Today’s post is brought to you by the letter W. Way back on H day, I said that H was for Historic. If you’re extra perceptive, you may have noticed that none of the books I listed were set during WW2, even though there are TONS of great books about WW2. Why would I do that? I was holding out on you for a reason. Because today is W day, and W stands for World War Two. Here are five of my favorite WW2 stories. What’s your favorite WW2 tale?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. There are two things about this book that make it beyond amazing. First, it’s about the Germans during WW2. Not the Nazis, just the regular everyday normal German’s who are normal everyday people and happen to have a guy named Adolf Hitler as their ruler. Nobody ever talks about the German’s and this story did a good job of showing that forgotten point of view. The second amazing thing about his book is the point of view. It’s kind of third person, but really its first person, and the POV character is death. Death was everywhere during WW2, of course death saw everything, of course death is the perfect narrator for this story.
A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. This book is about Jewish refugees in northern Italy during WW2. It’s another part of the WW2 story that is often forgotten. The Italians were allied with the Germans. But the Italians were not anti-simitic. The Roman Catholic church gave fake baptism papers to it’s Jewish citizens to hide and protect their Jewish population from the Germans. And as the war stretched on many European Jews crossed the alps into northern Italy in order to hide from the German’s behind the Italian lines. This is a book about those people. And it’s amazing.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. In this WW2 tale, a young girl from Denmark helps her best friend and her friends family sneak to Sweden and hide from the Nazis. This is the most innocent and least gut wrenching story on my WW2 list, but then it’s also written for the youngest audience. And sometimes, a little girl lying to save the life of her best friend is gut wrenching enough.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Everybody’s heard of Anne Frank. Her words are honest and true, and speak for themselves. There is an endless supply of fiction written about the Nazi invasion of Europe. But sometimes the truth is far more powerful.
Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson. This story doesn’t take place in Europe and it isn’t about the Nazis. It takes place in Washington State and is about the camps we sent American citizens to. Just as the holocaust should never be forgotten. The internment of Japanese American’s must be remembered. We didn’t gas the Japanese or organize mass executions, but that doesn’t mean what we did was right.