Justin’s #46 – In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin , Erik Larson, 448 pages

September 14, 2015 // 0 Comments

Doesn’t the saying go, “hindsight is 20/20”? It is easy for us, knowing how a little of the story goes, to be overtly critical of Germans living in the 1930’s. We ask questions like “why didn’t they do anything?” Or why didn’t someone do something? Erik Larson gives us a really interesting look into the early Nazi German mindset as Adolf Hitler rose to power. “Beasts” is essentially about two intertwining characters: William Dodd and his daughter, Martha Dodd. William was a history professor before being tapped for ambassador to Germany in early 1933. Taking his family with him, he set sail for Germany and set up camp in Berlin. The ensuing story focuses on Dodd’s work as ambassador and Martha’s love life in Nazi Germany before the start of the world war. It’s interesting to note that even in 1933, Roosevelt and others thought that Hitler’s regime would ultimately cave to economic pressures. The seeming urgency of what was to come was no where to be found. Even the roots of his anti-Semitic crusade were apparent in this year, as Martha recounts a day trip to Nuremberg to see a German woman harassed through the streets by Nazi “Schutzstaffel” […]

Ron’s #16: Night by Elie Wiesel

June 16, 2015 // 0 Comments

Love this book. Taught it again for the 12th or 13th time. Students love it, which makes assigning it much easier than other high school works. First review here. For the first time in all these years, a student had a problem with the truthfulness of Wiesel, and created a PowerPoint why it didn’t seem plausible “to her.”

Mark’s #40 – Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright

October 20, 2012 // 0 Comments

While serving as America’s first female Secretary of State in the 1990s, Czechlosovakian born Madeleine Albright discovered that she was of Jewish descent.  When Hitler and the Nazi regime rolled in to Prague in 1939, Madeleine and her immediate family fled to London, where her father worked with the Czech government in exile. This is both a personal story as well as a well written and researched national history of Czechloslovakia – focused primarily on the years between 1937-1948.  Madeleleine’s research led her to places like Terizin, where many of her Jewish relatives were sent to live in what Hitler called a “prosperous village for Jews”.  Sadly, only traces of her relatives remained after the war, as they, along with thousands of other Czechloslovak Jews were sent by train to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Berkanou. I have long been interested in WWII history in particular, but this book was absolutely fascinating to me as I have gone to school in Prague, and I hope to one day serve as a missionary in the Czech Republic.  This book gave me a great insight into the particular Czech tragedies of WWII, and some of its shaping influences that persist in […]

Ron’s #51: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

December 27, 2011 // 0 Comments

As I have mentioned before, C. S. Lewis is my favorite author. I understand that this is not a novel pick; most Christians would say the same if asked. It’s been said that Lewis is the only patron saint of Evangelicalism. There is something about his writing that is irresistible. One may disagree with his claims, but it is difficult to deny his gifted writing style. Because of the latter, it is often hard to do the former. Mere Christianity is a must-read for Christians (See a few others I posted before), and it makes a clear treatise for the logic of both theism and Christianity. It was birthed from a series of radio talks that Lewis made on the BBC during WWII, and later edited for publication. Whether or not you call yourself a Christian, this slim volume will offer a clear, concise case why Christianity makes sense. This is not actually the best apologetics book if you are looking for answers to specific difficult questions in the Christian faith. Rather, it takes on general topics such as: is Jesus who he says he is; is there such a thing as absolute morality?; and is Jesus Christ God? No […]

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