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World War II

Murakami: Putting Normal Characters in Weird Situations

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I first heard of Haruki Murakami a decade ago and instantly knew we had a connection. It was while reading the first pages of his tome 1Q84, in which a young woman riding a taxi on an elevated expressway in bumper-to-bumper traffic realizes she is going to miss an important meeting, grabs her shoulder bag, steps out of the cab, and negotiates the fully jammed expressway by foot until she can make her way to the nearest ramp. I try to picture someone doing this on the Long Island Expressway. What a concept, my kind of weirdness — and I had 1,174 pages to go! That book – and many others by Murakami– should have prepared me for Killing Commendatore…

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Ike and Kay a World War II Passionate Love Affair

in Fiction by

There are some stories we hear and dismiss as just rumor… and then there are others that are too good to ignore. This is exactly what led critically acclaimed historical fiction author James MacManus to discover the incredible story of the love affair between Dwight Eisenhower and Kay Summersby, his wartime aide and driver. Ike and Kay (Overlook Press) sees a love story between two people amid the carnage and the horrors of the Second World War in Europe and North Africa. The affair between Eisenhower and Summersby was fragile but passionate, made stronger by the support she offered to him throughout the difficulties of war.  Though Eisenhower returned to his wife, there’s no doubting they were genuinely in love.…

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AuthorBuzz: A Father’s Love and an Assignment to Find a Stud

in Giveaways by

When I was five or six, my father told me a story about an uncle of his, who had fought in the Danish resistance during World War II. Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award, Bronze Winner of the Foreword Indies, Honorable Mention at the San Francisco Book Festival, The Second Winter conjures this mythical figure from my childhood. It is not a war novel, however, but ultimately the story of the want and transcendence of a father’s love. I’m giving away 10 copies to mark the paperback release January 16. Contact me to win at  http://www.craiglarsen.net/contact/. As a broker of happily ever afters, Evie Milligan’s job is to serve as a “stud finder,” pairing wildly successful women with men who won’t fleece them and will adore them. Her next assignment ought to be an easy one…

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Jewish History is Revisited in Martha Hall Kelly’s ‘Lilac Girls’

in Fiction by

If you missed the release of Lilac Girls, now is the time to buy the paperback. It is historical fiction based on true and harrowing events during World War II. For me, the Holocaust has always been mostly about how the Jews were prosecuted; a devastating time in our history across the world. But of course the Jewish people were not the only ones who were affected. Author Martha Hall Kelly gets up close and personal with Kasia, a young Polish girl with Jewish ancestry who is completing secret missions for the underground anti-war efforts and is captured by the Gestapo with her sister and her mother. One of these unforgettable characters is Herta, an out of work, German doctor…

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‘No Good Reasons At All’: A Literary View of the Full Implications of War

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Reckless saber-rattling with an unstable despot and growing nuclear power in North Korea, sixteen years of fighting in Afghanistan, insurmountable issues in the Middle East, irrational bigotry and hatred consuming far too many, an enemy power’s blatant interference with the sovereignty of our electoral process, terrorism both domestic and foreign, indiscriminately striking every corner of the world, American soldiers dying in far away places we didn’t even know we had a presence, an administration neither aware or concerned with the potential implications of entering into war and by all appearances far too eager to do so – all issues that take place in our country. We live in challenging times. Given the implications of modern warfare, if we make a…

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Kiss From a Rose: Award-Winning Author Rose Tremain on Writing and ‘Mastering’ Oneself

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Set in Switzerland during World War II , Rose Tremain’s literary masterpiece, The Gustav Sonata, follows the life of Gustav Perle, who is taught at a young age by his mother to master himself, and his emotions – to be neutral like Switzerland in the war. When he begins a friendship with Anton, the young Jewish boy and piano-playing prodigy in his class, Gustav is instantly struck by the comparison between Anton’s supportive and loving family life, and his own, colder relationship with his mother; what begins as an unlikely childhood friendship, becomes a lifelong relationship. Spanning six decades, this novel is a heartbreaking, wonderful story of conscience, friendship, love, and the consequences and legacy of war. Booktrib recently interviewed Rose Tremain about…

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On the 70th Anniversary of V-J Day, a WWII Hero Looks Back

in Non-Fiction by

August 15 marks the 70th anniversary of V-J (Victory over Japan) Day. For many of us this date may be no more than another Saturday filled with afternoon barbecues and summer fun. For others, it is a day of much greater significance. It was on this date in 1945 that the surrender of Japan was announced around the world and World War II ended. While the official surrender ceremony would not occur for another two weeks aboard the USS Missouri, the effects were felt immediately. Planes were called back from bombing and strafing runs, troops were ordered to cease fire and navy ships were ordered back to port. Around the world, particularly in the Pacific, an uneasy peace began to…

