Tag: world war II


Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood With Britain In their Darkest Hour by Lynne Olson

September 7th, 2017 — 5:54pm

Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood With Britain In Their Darkest Hour by Lynne Olson

I thought that I had a pretty good understanding of the famous cast of characters behind the scenes of World War II. Growing up in the post-war years, I read many books and followed radio, television and movies on this subject. I certainly heard the previous generation talk about FDR and the New Deal. Also, Edward R. Murrow was one of my heroes and I collected his I Can Hear It Now record albums and as a youngster, I followed his TV shows Person To Person and other productions, and even tried in a small way to emulate him during college as I had a radio program called Face the Mike. But I must admit after reading Citizens of London, I realized that I  “didn’t know squat” which really means I didn’t appreciate what was really going on during this fascinating time in history.

This book puts the spotlight mainly on three people:

Gil Winant who was Ambassador to England from the United States during World War II.

Averell Harriman, who was in charge of Lend-Lease and a confidant of Roosevelt and Churchill.

Edward R. Murrow, who was the iconic radio newsman who made memorable broadcast from England back to the United States.

In addition, this book provided an amazing insight into the thinking of Winston Churchill and FD Roosevelt, as well as Dwight Eisenhower and the people around these great men.

This book also captures, in depth, the atmosphere in Britain from the late 1930s to the post-war years. The author provides insight into the thinking and feelings of the citizens of London, as well as the Americans who, for various reasons, spent much of his period in this very special city. We come to see and understand the contrast between England as they battled the Nazis, who eventually took over Europe, and the Americans on the other side of the pond who were very reluctant to get involved in the war. In Britain, they were rationing food while America was coming out of a depression and beginning to enjoy prosperity.

It took the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to get the United States to finally join the British in the war against Germany. This book gives us an inside view of the bustling City of London as hundreds of thousands, if not more, of the allied soldiers gathered to await for D-Day. We see this city become a vibrant place, despite having been heavily bombed by the Germans,  that would endure even more severe V2 rocket attacks later in the war.

I also had no idea of the disputes and infighting between the British generals and their American  counterparts, as well as the jostling between FDR and Winston Churchill. It was especially interesting to see the behind-the-scene interactions when these great leaders held their secret meetings during the war  or as they communicated back and forth through their emissaries.  We are also given the sense of the complicated post-war planning or should I say the serious lack of such planning that created many difficulties when the war finally ended. It was an amazing disparity between the jubilant United States at the end of the war that was looking forward to an expanding economy, an equally jubilant, liberated and unscared Paris, filled with victorious soldiers and grateful citizens, whereas London was still climbing out of the devastating damage from the bombing, rationing and the scourge of war  as the Americans found their way home.

This book couldn’t cover everything in depth and it is a little light in discussing the extent of the holocaust. It did describe perhaps Edward R. Murrow’s most dramatic radio broadcast back to the United States (even more memorable than the broadcast from a US bomber over Germany that was nearly blasted from the sky) and that was the broadcast of Murrow’s description after he entered the Buchenwald concentration camps with the US troops. As he witnessed the unspeakable horrendous sights  he nevertheless did find the words to describe them, despite his tears.

Lynne Olson has tapped many historical resources, published diaries, as well as archives about the war to provide a vivid and sometimes a very personal behind-the-scenes account of World War II. She has framed this story by focusing on a handful of participants, one of which is the City of London itself. The author also pulled aside the curtain that  usually covers the personal lives of these famous participants. The wind and heat of war apparently led to various romantic liaisons in the three major subjects of this book, Winant, Harriman and Murrow and even involved trysts with women of the Churchill Family. There was even an unexpected very sad suicide by one very important character in this book.

This is a very well done, informative and interesting book that well deserves your attention.

 

Comment » | P - Political

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

June 4th, 2016 — 12:30am

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 3.01.52 PMThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

If there is any book that has greatly contributed to my understanding of the bravery and resilience of victims of Nazi, Germany it was The Diary of Anne Frank. That book was written by a teenage girl who was hiding in Amsterdam for two and half years until she and her family were betrayed and she was killed. There have been many subsequent books about World War II and the Holocaust. Yet none of them has done it better than The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, an American novelist who was a lawyer turned writer. She did not go through any horrendous experiences as did Anne Frank and others in her own life but she obviously is a thorough researcher and a very skilled, sensitive writer who has written many successful novels prior to this number one bestseller.

