A you-are-there portrait of the horrors of war and the incredible effect one selfless person can have on hundreds.

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A FATHER, A SON, AND AN EXTRAORDINARY ACT OF HEROISM THAT CONTINUES TO LIVE ON TODAY

After discovering that his late father was a war hero, a son takes a deep dive into World War II and the terrors of the Nazi regime.

Along with Century (co-author: Hunting El Chapo, 2018, etc.), Tennessee-based pastor and first-time author Edmonds relates a fascinating war story. When the author’s daughter announced that she wanted to write a school paper on her paternal grandfather, Roddie, it startled him into realizing how little he actually knew about him. He knew from reading his father’s journals that the Nazis had captured him during battle and forced him to spend several months in brutal POW camps. Other than that, Edmonds knew very little. “His descriptions were terse,” writes the author. “Bare facts. Sometimes just fragmented sentences. Mental notes. Personal shorthand. Words clearly scribbled in haste.” Roddie had never spoken of his experiences, and Edmonds had never asked. Now, though, startled by his daughter’s plan, finding out all he could about his father became an obsession. He tracked down everyone he could find whose names were in the journals, and what they told him startled him even more: On more than one occasion, his father had saved the lives of hundreds of fellow POWs by refusing to follow Nazi officers’ orders, despite their threats to kill him if he did not. Ostensibly, the narrative—essentially a love letter from a son to his late father that is occasionally cloying—is about those two episodes, although Edmonds only devotes roughly 10 pages to them. In the bulk of the book, the author describes in chilling, horrifying detail how Nazi soldiers overran an American front line, captured thousands of GIs, forced them to march on frozen and frostbitten feet for days without food or water, and then tortured and starved them in POW camps, often leading to death.

A you-are-there portrait of the horrors of war and the incredible effect one selfless person can have on hundreds.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-290501-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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