Tag Archives: World War II

2 Book Reviews : Millions of Souls – the Philip Riteman Story; The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler

Today I received an email about Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.  What’s curious about this is that I didn’t even know about Yom HaShoah, but yesterday I finished reading a book called The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler written by William L. Shirer.  (Book review at end of this post.)

You know, it dumbfounds me how people can be so blind and indifferent, thereby allowing such unspeakable horrors to continue without correction!

A side note: One evening Dad and I were watching a program on television where people were asked on the street if they think our soldiers saved the world – referring to World War II. One young woman said no, she didn’t think they saved the world. I was aghast! Dad was disgusted. How can she not know the truth of that time? Aren’t our schools teaching anything about that part of our history anymore? Are they just skimming over it?

As soon as I finished the little book mentioned above (which, I must add, said nothing about Canadian soldiers who played a big part, and not much about American soldiers either) I began reading a book called Millions of Souls – the Philip Riteman Story. Mr. Riteman, a Jew, survived the Holocaust but his whole family was exterminated. He now lives here in Nova Scotia. A few years ago he was encouraged to tell his story, the result being this book – although it was extremely emotionally painful for him to do so as it brought back horrible memories. He now travels around the province selflessly telling some of his story to groups who invite him.

It’s timely that I should be reading these books at this time. Although I haven’t read all of Mr. Riteman’s book yet, I am going to include it here for you today on Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Believe me, it is not for young readers who are not prepared to read about the cruelties and realities of war. What I have read makes me heartsick. It is truly unthinkable what people do to people. The evil in this world …    Having said that, at some point everyone should know.

Millions of SoulsBook: Millions of Souls – the Philip Riteman Story
Author: Philip Riteman, as told to Mireille
Baula-MacWillie

Publisher: Flanker Press
Date: October 12, 2010
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 174
Price: $16.95
My Rating: A must-read as a way to know the horrific truth about the Holocaust

 

I think the best way to tell you about this book is to write here what is on the back cover.

“Philip Riteman is a Holocaust survivor whose mission is to educate today’s youth on the atrocities committed against millions of Jews and Gentiles by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime during World War II. From the Pruzhany Ghetto, Poland, Philip and his family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. There, his entire family was exterminated. As the lone survivor, Philip was used as a forced labourer in five concentration camps, where he witnessed the cruellest treatments that can be inflicted on human beings: degradation, dehumanization, starvation, hard labour, daily beatings, torture, and deliberate, cold-blooded murder.

Millions of Souls is told in three parts. First is Philip’s account of life in his hometown and as an eyewitness to the struggle for survival in the concentration camps. Second is the story of Philip’s exodus to Newfoundland after the war, where he discovered that there was still some humanity left in the world. Third is the story of Philip Riteman today, and his commitment to spreading his message: “Hate destroys people, communities, and countries. Love binds us all together and makes a better world.”

Philip Riteman’s story was recorded by Mireille Baulu-MacWillie during a series of interviews at Philip’s home in Nova Scotia, Canada.”

“I speak for millions and millions who cannot speak.” – Philip Riteman

Thank you Mr. Riteman!

You can find Millions of Souls on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler - by William L. Shirer

Book: The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler
Author: William L. Shirer
Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
Date: 1968; 7th printing January 1970
Genre: Historical
Pages: 188
Price: varies from under $1.00 up
My rating: worth reading to know the shocking truth of the madness  behind WWII

 
I read this book just to know what I may not have otherwise learned along the way. I’m glad I did. It was an easy book to read, but was difficult to read because of the horror of war, the driven insanity of Adolf Hitler, the unspeakable cruelty he promoted and insisted upon toward anyone in his way. It was revolting to me to learn more of the seeming stupidity of those around him to allow him to carry on the way he did. He was terrifying. He was insane.

My father is a WWII veteran, and I deeply respect all WWII soldiers who put their lives on the line to stop the attempted overtaking of the world, a little at a time. It was a long horrific war that could have been stopped many different times – but it wasn’t seen at first as a realistic threat. As it progressed it became very hard to stop, including several attempts on Hitler’s life which were unsuccessful. I had an uncle who was a young German soldier in WWII, one of countless who didn’t want to fight in Hitler’s armies but had no choice. How very sad and tragic it all was.

This is a small book worth reading.   Lest we forget.

You can find The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Book Review: Chasing Mona Lisa – by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey

Chasing Mona LisaBook: Chasing Mona Lisa
Author (s): Tricia Goyer, Mike Yorkey
Publisher: Revell
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Date: January 1, 2012
Genre: historical fiction
Pages: 337
Price: Kindle list price $15, available for much less
My Rating: a fast-paced exciting read
 

If you don’t know much about the Second World War, or even if you do, Chasing Mona Lisa will present to you a different slant on how things were. Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey take the reader into the drama and danger of the time when Nazi Germany was overpowering Europe and laying claim to all the wealth they wanted.

