Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What I'm reading this week! More non-fiction

Wow! What an amazing find this book is! I really enjoy reading diaries--I like to see how people really live. Before blogs, people actually had to sit down (usually with a pen and paper or diary book) and write out their thoughts and actions. I've read William L. Shirer's Berlin Diary, Jock Coville and Lord Moran's diaries about WWII from Churchill's perspective and Nella Last's War--the story of an ordinary housewife living thru the war in Britian, but outside of London. What makes this diary so different is that it is written by someone "else." Marie Vassiltchikov is a very well-read, cosmopolitan young woman from an aristocratic White Russsian family who fled the October Revolution and holed up on their estates in Lithuania. Eventually, with few other choices, she landed in Nazi Germany and found work in a government department dominated by Nazi resisters--some of whom participated in plots to kill Hitler. Due to her background she socializes a lot with the grandees of the past--the former Princes of the small Germany royal families and the former Kaiser's family. All of these were used by Hitler, then dumped by him. She details her struggles with work, money, rationing, far-flung family, loss of friends at the front, etc. This really presents another aspect of the war. It is not "her" government and she is no German patriot. She does not dwell [at least so far] on politics but on ordinary daily life.

Contrast this with my current audio book:
Citizens of London is the story of several influential Americans, Ambassador Gil Winant, Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman, General Eisenhower, and others as they went about their stressful, important jobs during the war in London. Two, Harriman and Murrow, both had affairs with Churchill's daughter-in-law [and former Clinton administration Ambassador to France] Pamela Churchill [who later married Harrimann]. The parties, the political squabbles, the "LIFE" they led make for fascinating listening. I read another of the author's books, Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power.... It was also very compelling.


Jeanne said...

Lisa, my dear, you listen to/read some phenomenal books!!!!!!!!

Hopewell said...

Thank you! I think so!

Aarti said...

Ooh, I see we seem to be in the same "I love WWII history" phase of our readings! I saw Troublesome Young Men yesterday for serious sale on BookCloseouts. Looks good!