lawson, Ted W. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (Pocket Star, 2004).
After Pearl Harbor, America seemed to have lost the war before it had begun. Allied forces were being beaten across the Pacific by the Japanese military juggernaut, and morale was at the breaking point. America desperately needed to strike back at the enemy. For this, a corps of heroic volunteer fliers led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle began training to attack the very heart of the Japanese Empire—Tokyo. To succeed, the "Tokyo Raiders" would have to launch sixteen fully loaded B-25 twin-engine medium bombers off the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet—something never done before—and land at airfields in China. Through courage and luck, the raid itself went flawlessly. But bad weather, lack of fuel, and darkness worked against many of the pilots—and for many, escaping China proved even more perilous than the mission.
Lawson, Dorothea Von Schwanenfluegel. Laughter Wasn't Rationed: A Personal Journey Through Germany's World Wars and Postwar Years (Tricor Press, 2000).
This book is about real life, real people & how the World Wars interfered along the way. It is an insider's view of the effect the wars had on ordinary Germans. As a native German, the author takes us from her youth through the much-staged rise & fall of Hitler & his Nazi Party, World War II & the devastating postwar years, up to the Berlin Wall. Through her you will experience the air raids & intense bombing of Berlin, the ever-present hunger, the Soviet invasion & other day-to-day struggles. Yet she also entertains the reader with her witty style & the many jokes about the Third Reich. Her stories demonstrate that war unites as much as it divides and that history is embedded in the lives of individuals, not in textbooks. And throughout, the human spirit prevails since Laughter Wasn't Rationed.
Lerner, Gerda. Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (Temple University Press, 2002).
This autobiography by a leftist feminist and historian tells of her birth in Vienna and her happy life before Nazism, and her departure from Europe and arrival in America. There, she lived a life politically contrary to the mainstream. The author was to become a founder of the National Organization of Women.
Le Tissier, Tony. Slaughter at Halbe: Hitler's Ninth Army in the Spreewald Pocket, April 1945 (Sutton Publishing, 2005).
Operation Berlin, the Soviet offensive launched on 16 April 1945 by Marshals Zhukov and Koniev, isolated the German Ninth Army and tens of thousands of refugees in the Spreewald 'pocket', south-east of Berlin. Stalin ordered its encirclement and destruction and his subordinates, eager to win the race to the Reichstag, pushed General Busse's Ninth Army into a tiny area east of the village of Halbe. To escape the Spreewald pocket the remnants of Ninth Army had to pass through Halbe, where barricades constructed by both sides formed formidable obstacles and the converging Soviet forces subjected the area to heavy artillery fire. By the time Ninth Army eventually escaped the Soviet pincers, it had suffered 40,000 killed and 60,000 taken prisoner. Teenaged refugees recount their experiences alongside Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS veterans attempting to maintain military discipline amid the chaos and carnage of headlong retreat. While army commanders strive to extricate their decimated units, demoralised soldiers change into civilian clothing and take to the woods. Relating the story day by day, Tony Le Tissier shows the impact of total war upon soldier and civilian alike, illuminating the unfolding of great and terrible events with the recollections of participants.
Le Tissier. With Our Backs to Berlin (Sutton Publishing, 2005).
In the final months of the Second World War in 1945, the German Army was in full retreat on both its Western and Eastern Fronts. British and American troops were poised to cross the River Rhine in the west, while in the East the vast Soviet war machine was steam-rolling the soldiers of the Third Reich back towards the capital, Berlin. Even in retreat, the German Army was still a force to be reckoned with and vigorously defended every last bridge, castle, town and village against the massive Russian onslaught. Tony Le Tissier has interviewed a wide range of former German Army and SS soldiers to provide ten vivid first-hand accounts of the fighting retreat that, for one soldier, ended in Hitler's Chancellery building in the ruins of Berlin in April 1945. The dramatic descriptions of combat are contrasted with insights into the human dimension of these desperate battles, reminding the reader that many of the German soldiers whose stories we read shared similar values to the average British 'Tommy' or the American GI and were not all crazed Nazis. Illustrated with photographs of the main characters and specially commissioned maps identifying the location and course of the battles, With Our Backs to Berlin is a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in the final days of the Second World War.
Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz (B.N. Publishing, 2007).
