Non-fiction--Sakai to Senesh
Sakai, Saburo and Martin Caldin. Samurai! (I Books, 2001).
Written by Martin Caidin from Saburo Sakai's own memoirs and journalist Fred Saito's extensive interviews with the World War II fighter pilot, Samurai! vividly documents the chivalry and valor of the combat aviator who time after time fought American fighter pilots and, with 64 kills, would survive the war as Japan's greatest living ace. Here are the harrowing experiences of one of Japan's greatest aces: from fighter pilot school -- where the harsh training expelled over half of his class -- to the thrilling early Japanese victories; from his incredible six hundred mile fight for life from Guadalcanal to his base in Rabaul, to the poignant story of the now-handicapped veteran's return to the air during the final desperate months of World War II.
Samuel, Wolfgang W.E. The War of Our Childhood: Memories of World War II (University Press of Mississippi, 2002).
These poignant memories by 27 German survivors of World War II relate how as children--ages 3 to 12--they endured air raids, hunger, terror, invading armies, and deprivation. Samuel tells of their resilience under the most trying circumstances and the critical role their mothers played in their lives. Samuel, a survivor himself and author of German Boy: A Refugee's Story (2000), relates that during the course of his interviews he encountered no one wanting revenge, and no one expressing a hate or dislike of people of other nations or ethnic groups because of events that happened long ago. He found that many of them are still troubled by the sounds, sights, or smells that remind them of war, bringing back the dark moments of childhood, and that few have shared completely their memories with their children. (George Cohen for Booklist)
Satloff, Robert. Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands (Public Affairs, 2006).
Thousands of people have been honored for saving Jews during the Holocaust-but not a single Arab. Looking for a hopeful response to the plague of Holocaust denial sweeping across the Arab and Muslim worlds, Robert Satloff sets off on a quest to find the Arab hero whose story will change the way Arabs view Jews, themselves, and their own history.
The story of the Holocaust's long reach into the Arab world is difficult to uncover, covered up by desert sands and desert politics. We follow Satloff over four years, through eleven countries, from the barren wasteland of the Sahara, where thousands of Jews were imprisoned in labor camps; through the archways of the Mosque in Paris, which may once have hidden 1700 Jews; to the living rooms of octogenarians in London, Paris and Tunis. The story is very cinematic; the characters are rich and handsome, brave and cowardly; there are heroes and villains. The most surprising story of all is why, more than sixty years after the end of the war, so few people—Arab and Jew—want this story told.
Schmidt, Ulf. Karl Brandt: The Nazi Doctor: Medicine and Power in the Third Reich (Hambledon & London, 2007).
Sixty years after the Nuremberg trials, interest in the leading figures of the Third Reich continues unabated. Here, Ulf Schmidt recounts the meteoric rise of one of Hitler's most trusted advisers, Karl Brandt. As Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation, Karl Brandt became the highest medical authority in the Nazi regime. He was entrusted with the killing of handicapped children and adults—the so-called `Euthanasia' Program—and played a part in illegal medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. What drove a rational, highly cultured, idealistic and talented young medic to become responsible for mass murder and criminal human experimentation on a previously unimaginable scale? This riveting biography explores in detail the level of culpability of one of the most intriguing of the Nuremberg Nazis. Ulf Schmidt presents an incisive study of Brandt's political power as a way of exploring the contradictions of Nazi medicine in which the care for wounded civilians and soldiers existed side by side with the murder of tens of thousands of unwanted people. Brandt's eventual capture and trial at Nuremberg in 1947 is also described in detail.
Scholl, Inge. The White Rose: Munich, 1942-1943 (Wesleyan Press, 1983).
The White Rose tells the story of Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl, who in 1942 led a small underground organization of German students and professors to oppose the atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazi Party. They named their group the White Rose, and they distributed leaflets denouncing the Nazi regime. Sophie, Hans, and a third student were caught and executed.
Written by Inge Scholl (Han's and Sophie's sister), The White Rose features letters, diary excerpts, photographs of Hans and Sophie, transcriptions of the leaflets, and accounts of the trial and execution. This is a gripping account of courage and morality.
Schorer, Avis D. A Half Acre of Hell (Galde Press, 2000).
