History Comes Alive!

With the influx recently of books about World War II memories being made into movies, history and non-fiction of this time frame have come alive.  Personally, it is of interest to me, as my own father was in the Philippines during the War and my uncle was a Pearl Harbor survivor, both deceased Navy veterans.  High School students and adults will be enamored by these choice selections on the topic. See the movie, after you read the book.

UnbrokenUnbroken by Laura Hillebrand. 9781400064168. 2010. Gr. 10-Adult.

Unbroken takes your breath away to know the physical and mental ordeals Louis Zamperini encountered after being taken as a prisoner of war by Japan.  As a fighter pilot, his plane was shot down, only to be rescued by the Japanese Navy and subsequently persecuted.  Previous to being a fighter pilot, Louie was an exceled athlete in the 1936 Winter Olympics, which caught the attention of Adolf Hilter even.  As a prisoner of war, a guard took a dislike to Louie and wanted to “break” the famed athlete. A chance enlightenment after release from the internment brought about a miraculous forgiveness. He taught many people on his speaking tour about human nature and the power of spirituality.

Boys in the BoatBoys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. 9780670025817. 2013. Gr. 11- Adult.

Boys in the Boat reveals the  endurance and teamwork of nine college boys that made up the Gold Medal winners at the 1936 Berlin Olympics for their achievement on the University of Washington rowing team.  Due to the author, readers get to vividly know the lives of the men of the crew on their quest.  The time frame after the Great Depression and the events in Europe with Adolf Hitler coming into power play into the drama of the nine completing this remarkable feat.  Photographs included make reality come to life in the book. Rights have been obtained for a future movie dealing with the personal accounts of the rowing team.

Monuments MenMonuments Men by Robert M. Edsel. 9781599951492. 2009. Gr. 10-Adult.

Monuments Men is an epic discovery of the stamina and vision of a group of U.S. Army soldiers that  risked their lives, being consumed with preserving the priceless works of art and culture of our forefathers. They curtailed Hitler’s desire to plunder and destroy it all as the Reich fell. The treasures of Michelangelo, Vermeer, and more are, as President Eisenhower said, “the symbols of all we are fighting to preserve.” The insight into the art history of what we come to take for granted is appreciated by the author’s portrait of events.


Other recent books on the topic of non-fiction World War II books are as follows. Of course, they are offered in non-print formats, as well.

Chasing Gold:  The Incredible Story Behind the Nazi Search for Europe’s Bullion by George Taber. 9781483038773, audio version. 2014. Gr. 10-Adult.

Measure of a Man: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents’ Tailor by Martin Greenfield.9781621572664. 2014. Gr. 10-Adult.

Ravensbruck, Life and Death Inside Hitler’s Concentration Camp by Sarah Helm. 9780385520591. 2014. Gr. 11-Adult.

Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army by Georg Rauch. 9780374301422. 2015. Gr. 9-12.

Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. Out of print, currently, but available in electronic version 9781491587980. 2015. Gr. 10-Adult.

Blogger: Leslie E