From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.
In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.
Thomas Keneally - Schindler's Ark
In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser, a heavy drinker, and a bon viveur, but to them he became a saviour. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.
Etty Hillesum - An Interrupted Life / Letters from Westerbork
For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman. In the darkest years of Nazi occupation and genocide, Etty Hillesum remained a celebrant of life whose lucid intelligence, sympathy, and almost impossible gallantry were themselves a form of inner resistance. The adult counterpart to Anne Frank, Hillesum testifies to the possibility of awareness and compassion in the face of the most devastating challenge to one's humanity. She died at Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of twenty-nine.
Isabel Wolff - Ghostwritten
A childhood mistake. A lifetime of regrets. Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own. Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell. But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?
Sebastian Faulks - The Girl at the Lion d'Or
On a rainy night in the 1930s, Anne Louvet appears at the run-down Hotel du Lion d'Or in the village of Janvilliers. She is seeking a job and a new life, one far removed from the awful injustices of her past. As Anne embarks on a torrential love affair with a married veteran of the Great War, The Girl at the Lion d'Or fashions an unbreakable spell of narrative and atmosphere that evokes French masters from Flaubert to Renoir.
Hiroo Onoda - No Surrender
In the spring of 1974, Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda of the Japanese Army made world headlines when he emerged from the Philippine jungle after a thirty-year ordeal. Hunted in turn by American troops, the Philippine police, hostile islanders, and successive Japanese search parties, Onoda had skillfully outmaneuvered all his pursuers, convinced that World War II was still being fought and that one day his fellow soldiers would return victorious. This account of those years is an epic tale of the will to survive that offers a rare glimpse of man's invincible spirit, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. A hero to his people, Onoda wrote down his experiences soon after his return to civilization. This book was translated into English the following year and has enjoyed an approving audience ever since.
Art Spiegelman - Maus: A Survivor's Tale - And Here My Troubles Began
Acclaimed as a "quiet triumph"* and a "brutally moving work of art,"** the first volume of Art Spiegelman's Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiarity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive. As the New York Times Book Review commented," [it is] a remarkable feat of documentary detail and novelistic vividness...an unfolding literary event." This long-awaited sequel, subtitled And Here My Troubles Began, moves us from the barracks of Auschwitz to the bungalows of the Catskills. Genuinely tragic and comic by turns, it attains a complexity of theme and a precision of thought new to comics and rare in any medium. Maus ties together two powerful stories: Vladek's harrowing tale of survival against all odds, delineating the paradox of daily life in the death camps, and the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Vladek's troubled remarriage, minor arguments between father and son, and life's everyday disappointments are all set against a backdrop of history too large to pacify. At every level this is the ultimate survivor's tale -- and that too of the children who somehow survive even the survivors. * Washington Post ** Boston Globe *** "Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep. When two of the mice speak of love, you are moved, when they suffer, you weep. Slowly through this little tale comprised of suffering, humor and life's daily trials, you are captivated by the language of an old Eastern European family, and drawn into the gentle and mesmerizing rhythm, and when you finish Maus, you are unhappy to have left that magical world and long for the sequel that will return you to it." - Umberto Eco Art Spiegelman is co-founder/editor of _Raw_, the acclaimed magazine of avant-garde comics and graphics. His work has been published in the _New York Times_, _Playboy_, the _Village Voice_ and many other periodicals, and his drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries here and abroad. Honors he has received for _Maus_ include a Guggenheim fellowship and nomination for the National Books Critics Circle Award. Mr. Spiegelman lives in New York City with his wife, Françoise Mouly and their daughter, Nadja.
Jack Higgins - A Game for Heroes
The excellent "A Game for Heroes" is one of those and it's aptly titled because heroes and heroics fill the novel. But the tale really revolves around one and his name is Owen Morgan. And how can you not love this British Ops Specialist, with his scarred face, wearing a patch to cover his lost eye, the deadly tricks he does with his spring-loaded knife, and the numerous dangerous missions found in his dossier. The story takes place during the last days of WWII. After recuperating from his last crippling mission, Colonel Morgan's next assignment is on his home island of St. Pierre in the English Channel. The Germans have occupied the island for five years and are determined to fight until the end regardless of the outcome of the war. Morgan's mission is check out the rumor of a secret sub base on the island that has been causing havoc to the Allies' shipping lanes. Also added to the mission is a commando raiding party lead by an upper-class American Major. This elite group will be planting bombs under ships in the harbor. Things go wrong and capture follows. And then the story turns into a chess play between just about everyone on the isle of St. Pierre, and with Owen Morgan smack in the middle of it all.
Jessica Brockmole - Letters from Skye
A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart. March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence - sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets - their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive. June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.
Lilian Harry - Under the Apple Tree
When the Luftwaffe unleashes its full fury on the city in the first of three major blitzes, the Taylor family are bombed out. Judy finds her job relocated to a hotel in Southsea, and home is now a small terraced house in April Grove. And then there is the news she has been dreading—her sailor fiance has been killed. Judy and her young, recently widowed aunt Polly decide to turn their grief to good account, and join the WVS, running canteens, accompanying evacuee children, and helping the families of servicemen, often in the face of danger from air raids, flying bombs, and V2 rockets. Gradually, Judy and Polly find their own healing as they take part not only in their war work but in the life of April Grove, and although both are at first convinced they will never know love again, they both find it in the least likely manner.