Ms. Hannah has told the story how she came across the account of a Belgian woman, Andrea DeJoneg who was part of the underground resistance during World War II and guided many downed Allied pilots across the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain at the risk of her own life. Based on her research and her insight into the human psyche, Ms. Hannah was able to create the characters of this book. She recounted the acts of tremendous bravery that were shown by her protagonists and she was empathically able to describe their emotional experiences in a very believable manner.

The author focused mainly on women, particularly two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac who were not Jewish and lived in Carriveau, a small French village that was occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The reader comes to understand the backstories of these women. Isabelle, the rebellious one, ultimately becomes a very brave woman who shepherds downed British and American pilots across the rugged mountains to safety, risking the severe repercussions which she knew would happen if she were caught.

Her sister Vianne became a heroine in her own right, hiding Jewish children when their parents were taken away by the Nazis. Her actions reawakened questions that we have asked ourselves over the years. Would we have taken in a child (or an adult) to hide or disguise them, when to have been discovered would not only endanger our lives but those of our children? There was another point in question raised by this book when at the end of the war Vianne is faced with the prospect of now having to give up her five- or six-year-old child that she has raised for the past few years when her Jewish friend was taken away to the concentration camps. Now after the war was over, relatives of the deceased Jewish parents want to take this child to America so family there can raise him. But perhaps the most challenging question that the characters in this book face is whether Vianne should tell her husband, who returned home after being a POW held by the Nazis, that the pregnancy with the child that he now feels is his child, but was actually conceived shortly before they reunited, is really the pregnancy of the brutal rape from the German officer who made her house his living quarters before he retreated with the Nazis when the Allies liberated France. Should she have told her husband the truth and should she now more than 40 years after the end of the war tell the truth to the now grownup child who is a successful surgeon and very attentive to his mother.

It is these stories as well as the vivid description of life in occupied France as well in the concentration camps, which are part of this novel that makes this book so unforgettable. It well deserves the acclaim that it is receiving and I’m sure it will be made into an unforgettable movie.

Comment » | FG - Fiction General, FH - Fiction Historical

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

February 25th, 2015 — 2:40pm

‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 1.20.01 PM

Why does a man who was born more than 30 years after the start of World War II decide to write about the lives of a young blind girl and a German youth during this period of time where their lives ultimately intersect?And why do I, who was born just before the start of this war, find myself still seeking out books about this period of time? This is a question I cannot answer, but I do have a recommendation for the readers of this blog, which I will share at the conclusion of this review.

Marie-Laure was born in Paris and became blind at the age of six. She was the daughter of a widowed locksmith of the Natural Museum of Paris. She was very close to her father, who when war broke out fled with her to the seaside town of Saint-Malo. They lived with her great-uncle who had been traumatized by World War I and was afraid to go out in the street. She was left living with him when her father did not return from a trip to Paris.The great-uncle had a radio in his attic, to which they could listen, as well as transmit. Werner Pfennig was a German orphan who grew up in a children’s home in Berlin. He developed a fascination with and the knowledge about radio circuits, which was the skill that ultimately became his work in the Nazi Army.  There are many sub-themes in this developing story, which include the tale of a valuable blue diamond, which people believed gave special powers to those who possessed it. There also was a description of the ruthless training of the German youths and of the bravery of some of the French citizens that occurred during wartime.

Each chapter ultimately alternated between the lives of the blind French girl and the young German lad, as well as a few other people. It should not be surprising to learn that this book is very well-written and well-received. It received a National Book Award and was on the ‘New York Times’ bestseller list for 38 weeks. By examining the microcosm of these two persons’ lives the reader gets a feeling of the humanity, or the lack of it, of some of the people who lived and died during this horrendous recent history. As well-written as this book may be, it is really still a figment of the imagination of the talented Mr. Doerr. It is a fine piece of literature that could round out a reading list for the contemporary reader. However, if you are a young person wishing to be educated on this dark period of 20th Century history or even an older person who has not previously explored this era, this book may not be the place to start. I would suggest two other books; one a classic and the other one probably read by very few people. If you have not read it, I suggest that you read ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank, which is the memoir of a young girl in Holland during the Nazi occupation. This perhaps is the most well-known and well-received book about this period of time. The other book that I would suggest is How We Survived – 52 Personal Stories by Child Survivors of the Holocaust’ (See my review of this book). This is a vivid, valid and authentic group of short vignettes that will hold your attention and tell a story as informative and moving as the fine novel which I just reviewed.There are also some other recent novels about the Holocaust that I would bring to your attention: ‘Once We Were Brothers’ by Ronald Balson, ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult and The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak.( see my reviews of these books) This is obviously a topic that can be explored with many fine pieces of literature, and this book by Mr. Doerr is a very good addition to this library of books.