Hitler’s Germany had overrun France, and some over-zealous prominent military officials were determined to add to their private collections as much valued artwork as they could.

We meet the famous Louvre’s curator who is responsible for priceless art treasures sought by the above-mentioned officials. We also meet spies, a few members of the Resistance group determined to get their country – and their country’s art treasures – back, some other interesting characters who round out the story, and a convincing glimpse into World War II.

Chasing Mona Lisa holds the reader’s interest from the beginning to the end. It is impossible to tell who of the two authors, Tricia Goyer or Mike Yorkey,  wrote which part. It is a well-delivered story, full of tension, excitement, faith, hope, drama, intrigue, suspense, and there are history lessons to be learned amid the fiction built around the facts. The reader gets drawn into a time of war, and introduced to situations where there is theft, kidnapping, a little romance, deception, blackmail, and more.

I found Chasing Mona Lisa to be a  fast-paced book, one I was eager to pick up again after short periods away from my reading. I had to know what was going to happen next! And my guess is you will, too. :)

You can find Chasing Mona Lisa listed on BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

Remembrance Day is tomorrow; updates for NaNoWriMo & PiBoIdMo

Today was a busy day for me. I had much to do at Dad’s before I came home for the week, but I also spent lots of time just with him. I didn’t get anything at all written on my NaNo novel, but I got a fun idea for PiBoIdMo before I was even fully awake this morning. That gives me idea #16 for Day 10.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day here in Canada, Veterans Day in the USA.  Since Dad is a WWII veteran we will be attending the special service in the morning. It’s not foremost in Dad’s thinking this year, but we are seeing to it that he gets there since he would not like to miss it. Next year may be a totally different scenario. Following the service ten of our family will be going to the veterans’ dinner with Dad.

Remembrance

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMEMBER AND HONOUR OUR VETERANS ON NOVEMBER 11. THEIR SACRIFICE IS ONE WE CAN NEVER FULLY UNDERSTAND UNLESS WE’VE BEEN THERE. GET OUT TO A SERVICE AND REALLY OBSERVE AND LISTEN.

Have you ever talked with a veteran about the war, and their experiences they’re willing to discuss?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

My word is GRATEFUL: Remembrance and Thanksgiving

Lately, I have been finding it hard to write. If you have been following my progress during NaNoWriMo you will have noticed there is not much moving forward the past few days. I am so far behind now there is little hope for me to end the challenge with a high word count. I’m even wondering if I will finish this novel no matter how many words it takes to get there.

For some people, when things are going wrong in their lives, or they are just having a down time, they write. It helps them through it. But for me … I can’t seem to think that way. The creativity gets put on hold by whatever is troubling me. I seem to fall victim to my emotions, and that’s not a good thing.

Remembrance Day is a special day for this family. Our dad is a WWII veteran and we are very proud of him, especially as he was one of the young Canadian soldiers who bravely liberated the Netherlands. For years, with Dad we have attended the ceremonies and the Veterans’ dinner following the special service. This year things got a bit confused and it was difficult for awhile – my week “on duty” so it was more upsetting for me. It got straightened out but left me with a troubled heart. That affected everything since I just can’t seem to separate myself from it all even when I get away for my week at home. I think if I were good at writing through things, I would have had a lot more done on my novel by now!

Last Thursday was my birthday. I won’t say which birthday, I’ll just leave that for you to guess if you want to.  I’d been talking to God, telling Him (as if He didn’t already know, but I had to admit it) that I need help. I need help to get through this. The day before my birthday two friends called me, two friends totally apart from one another and whom I hadn’t talked with in awhile. Neither knew my of increased stress, both conversations were ministering to my need.

The next morning, November 16, a really interesting thing happened when I woke before my feet even hit the floor.

First, by way of explanation — There is someone who has a website or blog who chooses a word for herself at the beginning of each year, and challenges others to do the same. That word – individual to each person – is to be their word by which to live all that year. (I’m sorry I don’t recall who that person is, but if you know please remind me in a comment.) I had tried to come up with a word for myself, but nothing came to me. What is fascinating to me is that as I was waking on the morning of my birthday  .. there it was! My word. GRATEFUL.

My word is GRATEFUL!

Now, let me tell you, that word makes a difference. The trick is to remind myself of it in the midst of disappointment, worry creeping in, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, sadness, depression raising its ugly head, anger over things beyond my control … GRATEFUL chases it all away!  

