Read an Unforgettable Book From The Advicesisters’ Book Review Roundup Fall 2020
It’s been a tough time for so many. In this Fall book review roundup discover 6 serious books that will really make an unforgettable impression on you.
Think your life is so bad? You will have a different perspective after reading these two books in the Fall book review roundup, I’m including two books about the holocaust that are quite different. One focuses on the hell of a Jewish Family. The other book is about one Nazi doctor’s life and work and the hunt to bring him to justice.
A Desperate Family’s Plea:
Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. That is my takeaway from the book The Unanswered Letter: One Holocaust Family’s Desperate Plea for Help by Faris Cassell (Regnery History, September 2020)
In August 1939, just days before World War II broke out in Europe, a Jewish man in Vienna named Alfred Berger mailed a desperate letter to a stranger in America who shared his last name. In fact, Mr. Berger sent the letter to a couple of other “Bergers” none of whom he knew. This, in a desperate attempt to help his family flee the holocaust in Germany.
Decades later, a doctor in America receives one of these letters from an elderly patient and shares it with his wife. She decides that she should find out what happened to the family members.
The Unanswered Letter is a page-turner of a book,. It’s horrifying and authentic about what transpired during the Nazi Regime. The holocaust started slowly, and it’s easy to see how it ramped up. There are significant parallels to today. This book is a reminder as well as a must-read. It will validate that man’s inhumanity to man is undeniable and if we’re not careful, history could repeat itself.
The Bergers Alfred and Hedwig and their daughters Martha and Gretl are real people and their losses, loves, and attempt to survive will live on in the pages of this unforgettable book.
The Life of the Angel of Death:
Mengele unmasking the Angel of Death by David G. Marwell (W. W. Norton & Company, January, 2020) comes with a warning that the book is indeed a grim read.
Dr. Mengele was most feared. He was an Auschwitz doctor who selected Jews and others for extermination in the gas chambers before they ever set foot inside the camp. But he also is known for the unspeakable barbaric things to his prisoner victims without any remorse.
To Mengele, the inmates of Auschwitz were merely lab rats for him to conduct experiments without any restraints or compassion. There are illustrations, and I guess the most “tasteful” descriptions the author could muster for what took place under Dr. Mengele’s supervision.
However, a big part of the book is about what happened after World War II and the hunt and verification of death for this infamous man. Mengele’s inhuman treatment of Jews and other prisoners should never be forgotten.
Readers follow Dr. Mengele’s life journey and get a peek into this monster’s mindset. The author worked on the Mengele case at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations in the 1980s and has carefully researched this unforgettable book. You’ll be more horrified by what happened in real life than any fiction.
On a happier note, whoever watched Tom Cruise in Top Gun and dreamed of being a pilot will love Tomcat Rio: Tomcat Rio: A Topgun Instructor on the F-14 Tomcat and the Heroic Naval Aviators Who Flew by “Dave “Bio” Baranek” (Skyhorse Publishing August 2020)
Topgun instructor Dave Baranek (who consulted for the original film) helps his readers “ride into the danger zone.” Bio enjoyed a 20-year career in the Navy ascended to the command of an F-14 fighter squadron of more than 300 people. He retired from the Navy in 1999, and now works as a defense contractor.
The author writes in a very personal chatty way. You feel as though the author is in the room with you, cheerfully recounting the joys, challenges, danger, and excitement of his former career. What you don’t get in the text is supplemented with over 50 fabulous photographs. It’s an unforgettable book and totally cool!
Love? And Marriage:
The author starts 600 years ago, at the beginning of the history of “coming out” for women. She is from a family of debutantes but she chose not to debut. However, her curiosity drove her to research debutantes. She learned as you will, that it’s not so glamorous.When you think about debutantes. do envision ballgowns, whit e gloves, glamour, and status? Do you long to be part of this timeless tradition? You might change your mind after reading The Season: A Social History of the Debutante by Kristen Richardson (W.W. Norton, November 2019).
There is a lot more to a debut than flowers, dances, and white dresses. The author points out that marriage used to be the only option for young girls of a certain age and status. Families that could, did their best to ensure that their daughters were presented to eligible, appropriate young men during “the season.” These debutantes were in fact, put on blatant display in a marriage “meet market.”
It must have been terrifying for the girls, who might not be as fair of face as others, or as confident, great at dancing or conversation or wallflowers. Although women can make their own way today, the formal debut as a tradition still endures. In fact, Russia, China, and other nations are embracing “the season” as well. Read this unforgettable book and decide for yourself if you really would want to be a debutante.
I have had the honor and pleasure of eating at the Beard House a number of times. Once I even held my birthday party there. I’ve walked into all the available rooms and I’ve enjoyed the garden. But with all of that, most people won’t even get a sense of what life was like for James Beard, a gay, closeted chef.
The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard by John Birdsall (W.W. Norton, October 2020) is a book about an unforgettable man. It gives you a sense of how James Beard’s life was lived, and how he influenced American Cuisine.
Beard was so visible, but the rotund chef was fiercely private about his gay lifestyle, Beard put into his food what passions he wouldn’t and couldn’t disclose in real life. Beard also had a very unorthodox mother and an interesting upbringing that certainly influenced his life and his art. It’s a fascinating book and a peek into his very private life.
Power to the Older Woman:
If you don’t stand up for yourself as a woman, particularly as an older woman, who else will? That’s the call to action for all women, but especially women of a certain age in the book In Our Prime: How Older Women Are Reinventing The Road Ahead by Susan J. Douglas ( W. W. Norton & Company, March 2020).
The author urges readers to join together now to fight against gendered ageism and help to create a better future for older women. It is an unapologetic, militant feminist manifesto written with a strong political stance. You may not agree with all of what Susan Douglas says, but no matter what your age, this unforgettable book will open your eyes.
Aging is inevitable. It is time for older women to stop allowing themselves to be marginalized but should insist upon the same respect and consideration as everyone else!