 

 

Comment » | FH - Fiction Historical

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

December 25th, 2014 — 5:52pm

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand– I read this book and wrote this review prior to seeing the movie by the same name. I do plan to see it and will review it in FilmRap.net.Screen Shot 2014-12-25 at 1.30.47 PM (click here to see review)

Louie Zampereini was an Italian-American boy from a poor family who was raised in Torrance, California. He was a rough and tumble kid who had a propensity for stealing things and getting into trouble. He was fast on his feet and ultimately developed into a record breaking track star who participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. When World War II came about he signed up for the Army Air Force and became a bombardier. Early in the war his plane on a mission crash-landed in the Pacific Ocean where he and two other airman survived in rafts for 47 days as they drifted 2000 miles. During this time they battled starvation, dehydration, hungry sharks and storms as well as Japanese planes that strafed them with machinegun fire. If you think this was bad you should see what happened after they were rescued at sea…by the Japanese and made prisoners of war (although they were never treated according to the Geneva Convention rules for POWs). We see how things were absolutely terrible and how demeaning the treatment of American Prisoners was, ironically clearly much worse than the German Nazis reportedly dealt with their American captives. Louis was apparently treated much more savagely once he was recognized as an Olympic track star.

Being a member of the Silent Generation and having come of age in the decade following WWII, I grew up as a kid reading all sorts of stories and seeing all the movies about this war. Even now as an older guy I am still drawn to a book such as this one. I am sorry to say that reading about the awful treatment by the Japanese of the helpless American prisoners, my old negative prejudiced feelings about the Japanese people were awakened. I know these are irrational and are related to issues from a previous generation. Although a few kind guards were mentioned, there clearly was, at that time, an institutionalized culture of cruel, vicious treatment of the Americans who were starved, tortured and made to do slave labor. We see these atrocities through the eyes of Zamperini who was officially considered dead by his government although his family seemed to have never given up hope for him. We trace his ordeal as he is moved to various prison camps and was never registered with the Red Cross as a POW although that was the usual procedure mostly followed by the Japanese who nevertheless hid their maltreatment of their captives.

The book does not end with his liberation at the end of the war. It follows Zamperini’s reintegration into civilization and his seeming resilience but also his very dark and destructive periods, which were almost as bad as you can imagine. The author Laura Hillenbrand, who previously wrote the best seller Seabiscuit had access to diaries, newspaper articles, radio and television interviews and a gigantic trove of people to interview who knew Zamperini in the various phases of his life including those who were imprisoned with him and close family members. She also had the opportunity to interview Zamperini himself more than 75 times and became quite close to him before he died in July of 2014 at the age of 97.

At times the book seems overly repetitious. Perhaps it felt that way because it was so painful. I am not giving away the ending because the title clearly does that but this book is also about the human spirit. As an outsider who didn’t live through his ordeal and didn’t live through this time as an adult, I can only try to get into Louis’ head through this book. When we try to do this, there is a tendency for us to be traumatized. At one point in the book we learn that recently there was a commemorative memorial made by the local Japanese people at the site of one of the camps at which Zamperini spent much of his time. It honored and remembered the prisoners who were there, many of them who had died there. We are also told that there are pictures of six birds flying in the sky as symbols of the memory for 6 of the prison guards who were tried as war criminals and executed! On the day that I am writing this review there is a front page article in the New York Times that discusses the current Japanese Prime Minister Abe and his hope to bring about a change in the Japanese constitution which was written post war by the Americans and forbids Japan from ever going to war again. Time marches on.

