1.) Ronald H. Balson for Once We Were Brothers;
- Bill Selnes
- Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
- I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.
Friday, May 30, 2014
1.) Ronald H. Balson for Once We Were Brothers;
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
|Ken Corbett portrait of Orrin Porter Rockwell from a |
photo of Rockwell
In The Case Of The Repentant Writer Sherlock Holmes' Creator Raises The Wrath Of Mormon by Hal Schindler there is a fascinating discussion of how Sir Arthur changed his attitude towards Mormons after traveling to Salt Lake City in 1923.
Who could make up a life like Rockwell’s?
Friday, May 23, 2014
I enjoyed the introduction into the storyline of the expansion of the polygamous Mormom sects in the American West. Where do they fit in our current society?
The characters were fascinating.
Orrin Porter Rockwell is a character to long remember.
Yet much more could have been with the story of the breakaway Mormons. What is the impact of the “lost boys” cast out of the sects for dubious reasons that reduce the number of men to share the women for wives?
My next post will discuss the real life Rockwell.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
|The paperclip was a symbol of the Norwegian Resistance |
partially chosen as it binds things together
Kathy D. December 10, 2013 at 9:15 PM
So glad to read this review about Alan Furst's books and characters. If I read this genre, and could bear to read about WWII, I would read his series first.
I have given Spies of the Balkans to a friend as a holiday gift, hoping he'd like it. I think I'll give him another book by Furst this holiday.
On resistance in Europe, the more one reads blogs, books and talks to people about the subject, the more one learns about this. The NY Times ran a piece a few years ago about Germans hiding a Jewish musician during the war.
Irene Sandler, with help from others, smuggled 2500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, to farm families in rural areas. She was arrested, tortured and then released from prison. She won a Nobel Prize for this.
Then there's a book out about a couple, which saved 300 people in the Warsaw Zoo and in their homes. A blogger wrote of an elderly woman living on a French farm who hid three Jewish men in her cellar, wrapping her groceries in newspaper every day so she could bring home the war news to them.
There were many resistance fighters. After I saw the film Defiance about the Bielski brothers who saved 1200 Jews in the forests of Belarus,, I looked up more about partisans and Resistance fighters, found more in Belarus, some in Poland (a tough place), and, of course, in Italy. Read The Collini Case for a legal mystery about that.
Greece had a strong partisan movement, as did Yugoslavia. Even Malta; I read about a teenage girl who was shooting a machine gun at the Nazis; unfortunately, she was caught.
And then within Germany itself, reportedly 800,000 political prisoners under Nazis, including students Sophie Stoll and her friends.
Margaretta von Trotta's film Rosenstrasse tells of non-Jewish German women who demonstrated every day in front of the deportation center where their Jewish husbands were held. They stood up to Nazis with machine guns. They won their husbands' release.
And then the famous Warsaw Ghetto uprising happened in 1943; the Resisters had nothing to lose. My grandmother, a Russian/Polish/Jewish immigrant had a friend who wrote a book about other resisters in other Jewish ghettoes.
And then in Scandinavia and the Netherlands, resistance, too. This post reminds me that I know a man who never knew his Dutch uncle. He died at the hands of the Nazis while in the Dutch Resistance movement. And there's the famous burning down of the population records building in Amsterdam. Although most involved were caught and paid the ultimate price, thousands of Jews were saved.
So, if one keeps reading, one finds out a lot more about European resisters.
As I read your comment I think Mazower was too narrow in his conclusions about lack of resistance in Western Europe. He took resistance to require armed action against the nations. I think your Examples, as with my examples, show resistance took many forms.
When I was in the Lofoten islands north of the Arctic Circle in Norway last year I met people who told me the Nazis had required them to help build fortifications against a potential Allied seaborne assault. Required to carry stones for the project they would stumble when they could so the stones would roll down hills and they would have to go get a new stone to carry.
Kathy D.December 12, 2013 at 7:47 PM
Good you added that.
Another point, which is quite astounding is that women who were rounded up in France in a 240 or so in a women's convoy were at a camp. Even though they were of different religions and political ideology, they all jointly sabotaged the labor in the Germans' work camps. They deliverately sabotaged the machinery, did slowdowns of work and protected the more fragile women who couldn't do hard physical work. This is from my reading of marks by a leading French resister who was imprisoned in a camp. After she got out, she testified at the Nuremberg trials, then told of the women's resistance inside a camp.
I think if more people had weapons in Europe and military training, many more would have fought back physically. When people have no weapons or training and are taken by surprise by the German military with a lot of force and weaponry, what do they do? And what do villages do without guns, ammunition, military training?
In the movie "Defiance," the Bielski brothers and people in their encampment did fight back with whatever weapons they could buy or get via bartering or just finding and seizing.
I left out but should have included the massive resistance in Spain to Franco and fascism; so many sacrificed and died then.
Cara Black who writes the Aimee Ledoc series set in Paris, has written of commemorations to deceased and still living French Resistance fighters, who are highly honored still. And in Greece, I believe the Italian government gave that government two hours to either capitulate or not at the start of the war. The Greek people said NO and valiantly fought back, including Jewish people. Just read at Murder Is Everywhere about the last living Jewish Resistance fighter in Greece, a retired dentist. And so on.
