A unique WWII history and absorbing story of two bold, unconventional women.

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TWO ARTISTS WHO RISKED THEIR LIVES TO DEFY THE NAZIS

The story of two women artists who courageously resisted Nazi occupation of a small island.

Historian Jackson offers a fresh look at World War II resistance through the lives of Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe, lovers who lived on Jersey, part of the Channel Islands, throughout the Nazi occupation. The daughters of wealthy families in Nantes, the two had fallen in love when they were teenagers, thrived among the avant-garde in Paris in the 1920s and ’30s, and moved to Jersey in 1937 to escape rising oppression and anti-Semitism—Lucy had Jewish heritage—in the French capital. As artists, Lucy took the moniker Claude Cahun and Suzanne, Marcel Moore, with which they signed their creative work: photographs, collages, drawings. “By choosing new identities but also keeping their given names, Lucy and Suzanne remained somewhere between masculine and feminine,” Jackson observes, “resisting either category fully and enjoying the freedom to float between the two when it suited them.” In Jersey, the women were determined to demoralize the occupiers, leaving notes, cartoons, and illustrations throughout the island where soldiers could find them. “Each message,” writes the author, “tried to convince soldiers to lay down weapons, desert, and go home.” With increasing German paranoia about spies and subterfuge, avoiding suspicion was difficult; but it was not until late in the war that the women were arrested, interrogated, tried, and sentenced to death—a sentence successfully appealed. They were released after Germany’s surrender. For Lucy, who suffered many physical and mental debilities, the war “was the one moment in her life when she seemed to have the strongest sense of purpose and the most direct vision about who she wanted to be.” Drawing on archival and genealogical sources, the women’s own writings, and histories of the period, Jackson creates a vivid picture of the tense, fearsome atmosphere of Jersey under Nazi occupation and the perils of resistance.

A unique WWII history and absorbing story of two bold, unconventional women.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-916-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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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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Harari delivers yet another tour de force.

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21 LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

A highly instructive exploration of “current affairs and…the immediate future of human societies.”

Having produced an international bestseller about human origins (Sapiens, 2015, etc.) and avoided the sophomore jinx writing about our destiny (Homo Deus, 2017), Harari (History/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) proves that he has not lost his touch, casting a brilliantly insightful eye on today’s myriad crises, from Trump to terrorism, Brexit to big data. As the author emphasizes, “humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or equations, and the simpler the story, the better. Every person, group, and nation has its own tales and myths.” Three grand stories once predicted the future. World War II eliminated the fascist story but stimulated communism for a few decades until its collapse. The liberal story—think democracy, free markets, and globalism—reigned supreme for a decade until the 20th-century nasties—dictators, populists, and nationalists—came back in style. They promote jingoism over international cooperation, vilify the opposition, demonize immigrants and rival nations, and then win elections. “A bit like the Soviet elites in the 1980s,” writes Harari, “liberals don’t understand how history deviates from its preordained course, and they lack an alternative prism through which to interpret reality.” The author certainly understands, and in 21 painfully astute essays, he delivers his take on where our increasingly “post-truth” world is headed. Human ingenuity, which enables us to control the outside world, may soon re-engineer our insides, extend life, and guide our thoughts. Science-fiction movies get the future wrong, if only because they have happy endings. Most readers will find Harari’s narrative deliciously reasonable, including his explanation of the stories (not actually true but rational) of those who elect dictators, populists, and nationalists. His remedies for wildly disruptive technology (biotech, infotech) and its consequences (climate change, mass unemployment) ring true, provided nations act with more good sense than they have shown throughout history.

Harari delivers yet another tour de force.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-51217-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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