Survival in Auschwitz is a mostly straightforward narrative, beginning with Primo Levi's deportation from Turin, Italy, to the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland in 1943. Levi, then a 25-year-old chemist, spent 10 months in the camp. Even Levi's most graphic descriptions of the horrors he witnessed and endured there are marked by a restraint and wit that not only gives readers access to his experience, but confronts them with it in stark ethical and emotional terms: "[A]t dawn the barbed wire was full of children's washing hung out in the wind to dry. Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and which children always need. Would you not do the same? If you and your child were going to be killed tomorrow, would you not give him something to eat today?" (Michael Joseph Gross for Amazon.com)
Levi, Primo. A Tranquil Star: Unpublished Stories of Primo Levi (W.W. Norton, 2007).
Holocaust memoirist Levi (1919–1987) also wrote small fiction sketches, reminiscent of contemporaries Dino Buzzatti and Italo Calvino, for periodicals, collected here and introduced by Goldstein. Of two realistic pieces that recall The Periodic Table and Survival in Auschwitz, one concerns the last minute in the life of a resistance fighter whose act against his German captors would today be called a suicide bombing. Transparent political allegories, of the kind that were fashionable in the Cold War period up to the late '60s, predominate. In the slighter of the 17 works, a miraculous paint is developed to replace lucky charms, and a Mad Max–like look at sports of the future describes tourneys conducted between men armed with hammers and cars. "The Molecule's Defiance" concerns the inexplicable spoiling of a batch of synthetic chemical, eerie in its description of a monstrous, gelatinizing mass expanding rapidly in a reactor, as though revolting against its human makers. (Review by Publisher’s Weekly)
Levi, Primo and Leonardo Debenedetti. Auschwitz Report (Verso, 2006).
While in a Russian-administered holding camp in Katowice, Poland, in 1945, Primo Levi was asked to provide a report on living conditions in Auschwitz. Published the following year, it was then forgotten, and has until now remained unknown to a wider public. Dating from the weeks and months immediately after the war, Auschwitz Report represents Levi's first yet still astonishingly lucid attempts to come to terms with the raw horror of events that would drive him to create some of the greatest works of twentieth century literature. It details the deportation to Auschwitz, selections for work and extermination, everyday life in the camp, and the organization and working of restraint, Auschwitz Report is a major literary and historical discovery.
Levi, Primo. The Periodic Table (Schocken, 1995).
The Periodic Table is largely a memoir of the years before and after Primo Levi’s transportation from his native Italy to Auschwitz as an anti-Facist partisan and a Jew. It recounts, in clear, precise, unfailingly beautiful prose, the story of the Piedmontese Jewish community from which Levi came, of his years as a student and young chemist at the inception of the Second World War, and of his investigations into the nature of the material world. As such, it provides crucial links and backgrounds, both personal and intellectual, in the tremendous project of remembrance that is Levi’s gift to posterity. But far from being a prologue to his experience of the Holocaust, Levi’s masterpiece represents his most impassioned response to the events that engulfed him.
Lewis, Brenda Ralph. Women at War (Readers Digest, 2002).
Meet the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters who changed the course of World War II-in battle and in everyday life. Explore how their experiences changed lives forever after-for both sexes. Both Allied and Axis countries are represented through personal stories and period photography that capture both their sacrifices and rare courage.
Lifton, Robert J. and Greg Mitchell. Hiroshima in America (Harper Perennial, 1996).
Lifton and Mitchell bring their expertise to bear in this well-researched book examining the reaction of the American people to the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 and its domestic aftermath. The authors examine what they perceive to be a conspiracy by the government to mislead and suppress information about the actual bombing, Truman's decision to drop the bomb, and the birth and mismanagement of the beginning of the nuclear age. The authors claim that Americans then and now are haunted by the devastating psychological effects of the bomb. The most interesting aspect of their book is the analysis of Truman. The development of nuclear weapons and the bombing of Hiroshima will continue to foment debate and will be of interest to students of history and current affairs. (Christopher Pavek, Putnam, Hayes & Bartlett, Inc. for Library Journal)
Lifton, Robert Jay. Death in Life (University of North Carolina Press, 1991).
In Japan, “hibakusha means 'the people affected by the explosion”—specifically, the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima in 1945. In this classic study, Robert Jay Lifton studies the psychological effects of the bomb on 90,000 survivors. Lifton sees this analysis as providing a last chance to understand, and be motivated to avoid nuclear war.
Lindley, David. Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science (Doubleday, 2007).