 

1 comment » | B - Biography, HI - History

Winter of the World by Ken Follett

September 27th, 2014 — 1:55pm

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 1.52.48 PMWinter of the World by Ken Follett– This #1 New York Times bestseller is book two of a trilogy by Ken Follett. It covers the time period 1933-1949. The book provides another opportunity for those of us who think we know this period of history as well newer generations of readers to experience the tumultuous times before, during and after World War II.Follett does this by following a wide variety of fictional individuals and families who are mainly German, British, Russian and American. The paths of these people frequently cross and interrelate. At the beginning of the book the author has a useful detailed listing of all these people, which could be very helpful in reminding you who they are as the reappear in various parts of the book. Unfortunately, I am an electronic reader and it was not convenient to jump back to that section. We meet most of these characters when they are teenagers. We follow a number of them through their groping first sexual experiences, which seems a little overdone. We do emerge with an inside view of rising fascism in Nazi Germany and the subsequent historical events. We are reminded that some people embraced Nazism and others clearly didn’t understand it until it was too late to object. One of the vignettes which stands out in my mind was the situation where two families in Germany were informed that their developmentally disabled children who were in a particular school were being transferred to a special hospital where “innovative research was being conducted which might help them.” One family member decided to personally investigate the situation with a clandestine visit to the hospital where she learned that their children as well as the old, infirmed, disabled, even babies were systematically being killed. This, of course, was only a small part of the Nazi extermination program. There were many vignettes depicting the horrors of the realities of combat on the various fronts of World War II. There also was some interesting and poignant insight into the plight of the idealistic men who volunteered to fight against Franco in Spain and were ruthlessly routed. There was an unforgettable scene in which a group of people who the readers had come to know, were visiting the brother of one of them who happened to be stationed in then peaceful Pearl Harbor on the day that the Japanese decided to attack. One of the most haunting scenes in the book was described in the chapter which dealt with the Russian soldiers who carried out wide spread rape of German women as they conquered their country in what they considered a payback for what the invading German armies had done to Russian civilians. There also were interesting insights presented into the politics of these times. Some of the people who we were following had personal or work relationships with Stalin, the British Prime Ministers as well as the American diplomats who formulated the post war policies including the Berlin Airlift and the Marshall Plan. All of these relationships and interactions became even more indelible because they were told through characters that the reader had come to know over 15- 20-year period, I certainly will look forward to catching up on Follett’s other two books of this trilogy as well as reading some of his other novels.