Lt. Avis Schorer served with an evacuation hospital in North Africa and Italy. Heartache, loneliness, and danger were constant companions while caring for the severely wounded. She and 25 others were the first to land on the Anzio beachhead. Constantly bombarded by German shells and bombs, the hospital on the beach was soon dubbed Hell s Half Acre.
Segre, Gino. Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics (Viking, 2007).
Known by physicists as the “miracle year,” 1932 saw the discovery of the neutron and the first artificially induced nuclear transmutation. However, while physicists celebrated these momentous discoveries—which presaged the era of big science and nuclear bombs—Europe was moving inexorably toward totalitarianism and war. In April of that year, about forty of the world’s leading physicists—including Werner Heisenberg, Lise Meitner, and Paul Dirac—came to Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen Institute for their annual informal meeting about the frontiers of physics.
Physicist Gino Segrè brings to life this historic gathering, which ended with a humorous skit based on Goethe’s Faust—a skit that eerily foreshadowed events that would soon unfold. Little did the scientists know the Faustian bargains they would face in the near future. Capturing the interplay between the great scientists as well as the discoveries they discussed and debated, Segrè evokes the moment when physics—and the world—was about to lose its innocence.
Sekimori, Gaynor (Translator). Hibakusha: Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Charles E Tuttle Co., 1989).
This book's 25 firsthand accounts by hibakusha—survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945—constitute and indictment of nuclear weapons far more eloquent than any polemic. The Writers represent a cross section of the bombs' victims: soldiers, doctors and nurses, students, housewives, small chldren, Koreans brought to Japan for forced labor—even victims yet unborn. The work includes 16 pages of historic photos taken after the bombings and 8 pages of photos of survivors today.
Selden, Kyoko and Mark Selden. The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki (M.E. Sharpe, 1997).
Many accounts, personal and secondary, have been written by and about the victims of the atomic bombs, the best known being John Hersey's. Following an essay which discusses (and indicts) the decisions to drop the bombs, the Seldens have assembled literary expressions, factual and fictional, written by those who experienced the world's only nuclear warfare. The testimony appears in the form of "Novellas," "Poetry," a "Photo Essay," "Citizens' Memoirs," "Pictures by Atomic Bomb Survivors" (not available for review), and "Children's Voices." As the editors assert, these voices " . . . merit careful listening," but their graphic descriptions of unimaginable horrors challenge both stomach and conscience. (Kenneth W. Berger, Duke University, for Library Journal)
Shelden, Mark. The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki (M.E. Sharpe, 1997).
Many accounts, personal and secondary, have been written by and about the victims of the atomic bombs, the best known being John Hersey's Hiroshima ( LJ 11/1/46; 9/15/85 rev. ed.). Following an essay which discusses (and indicts) the decisions to drop the bombs, the Seldens have assembled literary expressions, factual and fictional, written by those who experienced the world's only nuclear warfare. The testimony appears in the form of "Novellas," "Poetry," a "Photo Essay," "Citizens' Memoirs," "Pictures by Atomic Bomb Survivors" (not available for review), and "Children's Voices." As the editors assert, these voices " . . . merit careful listening," but their graphic descriptions of unimaginable horrors challenge both stomach and conscience. (Kenneth W. Berger, Duke Univ. Lib., Durham, N.C.)
Senesh, Hannah. Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2004).
During her brief life, 1921-1944, Hannah Senesh became a national hero in Israel. Her diary begins in 1933 in her native Budapest. In the midst of entries about school, boys, and travel, her growing awareness of herself as a Zionist emerges; while she is learning Hebrew and making plans to move to Palestine, thoughts on the impending war pepper her writing. In 1939, she moves to Palestine to attend the Girl's Agricultural School and work on a kibbutz. That same year, World War II is formally declared. Hannah feels powerless in the face of its horrors: "We can do nothing else; we're forbidden to take action, though there is certainly a difference between passivity and inactivity." But she volunteers, the only female, for a parachute troop with a secret mission to land behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia, sneak into occupied Hungary, and warn the Jewish population, including her mother, of their imminent fate. Tension is strong in her last letter, penned the day she parachutes into Yugoslavia. The next section of the book is written by two fellow parachuters who provide more details about their mission and portray Hannah Senesh as a brave, wise, and compassionate woman. The last section is written by her mother, imprisoned in Budapest when Hannah was captured and brought to the same jail, where Hannah was tortured and died at age twenty-three. (Reviewed by Holly Smith for 500 Great Books by Women)