Book Reviews - Second World War

I never read or learnt about the Second World War in school, because India was dealing with it's own wars and fights. War wasn't really the most attractive subject either, for a 15 year old (That's when I, technically, started reading). I went from Mills & boons, to sweet valley high, vampire love stories, motivational, to Sidney Sheldon, Paulo Coelho, to Indian authors. There was no turning back; I had become a "Reader". Don't close the tab just yet I, finally, grew up. Now so many things interest me. History, philosophy, psychology, classics, autobiographies, to cut the list short, I have found my new true love... Non-fiction. If I can learn something from it, I'll read it.

I have been reading a lot of books, watching lots of movies and documentaries on war, especially the Second World War. So if you too want to be bitten by this bug, here are some of my favorite books on this amazing War, which left many scared as well as scarred for life.

"The Diary of a Young Girl", by Anne Frank


More about the book here.



Genre - Non-fiction
Rating - 5/5 stars

My Review - The classic... I was quiet overwhelmed. At one point in the entries, I wanted to rate the book 2 stars (for monotony, at various places.) But what else do you expect from a girl in hide out for more than 2 years?! But it really is worth 5 stars. Anne is a typical teenager, but smarter. The humor she finds in her confined solitary living condition, is worth noting. The things she figures out about life, in her "secret annex", without any exposure to the outside world is commendable. She has managed to see both sides of the coin. Amateur in some parts, she excels in intelligently analyzing some situations of the war, religion, interactions, and hope. It breaks my heart to know that they survived with so many struggles, for so long, only to be found right when the war ended. She would have grown up to be a fine, successful, and beautiful lady. She is honest, practical and curious. Reading Anne's thoughts was absolutely entertaining and thought provoking. She has talked about every relationship possible. She talks about parents, siblings, friends, love, pets, books, family friends, helpers, people in general and the most important relationship of all, her relationship with herself. It was worth reading. The only issue I had was, they should have added her end briefly at the end of the book, and not as a synopsis at the back cover. It took me sometime to finish the book, as I didn't have a lot of time past few days. But to be honest, I think I'll miss Anne. I'll miss reading about her. I'll miss her diary.
Yours, 
Shruti

"The Complete Maus", by Art Spiegelman

More about the book here.
Genre - Non-fiction
Rating - 5/5 stars

My Review - Incredible presentation of the holocaust of a man, whose survival is not only surprising but disturbing at the same time. The Father-Son relationship is so ordinary, yet their past is far from ordinary. I can't even begin to imagine the torture they had to go through to just live. Leaving behind one family after another is in itself to traumatic. On top of that, depriving a living being of food. No humanity, a person basically following barter syster to earn their bread, shelter (to hide), or just asking for favors. It's shocking and sad for even those who managed to survive. No one in this world should ever have to feel that way or suffer the way they did. If one thing we need to end in today's time, it would be poverty in every possible way and in ever country. No living being should be left hungry. An excellent graphic novel, highly recommended for those who wish to know how it was for the Jewish community during the second world war. Unlike the artistic graphics, the story wasn't pretty. So read only if you can take it.

"Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz", by Rena Korenreich Gelissen, Heather Dune Macadam


More about the book here.

Genre - Non-fiction
Rating - 5/5 stars

My Review - I never get tired of reading about the Second world war, and about the concentration camps. It's a huge part of mankind's history. As humans we have a big lesson to learn. Rena's story brought tears to my eyes at various occasions. There is a very special message conveyed through her story. Her courage, her strength, the bond, speaks a lot through her actions. I have read a few books on similar topic and experience, however there were so many new things I educated myself with. This story is like no other. Compassion, determination, alertness and the honesty to save others, these are the simple rules to live by. I am happy that I came across this story and could read the latest edition. Life is full of lessons. Keep learning. And Rena.. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for teaching me so many lessons. Thank you for being an inspiration. May God rest your soul in peace. And may God never ever bring such cruelty in this life, ever again.

"The Woeful Second World War" by Terry Deary

More about the book here.

Genre - Non-fiction
Rating - 5/5 stars

My Review - I know this book was meant to educate children in school on the subject of Second world war, in a more sophisticated cartoon and language. But how many even remember all the details today? So many facts, so many stories, I thoroughly enjoyed the straightforward account of events. Very clearly written.
Remember.

PS: I have a few more that are on hold for now. I will review those, once I am done reading other subjects. 

Love & Peace
Shruti

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