Ben Macintyre - Agent Zigzag
One December night in 1942, a Nazi parachutist landed in a Cambridgeshire field. His mission: to sabotage the British war effort. His name was Eddie Chapman, but he would shortly become MI5's Agent Zigzag. Dashing and louche, courageous and unpredictable, the traitor was a patriot inside, and the villain a hero. The problem for Chapman, his many lovers and his spymasters was knowing who he was. Ben Macintyre weaves together diaries, letters, photographs, memories and top-secret MI5 files to create the exhilarating account of Britain's most sensational double agent.
Art Spiegelman - The Complete Maus
At last! Here is the definitive edition of the book acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker). It now appears as it was originally envisioned by the author: The Complete Maus. It is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times). Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.
Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young Girl
Born on June 12, 1929, Anne Frank was a Jewish girl in her teens when she was forced to go into hiding during the Holocaust. She and her family, along with four others, spent 25 months during World War II in an annex of rooms above her father’s office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her diary, saved during the war by one of the family’s helpers, Miep Gies, was first published in 1947.
Sven Hassel - SS General
The great Stalingrad novel--written by a German survivor. Sven Hassell and his diminishing band of veterans find themselves plunged into the maelstrom of Stalingrad. Radio Moscow boasts that one German soldier dies every minute as they struggle forward on the front, and when the Russians surround the German 6th Army, it seems they're doomed. But Sven and his friends make a last-ditch attempt to break out, to fight their way across the frozen steppe to freedom. Their leader: a fanatical SS general.
Graham Pitchfork - Shot Down and on the Run
Many POW escape stories are well known, but what about those who miraculously evaded capture in the first place and returned to fight another day? This book tells some of the stories of the thousands of shot-down Commonwealth airmen who got out from behind enemy lines during World War II.
Adam Makos - Larry Alexander - A Higher Call
Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II. This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II. A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of 1,000 bombers each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack. Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.
Dick Winters - Beyond Band of Brothers
They were called Easy Company—but their mission was never easy. Immortalized as the Band of Brothers, they suffered 150% casualties while liberating Europe—an unparalleled record of bravery under fire. Dick Winters was their commander—"the best combat leader in World War II" to his men. This is his story—told in his own words for the first time. On D-Day, Dick Winters parachuted into France and assumed leadership of the Band of Brothers when their commander was killed. He led them through the Battle of the Bulge and into Germany, by which time each member had been wounded. They liberated an S.S. death camp from the horrors of the Holocaust and captured Berchtesgaden, Hitler's alpine retreat. After briefly serving during the Korean War, Winters was a highly successful businessman. Made famous by Stephen Ambrose's book Band of Brothers—and the subsequent award-winning HBO miniseries—he is the object of worldwide adulation. Beyond Band of Brothers is Winters's memoir—based on his wartime diary—but it also includes his comrades' untold stories. Virtually all this material is being released for the first time. Only Winters was present from the activation of Easy Company until the war's end. Winner of the Distinguished Service Cross, only he could pen this moving tribute to the human spirit.
Jacqueline Winspear - The Mapping of Love and Death
In the latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling series, Maisie Dobbs must unravel a case of wartime love and death an investigation that leads her to a long-hidden affair between a young cartographer and a mysterious nurse. August 1914. Michael Clifton is mapping the land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, certain that oil lies beneath its surface. But as the young cartographer prepares to return home to Boston, war is declared in Europe. Michael the youngest son of an expatriate Englishman puts duty first and sails for his father's native country to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed among those missing in action. April 1932. London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs is retained by Michael's parents, who have recently learned that their son's remains have been unearthed in France. They want Maisie to find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among Michael's belongings a quest that takes Maisie back to her own bittersweet wartime love. Her inquiries, and the stunning discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his trench, unleash a web of intrigue and violence that threatens to engulf the soldier's family and even Maisie herself. Over the course of her investigation, Maisie must cope with the approaching loss of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and her growing awareness that she is once again falling in love. Following the critically acclaimed bestseller Among the Mad, The Mapping of Love and Death delivers the most gripping and satisfying chapter yet in the life of Maisie Dobbs.
Mary Ann Shaffer - Annie Barrows - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet's name in a used book and invites articulate—and not-so-articulate—neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories. The occasionally contrived letters jump from incident to incident—including the formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while Guernsey was under German occupation—and person to person in a manner that feels disjointed. But Juliet's quips are so clever, the Guernsey inhabitants so enchanting and the small acts of heroism so vivid and moving that one forgives the authors (Shaffer died earlier this year) for not being able to settle on a single person or plot. Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as will readers.
Art Spiegelman - Maus: A Survivor's Tale - My Father Bleeds History
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.
Sinclair McKay - The Secret Life of Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park's cracking of the Enigma code was one of the greatest achievements of the war. Now, for the first time, here are the stories of the ordinary men and women who made it happen... At the secret codebreaking centre of Bletchley Park, debutantes, factory workers, students and Wrens were thrown together with Britain's most brilliant brains, united in work of almost unbearable intensity, and even greater importance. But there was far more to their days (and nights) than the long hours spent decrypting enemy messages. From world-class concerts by visiting musicians and amateur dramatics to ice-skating on the frozen lake and furtive romances sealed down quiet country lanes, Sinclair McKay's acclaimed book reveals what life was really like for the young people whose clandestine efforts were instrumental in winning the war.