Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Read Your Way Around the World - Historical Poland

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson

"The gripping tale about two boys, once as close as brothers, who find themselves on opposite sides of the Holocaust. Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Solomon persuades attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case, revealing that the true Piatek was abandoned as a child and raised by Solomon's own family only to betray them during the Nazi occupation. But has Solomon accused the right man?" publisher

Mourning De Pachmann: the quest for the spirit of Chopin by Carl Abbott

"In January 1933, widowed Canadian psychiatrist Charles Flemming traveled to Rome to deliver a paper at an international psychiatric meeting and to further research the career of the eccentric Ukranian pianist, Vladimir de Pachmann, for a biography he has always wanted to write. En route, he learns of a young, virtually blind Polish pianist, Agnieszka Lipska, who will be giving several recitals in Rome. She has familial retinitis pigmentosa and her specialty is the music of Chopin. Charles and Agnieszka are introduced by Simon Williams, a music critic assigned to review the recitals. Her beauty and talent enraptures the heart of the lonely doctor and a romance develops. Shortly after arriving in Rome, Charles discovers that a manuscript containing aspects of de Pachmann’s life has been stolen from his hotel. This along with other complications, including a near-drowning in the Tiber River, ultimately involves the scrutiny of Mussolini’s fascist police." publisher

The Emperor of Lies by Steven Sem Sandberg

"In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second-largest Jewish ghetto in the Polish city of Lódz. Its chosen leader: Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish businessman and orphanage director -- and the elusive, authoritarian power sustaining the ghetto’s very existence. From one of Sweden's most critically acclaimed and bestselling authors, The Emperor of Lies chronicles the tale of Rumkowski's monarchical rule over a quarter-million Jews for the next four years. Driven by a titanic ambition, he sought to transform the ghetto into a productive industrial complex and strove to make it --and himself -- indispensable to the Nazi regime. Drawing on the detailed records of life in the Lódz ghetto, Steve Sem-Sandberg captures the full panorama of human resilience and probes deeply into the nature of evil." publisher

The Warsaw Anagrams by Richard Zimler

"Autumn 1940. The Nazis seal 400,000 Jews inside a small area of the Polish capital, creating an urban island cut off from the outside world. Erik Cohen, an elderly psychiatrist, is forced to move into a tiny apartment with his niece and his beloved nine-year-old nephew, Adam. One bitterly cold winter's day, Adam goes missing. The next morning, his body is discovered in the barbed wire surrounding the ghetto. The boy's leg has been cut off, and a tiny piece of string has been left in his mouth. Soon, another body turns up - this time a girl's, and one of her hands has been taken. Evidence begins to point to a Jewish traitor luring children to their death...In this profoundly moving and darkly atmospheric historical thriller, the reader is taken into the most forbidden corners of Nazi-occupied Warsaw - as well as into the most heroic places of the heart." publisher

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

"With World War II finally over, Silvana and her seven-year-old son, Aurek, board the ship that will take them to England, where Silvana's husband, Janusz—determined to forget his ghosts—has rented a little house at 22 Britannia Road. But after years spent hiding in the forests of Poland, Aurek is wild, almost feral. And for Silvana, who cannot escape the painful memory of a shattering wartime act, forgetting is not a possibility." publisher

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