Notice my word is not gratefulness, but I feel gratefulness when I am grateful. :)

Here is the definition for gratefulness: 

  • warm friendly feelings of gratitude [synonyms: thankfulness, appreciativeness]

The definition for grateful:

  • 1: feeling or showing gratitude; “a grateful heart”; “grateful for the tree’s shade”; “a thankful smile” [synonym:thankful] [antonym: ungrateful]
  • 2: affording comfort or pleasure; “the grateful warmth of the fire”

When negative feelings or thoughts come upon me, I remind myself that I am grateful or I have much to be grateful for and those negatives are washed away. It’s an attitude of gratitude that has to become habit for it to be most effective. (I did remember to thank God from my grateful heart for the help He sent me.)

Our Canadian Thanksgiving was October 8, USA’s Thanksgiving is coming up on November 22, so it seems quite fitting to have this word now. Try it out and see what it does for you.

My questions to you are:

  1. Do life’s struggles set your writing free? or does writing free you during times of stress?
  2. If you write when life hits you hard, how do you do it?
  3. Do you have a word to live by for this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Book Review: Watching Jimmy – by Nancy Hartry

Book: Watching Jimmy
Author: Nancy Hartry
Publisher: Tundra Books
Date: September 11, 2012 (reprint edition)
Genre: Historical Fiction for young people (age 9 and up)
Pages: 160; paperback
Price: $9.95
My Rating: exciting and absorbing from start to finish
 

I received this book from Library Thing in exchange for an honest review.

This little book was a surprise. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to be so big for its size. By that I mean, this book may be small but it is jam-packed – in such a nice way.

Nancy Hartry grabbed my attention right away with how she began this tale. She set the scene in chapter one, then hit with a gut-wrenching punch in chapter two. Even so, this interesting – yet painful – story that’s easy to read, easy to follow, easy to understand, is hard to put down until the end. And once there it evokes a satisfied sigh and leaves the reader thinking it all over.

Carolyn and Jimmy were best friends. When Jimmy got hurt, Uncle Ted’s story was that he fell off the swing. What nobody knows is that Carolyn saw the whole thing, but who can she tell? And what good would it do?

This story is set in 1958, after World War II, during a time of struggle and recovery in Canada, a historical time that will change the nation. Nancy Hartry writes in a way that illuminates that era without the reader realizing there is a history lesson being presented.

This book is well worth the read. It is very believable and captures the reader for a step back in time to learn what life in Canada was like then, and what it means to be courageous, dedicated, and truthful.

Watching Jimmy by Nancy Hartry was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, and the Ontario Library Association’s Golden Oak Award.

If you enjoy historical fiction you will certainly appreciate Watching Jimmy by Nancy Hartry.

You can find Watching Jimmy listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Does duct tape (or duck tape) help your writing?

I LIKE DUCT TAPE.

I can’t tell you specifically why, but I really like duct tape. I find uses for it quite often. If something is broken or loose or needs a patch, I’ll be the one to say, “Did you try duct tape? Use duct tape on it.”

Often I have heard it called “duck tape”, which makes me laugh. Apparently it has been called one or the other since the 1940’s, and was useful as duck tape to WWII soldiers.

Have you ever watched The Red Green Show? It’s a popular Canadian sitcom that was on television from 1991 to 2006 in Canada and the United States – and continues in reruns. The main character, Red Green, found all kinds of crazy and ingenious ways to use duct tape. He would say it’s “the handyman’s secret weapon” because his motto was “if women don’t find you handsome they should at least find you handy.”

I have been saying for some time now that I have to find some duct tape in a colour other than the usual grey, and I want pink. Just because I like pink.

Look at what my daughter found when she was shopping in a local  hardware store recently —

Oh … my!  A whole display. And look at all the colours and patterns! She likes the zebra one — second one in on the bottom left.

I told my husband about it, and when I came home for my week off — look at what he had bought for me —

PINK DUCT TAPE!  What a guy!  :)

Now take a closer look —

The company picked up on the other name and marketed it. Duck tape duct tape. How clever! And the pink is called Funky Flamingo.  Hilarious!

How can I relate this to writing?  …

Have you ever been writing along and suddenly you are on what seems a totally wrong path for your story?

Perhaps your character starts acting out in a way you didn’t plan, or the plot takes an unexpected turn. Instead of trying to pull it all back to what you first had in mind, try going with it, ‘market it.’ Maybe that duct tape you thought you had turns out to be a roll of duck tape. Doubly good. Underneath it is the same, but on the surface you are about to go on a wonderful adventure that will be even more meaningful when pieced together.

Have you ever started out with one idea and ended up with something entirely different? Or with added twists that make your story even better?

Remember, duct tape … or duck tape … is used to hold things together, and to repair things, and to create new things. Have you used any lately, figuratively or for real? What difference did it make?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)