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Video: Missed It? Interview with Sarah Moore, Author of Flying Colors

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Victor Vic Tatelman was a cadet in Visalia, California when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. A chilling anger along with undeniable feelings of retribution filled the air, and Vic, just like the other Cadets, looked for the opportunity to pay back. Vic flew more than 120 missions, serving two tours of duty, first in the Pacific in World War II, and then again in the Pacific during the Korean War, having earned may Air Medals, two DFC (Distinctive Flying Crosses), and one Purple Heart. In 1947, He joined the Reserves. Among many assignments, he worked at the Pentagon, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was responsible for the development and training of other cadets in the deployment of the new sophisticated…

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The Train to Crystal City is both history and cautionary tale about xenophobia

in Non-Fiction by

While Franklin D. Roosevelt is regarded by the vast majority of presidential scholars to be among the three greatest American presidents (along with Washington and Lincoln), his administration bears the stain of a human rights violations that are still coming to light today. That violation is the internment of more than 100,000 Americans of foreign ancestry following the United States’ entry into World War II in 1941. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Government, under the now-infamous Executive Order 9066, rounded up citizens of Japanese, German and Italian descent and placed them in internment camps around the country. A recently released book sheds new light on a little-known aspect of the internment program. In The Train to Crystal…

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When Books Went to War to fight facism with freedom of expression

in Non-Fiction by

When Nazi Germany began invading neighboring countries in the 1930s it not only declared war on freedom, liberty, and tolerance—it declared war on the printed page as well. By 1941, the Nazis had banned and burned more than 100 million books and had driven terrified citizens to hide or destroy many more. But as the United States entered the war, books fought back. Molly Guptill Manning’s When Books Went to War (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014) tells the remarkable tale of the power of literacy in the face of totalitarianism. It describes how an army of American librarians, along with the U.S. publishing industry, struck back against fascism and helped our men and women in uniform win the war. “American librarians…

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A rabbi reveals the colorful history of the Jews of Asia

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In his latest book, Pepper, Silk and Ivory: Amazing Stories about Jews and the Far East (Gefen Publishing House, 2014), Rabbi Marvin Tokayer regales the reader with stories of Jews who traversed the Far East—from Burma, China and Japan to all points in between—and who made significant contributions in ancient lands. The book, co-authored with Ellen Rodman, Ph.D., is replete with stories of Jews who left their mark on societies normally considered outside the Jewish cultural orbit. Colorful characters, such as Morris “Two Gun” Cohen (the first and only Jewish general in the Chinese army) and Moe Berg (the major leaguer who was a U.S. spy in Japan), illustrate the Jews’ ability to adapt and contribute while maintaining allegiance to…

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The forgotten hero who helped save England in World War II

in Non-Fiction by

Harry Hopkins entered my life in my final year at St. Andrews University in Scotland when my tutor, who was from Texas, wanted me to assess the reputation of a man who had fallen “through a trapdoor in history.” I had never heard of Harry Hopkins before and nor, as my tutor remarked sadly, had anyone else in the United Kingdom. Yet, he told me that Britain’s wartime survival in the face of the Nazi onslaught owed a great deal to a man whom Winston Churchill had called “ a lighthouse from which there shone the beams that led great fleets to harbour.” The memory of that conversation has stayed with me. Forty-five years later, I hope I have thrown…

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Video: Missed It? Live Interview with James MacManus, Author of Sleep in Peace Tonight

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ABOUT SLEEP IN PEACE TONIGHT It’s January 1941, and the Blitz is devastating England. Food supplies are low, Tube stations in London have become bomb shelters, and U-boats have hampered any hope of easy victory. Though the United States maintains its isolationist position, Churchill knows that England is finished without the aid of its powerful ally. Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt’s most trusted adviser, is sent to London as his emissary, and there he falls under the spell of Churchill’s commanding rhetoric—and legendary drinking habits. As he experiences life in a country under attack, Hopkins questions the United States’ silence in the war. But back home FDR is paranoid about the isolationist lobby, and even Hopkins is having trouble convincing him…

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D-Day plus 70: A World War II veteran looks back

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In 1944, US Army Signal Corps Cpl. Herbert F. Geller was serving as a radio repairman attached to the Eighth Army Air Force in Burtonwood, England. This is his reminiscence of D-Day. D-Day, the Allied invasion of France was no military secret in England before the real D-Day. We all heard on the radio and read in the British and American newspapers that a huge Allied invasion being organized in England was going to take place in June 1944. How could anyone in England not know that this was going to happen very soon? Anyone driving on M-1, the main highway through central England to the Channel, could see that one lane of the highway was blocked by hundreds or…

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