This is Feature Shelf, a series that provides book recommendations based on theme or title suggestions. This shelf was requested by Rodrigo and Aldo and it’s Feature Shelf #43: The Anything Related to War Edition. My name is eli, I’m also called the (book) supplier. Thanks for watching.
I want to begin this episode with a shout out to Ms. Williams, who helped me come up with the featured titles. You rock. Aldo and Rodrigo did not give me a war preference, so I thought I’d go with narratives that aren’t featured as much as some others. Five books. Perspectives on World War II. Here we go.
Let’s start with Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Rose Justice is a pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, a British civilian organization set up during World War II to transport military aircraft and personnel. The war is winding down; Rose is captured and sent to Ravensbruk, where she is imprisoned along with Polish women who are victims of human experimentation at the hands of the Nazis. It’s a story about resilience and hope and friendship.
The other novel on this week’s shelf is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Henry is Chinese. Keiko is Japanese. In the 1940s, their friendship is forbidden; people of different races don’t intermingle. When Japanese-Americans, in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, are moved into internment camps, Henry and Keiko are separated with only the promise of letters to keep their relationship alive. Told in flashbacks, the novel explores family dynamics and reminds, or perhaps introduces, readers to a period in the history of the United States less frequently discussed.
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston. If you’re interested in the previously mentioned novel, but don’t know anything about the internment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during World War II, Houston’s memoir can provide you with some context. Houston was seven when she and her family were moved from their homes and interned at Manzanar along with 110,000 other Japanese Americans. This is her story about her experience.
Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin. Port Chicago is near Sacramento in California. The Port Chicago 50 were fifty African American men who disobeyed the order to continue loading ammunition onto ships after an explosion due to the poor working conditions for Black sailors and officers’ encouragement to handle dangerous materials faster led to the deaths of 320 people most of whom were Black enlisted men. These 50 men were charged with mutiny, which is the refusal to follow orders with the intent to override military authority. It’s an accessible look at how African Americans were treated in the Navy during World War II.
Finally, Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army by Georg Rauch. Rauch was born in Vienna, Austria. He was drafted into the German army, and shipped off to war. A war that he didn’t believe in — his family sheltered Jewish people, disagreeing with Hitler and what the Nazi party stood for. Because he didn’t want to become an officer, he confessed his Jewish heritage — his mother was Jewish — and was sent to the infantry on the Eastern front. He was a prisoner of war, captured by the Russians, and a refugee. If you’re interested in a story about what it was like to be a soldier in the German army during World War II, this might be a good pick for you.
So that was five books that might interest you if you’re a fan of anything about war, as Rodrigo and Aldo say.
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army by Georg Rauch
I’m going to get out of here, but before I do, if you’d like more Feature Shelf, or if you’d like to request a shelf, head over to thebooksupplier.com/featureshelf. You can also hit me up with requests via Facebook and Twitter @thebooksupplier.
I’m going to leave you there now, dear readers. Thanks for watching Feature Shelf #43: The Anything about War Edition. As always, I’m the (book) supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.