All over the world, people have fought for independence and freedom throughout the centuries. I don't think Jewish people or Polish people or Italians or any other people were more passive than others.
I think the word "resistance" was an appropriate word to describe the response in conquered nations. "Resistance" is not confined to arms. It takes all the forms described by you in your comments.
The peoples of Nazi occupied nations could not have expected as brutal and systemic scheme of murder as carried out by the Nazis. Certainly there have been atrocities and killings by previous occupying powers but they could not have expected the scale of Nazi brutality. Had they realized sooner what was going to happen "resistance" would have been far more.
And as a further bit of information, as I was reading Rachel Donadio's piece about traveling to Naples in the New York Times Sunday Travel section, I came to this section, which is new to me:
In 1943, when the Nazis began rounding up Neopolitan men, the furious women of Naples fought back, successfully driving the Nazis out of town, albeit on a killing spree, in a rare mass citizens' revolt against the German occupation!
So glad to see this group resistance by women. I do know that women were part of the Resistance Movement in occupied countries and carried out many tasks. In addition to other tasks, women were also often couriers of messages for Resistance forces.
It is ironic that Allied governments were far more willing to use women in clandestine operations than they were to allow them in regular military forces.
But women were in the Resistance movements all over Europe. I've read amazing stories of courage and determination, of great risk-taking. Women were part of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance, and were among French resisters, too.
Although I just can't bring myself to read it, there is a book about the convoy of women rounded up in France and taken to a camp. It was about 240 women. Their stories are told in this book. I think about 49 survived. A friend got the book, but became too sad and also upset at their suffering, so she stopped reading it.
But some wonderful heroes are mentioned, leaders, organizers even within the camp.
There is also the choir at Terezin camp. These Jewish prisoners sang to resist, and they kept on singing even while their numbers were dwindling around them.
There is a terrific documentary about them. Survivors speak of how even if the German soldiers had burst in and threatened their lives, they would have stayed in their places and kept on singing. It's quite a story.
I asked my parents about the numbers on the adults' arms, and I was told by my Jewish mother enough that I could grasp at that age. By 9, I knew about the Holocaust enough to talk about it.
Sara Paretsky's latest excellent book, "Critical Mass," harks back to 1938-1942 Vienna in the Jewish ghetto, and mentions the deportation of the characters, except the grandchildren who were able to go to London. The adults could not get visas, and we know what happened then.
I am angry each time I read how the Nazis were so brutal and caused so much suffering and loss. At the same time I admired how Frankl developed a philosophy of life out of those terrible circumstances.
Frankl was in Vienna during the years of 1938 - 1942. The book delves into why he stayed.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
18. – 765.) Hitler’s Savage Canary by David Lampe (1957) – The book is not a conventional chronological history of the Danish Resistance during WW II. Lampe writes about a subject or theme in each chapter.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Monday, May 5, 2014
In Defending Jacob by William Landay there are a trio of lawyers. Andy Barber, 1st Assistant District Attorney, a skilled, even fierce prosecutor, is forced into a new role as the father of the accused.
Defence counsel, Jonathan Klein, is a low key well prepared advocate for Jacob.
2nd Assistant District Attorney, Neal Logiudice, has ambitions that lead him to make the case personal.
In Kill All the Lawyers by William Deverell there are a group of wild Vancouver lawyers.
Briam Pomeroy is a flamboyant defence counsel and aspiring mystery writer.
John Brovak, an even more flamboyant defence counsel, snaps in a long drug trial and reveals his "goddamn end" to a judge asking to see the end of him.
Augustina Sage is involved in civil actions, often for the downtrodden, as in a case for abused boarding school students.
Wentworth Chance is an earnest articling student trying to fathom how law is practised.
David Sloane, in The Jury Master by Robert Dugoni, is a former marine with an obscure past who is mesmerizing in closing addresses in civil jury trials. In the book he is an action hero who happens to be a lawyer.
Michael Seeley, in A Patent Lie by Paul Goldstein, is a high stakes patent litigator who had retreated to Buffalo from New York City to deal with his personal demon of alcoholism. He is a skilled lawyer in intellectual rights law.
In Trial & Error by Paul Levine I read again of Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord. The Florida lawyers are living together when they end up opposing each other in a murder trial. Steve is eccentric and wildly unprepared relying on his quick mental reflexes to save him in court. Victoria is careful and methodical and excessively prepared.
Paul Giannis, in Identical by Scott Turow, is mayor and a successful practising lawyer. The book is more about him as the plaintiff in a defamation action then concerning his legal practice.
Godfrey Higgs, in Who Killed Sir Harry by Eric Minns, was a real life lawyer, barely fictionalized (not even the name was changed), who represented Sir Alfred de Marigny in the Bahamas against the charge of murdering Sir Harry Oakes. Godfrey is presented a real life dream for a defence lawyer. He is able to prove a Crown fingerprint expert has provided false evidence. It is rare to be able to show an expert is wrong let alone establishing the expert was either incompetent or more likely dishonest.
My next post will provide some analysis of this group of lawyers.