Comment » | FH - Fiction Historical

The Guns At Last Light – The War In Western Europe by Rick Atkinson

August 25th, 2013 — 3:19pm

The Guns at Last LightThe Guns At Last Light – The War In Western Europe by Rick Atkinson – This is the final book of a trilogy about the war in Western Europe. It begins with the plans for the Normandy invasion and concludes with the German surrender and the death of Hitler.  For those of us who grew up in the post WWII years and have a certain attraction to the many great books that have detailed this war, this series stands to be the most comprehensive, complete and I would imagine the most accurate of the great books written  on this subject .While I have not read the first two of this series, I base my opinion on the fact that Atkinson draws upon all the previous works as well as extensive quotes from the diaries and writings of the participants from Churchill, Eisenhower, Montgomery, De Gaulle  etc., their aides, their wives, their letters as well as the reporters of the times such Severid, Murrow, Hemmingway, Pyle etc. He also includes the writings from the diaries and letters of the GIs who fought the war including many heart wrenching letters from soldiers who were subsequently killed in action. Needless to say he draws insights from both sides of the conflict. The book covers the big picture as well as the human view from the foxhole. You could easily say that the book was over detailed but on the other hand it didn’t seem to miss anything. Each chapter has a small map of where things stood at a particular time but it was really difficult to read and appreciate. On the other hand being able to follow the narrative clearly would require a large wall map in color on your wall that would change with every few pages. (In the future electronic books, i pads and computer readers should have a tab which one could go back and forth and see a full screen map with flashing or moving graphics.) The book captures the drama and the tension of planning and executing the crossing of the British Channel. Although we may have previously read about it or seen films about this subject, it is still almost impossible to fully appreciate the logistical miracle of carrying it out as well as the terrible loss of life, injury and emotional trauma that these hundreds of thousands of soldiers experienced. It is equally difficult to realize that the survivors and hundreds of thousands of new soldiers were to go through the horrific experience of the Battle of the Bulge and the painful march through Germany, crossing the Rhine and ultimate destruction of the German military. Imagine landing crafts filled with soldiers being destroyed before they reached the shore, gliders laden with troops being shot out of the sky or crashing into the ground.  There are all sorts of horrendous descriptions of Sherman Tanks or German Panzer Tanks either bringing about tremendous destruction or being blown up themselves with their occupants going up in flames. The narrative while seemingly tracing every painful kilometer across France and Germany switches back and forth from the battle line to various command centers behind the lines where Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patten and lesser but well known names are interacting in person or through messages sent back and forth. We get insight into the personalities, of our leaders as well as conflicts with each other. We can appreciate their   brilliance as well as their mistakes. Every decision that they would make, when to advance, when to pull back, which side to move, who would cover which flank, when to bomb etc. would invariably cost hundreds if not thousands of casualties or fatalities of their troops. Sometimes there would be “fratricide” where errors were made of bombarding our own troops. There is even material showing what was going on in the German headquarters with some insight into their personalities. Although no new ground was broken in understanding the mindset that brought about the concentration camps, the discovery of them, the horror that was seen and the allied reaction to it is all there. The epilogue which sums up the massive cost of this war in a wide range of parameters from the 56 million hand grenades used, to battlefield causalities of the Americans since D-Day which exceeded ¾ million of whom at least 165,000 were dead, plus 62,000 air casualties – half of them dead. British, Canadian, Polish and ancillary forces tallied combat losses of 194,000 including 42,000 killed. Of all German boys born between 1915 and 1924 1/3 were dead or missing.  Some 14 percent of the Soviet population of 190 million perished during the war. After the war, the digging up of American bodies from German soil so no soldier was left behind is another story which is briefly chronicled and will pull on the emotions of the reader along with so many other episodes in this piece of world history. Throughout the 878 pages (one quarter of which is notes and references) I would periodically ask myself why I was so drawn to still another account of this Great War, however well written and complete it might be? For some it might be to fully appreciate the war of their fathers, grandparents or great grandparents, which is certainly part of the reason for me (although only my uncles were in this great war). However, I have come to understand for me and perhaps for others young and old, this book allows me to identify with these brave people as I try to answer the an unanswerable question. How would I have dealt with being a soldier and participating in the “Guns of Last Light?”

Comment » | HI - History

My Father’s Fortune by Michael Frayn

April 21st, 2012 — 11:13pm

My Father’s Fortune—Michael Frayn is an accomplished author and playwright who has written the story of his father’s life which is in part  an autobiography of his own youth growing up in the outskirts of London. The author has already exceeded the life span of his father who died at the age of 69. The book is Frayn’s attempt of a remembrance of his father, which he wishes to pass on to future generations of his family. By his own words, his father was not a remarkable man, rather quite typical for the times. His son is able to put  this story in public view because he is an accomplished writer who writes quite well and has a history of successful award winning novels and plays. It is not because it is a captivating unique, particularly insightful view into the human psyche. As a psychiatrist who has had the privilege of listening to many family histories in great detail over the years, this one as presented doesn’t not rate very high as one with complex  or unusual revealing psycho dynamics. Of course it was not the purpose of this author to purport his story as anything more than the tale of his beloved father.

Certainly since the author’s mother died when he was a pre-adolescent, his father took on a more significant role in his life . This was especially pertinent because his subsequent stepmother never became very important to him or to his sister. His father was a poorly educated man who had a difficult childhood, had a hereditary hearing deficit (which was not passed on to his sister or himself) and worked as an asbestos salesman for most of his life. He never had much money and would always prefer to buy something second hand or improvise even when he could afford things. He wasn’t particularly affectionate to his kids and actually made his son feel that he was a disappointment to him because he never quite caught on to the British national sport of cricket. In retrospect, the author appreciated his father’s effort to see that he had a good education which made a difference in his life especially  because he became a man of words.

