Welcome to Saturdays @ the South! Every Saturday, we’ll be posting about books and programs that are popular at the Library’s South Branch (78 Lynn St.) and other literature, movie and library-related musings that strike our fancy. I hope you’ll join us each week and discover something new!
To start things off, I thought it would be appropriate to recognize Memorial Day. It’s a little early this year for those who use it as a benchmark for gardening, but regardless of the date it lands on, it never hurts to recognize those who have sacrificed a great deal to help defend others. There are some amazing new books out there that recognize war efforts and sacrifices, both traditional and unusual. Here are 5 nonfiction picks on the new shelf at the South Branch right now:
Roosevelt and Stalin by Susan Butler: Butler takes a look at the unusual partnership and uneasy friendship that arose in WWII when these two leaders worked together against a common enemy and shaped their visions for a postwar future that were surprisingly similar.
Patton at the Battle of the Bulge: How the General’s Tanks Turned the Tide at Bastogne by Leo Barron: Barron engages readers retelling the crucial battle that could have just as easily turned the tide for the Nazis as it did for the US Army. Had Patton not reached Bastogne in time, the US 101st Airborne could have been defeated. This book details Patton’s charge into Belgium and the forces that worked together to make this battle a turning point for the Allies.
A Cool and Lonely Courage: The Untold Story of Sister Spies inOccupied France by Susan Ottaway: Originally published in Britain, this bok peels back the layers of how two sisters, Jackqueline and Eileen Nearne worked undercover as agents for the Special Operations Executive during WWII and sent crucial intelligence to the Allies during their time in Nazi-occupied France. While one escaped capture, the other was arrested, tortured and sent to a concentration camp. Ottaway tells the sisters’ long-overdue story of courage and patriotism during wartime.
Liar Temptress Soldier Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott: Few war stories are more engaging that those told about spies, but when the spies are women during a time when women were routinely underestimated, a story becomes that much more engaging. Abbott describes four women, each of whom has her own story of espionage from dressing as a man and fighting in battle to infiltrating the White House, their tales are bound to engage even those who aren’t Civil War buffs
Double Agent: The First Hero of World War II and how the FBI Outwitted and Destroyed a Nazi Spy Ring by Peter Duffy: Duffy tells, for the first time, the story of a German-American who infiltrated New York’s Nazi underground just before WWII began. Called “the most successful counterespionage operation in US history” this is the story of the man who spearheaded that mission and was the first double-agent in FBI history.
Bonus fiction pick!
Delicious by Ruth Reichl (printed book is available here and ebook here): On its surface, this book is about food. A young ingénue leaves college to join the crew of the renowned food magazine “Delicious!” She talks about how luck she feels to be in a place that takes food so seriously, only to find herself somewhat adrift when the magazine unexpectedly shutters. This is only the backdrop, however, and the story that unfolds has a great deal to do with WWII history and the sacrifices those on the home front made to support their troops overseas. Yes, the story has the expected dashes of romance, a tragic heroine back story and uses the ugly duckling trope a bit heavy-handedly, but the unexpected and delightful forays into the creative ways those who weren’t fighting adapted to their new lives and the touching notes about how they dealt with the inevitable loss that comes with war makes this a story well worth reading.