In 1927, the young German physicist Werner Heisenberg challenged centuries of scientific understanding when he introduced what came to be known as “the uncertainty principle.” Building on his own radical innovations in quantum theory, Heisenberg proved that in many physical measurements, you can obtain one bit of information only at the price of losing another. Heisenberg’s principle implied that scientific quantities/concepts do not have absolute, independent meaning, but acquire meaning only in terms of the experiments used to measure them. This proposition, undermining the cherished belief that science could reveal the physical world with limitless detail and precision, placed Heisenberg in direct opposition to the revered Albert Einstein. The eminent scientist Niels Bohr, Heisenberg’s mentor and Einstein’s long-time friend, found himself caught between the two. Uncertainty chronicles the birth and evolution of one of the most significant findings in the history of science, and portrays the clash of ideas and personalities it provoked. Einstein was emotionally as well as intellectually determined to prove the uncertainty principle false. Heisenberg represented a new generation of physicists who believed that quantum theory overthrew the old certainties; confident of his reasoning, Heisenberg dismissed Einstein’s objections. Bohr understood that Heisenberg was correct, but he also recognized the vital necessity of gaining Einstein’s support as the world faced the shocking implications of Heisenberg’s principle.
Lisagor, Trude. Small Things: Words from My Namesake (CreateSpace, 2010).
In 2009, shortly after her mom passed away, Trude discovered a cardboard box containing a worn, cloth-bound journal. Inside, she found short personal essays written by the grandmother she had never met. This collection of words from her namesake, which reveals the wisdom gained by a Jewish immigrant from Nazi Germany, leapt from the pages and into Trude's heart. In Small Things, Trude shares these essays along with her own reflections. "Most often, strangers to our shores, like Trude Grunwald, help us reacquaint ourselves with our values and attitudes, and reintroduce us to the importance of the freedoms we should hold dear." - Marilyn Turkovich, Executive Director, Voices Education Project. Trude Lisagor (1951- ) taught elementary school for twenty years in Northern Virginia. She continues to help children with reading, writing and math on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where she lives with her husband, Mike. Her grandmother, Trude Grunwald (1899-1949), immigrated to Los Angeles from Wuppertal, Germany in 1938. Her strong sense of what matters most lives on in her writing.
Litoff, David C. Barrett and Judy Smith. American Women in a World at War (SR Books, 1996).
This title brings together twenty-five writings by women who share their rich and varied World War II experiences, from serving in the military to working on the home front to preparing for the postwar world. By providing evidence of their active and resourceful roles in the war effort as workers, wives, and mothers, these women offer eloquent testimony that World War II was indeed everybody's war. Litoff and Smith combine pieces by well-known writers, such as Margaret Culkin Banning and Nancy Wilson Ross, with important-but largely forgotten-personal accounts by ordinary women living in extraordinary times. This volume is divided into the six sections listed below: Preparing for War In the Military At 'Far-Flung' Fronts On the Home Front War Jobs Preparing for the Postwar World.
Litvin, Nikolai. 800 Days on the Eastern Front: A Russian Soldier Remembers World War II (University Press of Kansas, 2007).
During his 800 days of war, Nikolai Litvin fought at the front lines in the ferocious tank battles at Kursk, was wounded three times, and witnessed unspeakable brutalities against prisoners and civilians. But he survived to pen this brief but powerful memoir of his wartime experiences. Barely out of his teens, Litvin served for three years in the Red Army on the killing fields of the Eastern Front. His memoir presents an unadorned, candid narrative of the common soldier's lot in Stalin's army. Unlike the memoirs of Russian officers-usually preoccupied with large military operations and political concerns-this narrative offers a true ground-level view of World War II's deadliest theater. It puts a begrimed human face on the enormous toll of casualties and provides a rare perspective on battles that were instrumental in the defeat of the German army.
Litvin's varied roles, ranging from antitank gunner at Kursk to heavy machine gunner in a penal battalion to staff driver for the 352nd Rifle Division, offer unique per-spectives on the Red Army in World War II as it fought from the Ukraine deep into the German heartland. Litvin documents such significant battles as Operation Kutuzov, Operation Bagration, and the German counterattack on the Narev, while also providing unique personal observations on fording the Dnepr River under enemy fire, the rape of German women by Russian troops, and literally seeing his life pass before his eyes as he watched a Stuka's bomb fall directly on his position.