It should be mentioned that the picture which he painted of his only younger sibling was not very flattering. He noted that she chose not to talk to him or his second wife for most of his adult life, without any reason known to the author. In the end, the book as broadens the reader’s cultural awareness, by describing a close up look at one family in London, in the generation spanning before, during and after World War II. The family highlight was the family’s experience with the “doodle bomb”  which was the Nazi’s pilot less rocket bombs which frequently attacked their neighborhood and all of London.
We cannot fault this talented author for wanting to tell the story of his family for future generations of his progeny. However, it would have been twice as good a read had the author instead written a novel and weaved a plot or an interesting storyline on top of all the descriptions of the events of his family.

Comment » | AM - Autobiography or Memoir, B - Biography

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

September 4th, 2009 — 5:53am

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyI found this a delightful book which told about a place I never knew existed and presented another refreshing story of the courage that people have shown during occupation by the Nazis during World War II. The book also captured how the love of books and reading can sustain people .There is wonderful character development including insight into romance and love. The unique use of letters written by the various people in the book to tell the entire story, allows time to flow quickly and works extremely well.

The setting is shortly after World War II, British writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a person who lives on Guernesy which is in the English Channel and had been occupied by the Germans during the war. Through a continued series of letters she learns about the Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the various people connected to it. She finds out about Elizabeth the main creative force behind this group who during the occupation had a love affair with a caring German Captain and was willing to risk her life to help others .Juliet eventually has a prolonged visit to Guernsey and we are drawn further into the story by reading her correspondence which includes her editor and others whom she is close to back on the mainland. There are interesting twists and turns which involve a small child, a concentration camp survivor, hidden romantic feelings ultimately expressed and some previously unknown and now valuable letters from Oscar Wilde which had been written to the grandmother of one of the people on the island when she was a small child.

This novel stands on it’s own as a most enjoyable work of fiction which shows how the best in people can come out in the worst of times.

However as I read it, I found myself wondering if I would have experienced the book any differently had I been aware to what degree there was truth to the real story behind Guernsey Island. Suppose Guernsey Island didn’t really exist. OK then perhaps it is just a metaphor for the bravery of the British people during WWII. What about if in fact it was really known that most of the people on Guernsey island were collaborators? Was this story really based on people who bravely lived on this island? Was courageous Elizabeth who is the central character of this book based on a real person or an amalgam of some such people? Does it make any difference at all? Would it matter at all, if the Diary of Ann Frank instead of being a true story was just a novel purely of someone’s imagination?

In the acknowledgement, Afterword and in some published interviews with Annie Barrows co-author who finished the book after her aunt Mary Ann Shaffer died in 2008 during the final rewrite we learn a little about the origins of their creative effort.

Ms Shaffer had briefly visited Guernsey and was delayed in the airport. During that time she read and collected numerous books from the airport store. We also learn that she was a great story teller and we see she was a very fine writer. I was still curious as to how much was her own imagination and how much was founded on the real people who lived through that time. I had a brief correspondence with the Ms. Annie Barrows. She was kind enough to write to me after being forwarded a note that I wrote to Ms Mulligan who had published an interview with her and offered to tell the true story of the Wilde letters if she was asked.

Dear Mr. Blumenfield,

Ane Mulligan passed your email along to me. The characters we placed on Guernsey are fictional, which means they are composites of people we have known, heard of, or imagined. Elizabeth is not based on anyone on the island. Mary Ann was deeply interested in the Resistance fighters of WWII, in particular a Danish boy named Kim Malthe-Brun, so Elizabeth has some attributes of his, but much of her is imagined.

There are stories of heroic defiance on Guernsey, as well as of daring escapes and infiltrations. I got a lot of information from a book called Islands in Danger, by Alan Wood, which was published in 1955. Mary Ann was partial to a book called Liberation by Nick Machon. There is an Occupation Museum on Guernsey as well as numerous websites about the Occupation, if you’d like to find out more in a non-fictional vein.

Sorry about the Oscar Wilde letters–it’s an utterly fictional episode. Mary Ann adored Oscar Wilde.

Best,
Annie

I appreciate my curiosity being satisfied. Perhaps my continued reflection on this book is a tad more enjoyable knowing for sure that there were real heroes on this real island. I may even check out the author’s favorite sources and who knows perhaps we will get a chance to stop over during some future trip to Europe.

Comment » | FH - Fiction Historical

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