Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Finds: 6-26-2009

Here are my finds this week!

Clara's War: one Girl's Story of Survival by Clara Kramer

Publisher: Harper Collins
About the book: This heart-stopping story of a young girl hiding from the Nazis is based on Clara Kramer's diary of her years surviving in an underground bunker with seventeen other people.

Clara Kramer was a typical Polish-Jewish teenager from a small town at the outbreak of the Second World War. When the Germans invaded, Clara's family was taken in by the Becks, a Volksdeutsche (ethnically German) family from their town. Mrs. Beck worked as Clara's family's housekeeper. Mr. Beck was known to be an alcoholic, a womanizer, and a vocal anti-Semite. But on hearing that Jewish families were being led into the woods and shot, Beck sheltered the Kramers and two other Jewish families.

Eighteen people in all lived in a bunker dug out of the Becks' basement. Fifteen-year-old Clara kept a diary during the twenty terrifying months she spent in hiding, writing down details of their unpredictable life—from the house's catching fire to Mr. Beck's affair with Clara's neighbor; from the nightly SS drinking sessions in the room above to the small pleasure of a shared Christmas carp.

Against all odds, Clara lived to tell her story, and her diary is now part of the permanent collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. (from the Barnes and Noble website)

About the author: Clara Kramer (nÉe Schwarz) and her family were among the approximately five thousand Jews in Zolkiew, Poland, before World War II. At the end of the war, she and her parents numbered among the approximately sixty who survived. Kramer is the co-founder of the Holocaust Resource Foundation at Kean University. She lives in New Jersey.

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown

Publisher: Harper Collins

About the book: In April of 1846, Sarah Graves was twenty-one and in love with a young man who played the violin. But she was torn. Her mother, father, and eight siblings were about to disappear over the western horizon forever, bound for California. Sarah could not bear to see them go out of her life, and so days before the planned departure she married the young man with the violin, and the two of them threw their lot in with the rest of Sarah's family. On April 12, they rolled out of the yard of their homestead in three ox-drawn wagons.

Seven months later, after joining a party of emigrants led by George Donner, Sarah and her family arrived at Truckee Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains just as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. After a series of desperate attempts to cross the mountains, the party improvised cabins and slaughtered what remained of their emaciated livestock. By early December they were beginning to starve.

Sarah's father, a Vermonter, was the only member of the party familiar with snowshoes. Under his instruction, fifteen sets of snowshoes were hastily constructed from oxbows and rawhide, and on December 15, Sarah and fourteen other relatively young, healthy people set out for California on foot, hoping to get relief for the others. Over the next thirty-two days they endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.

In this gripping narrative, Daniel James Brown takes the reader along on every painful footstep of Sarah's journey. Along the way, he weaves into the story revealing insights garnered from a variety of modern scientific perspectives–psychology, physiology, forensics, and archaeology–producing a tale that is not only spell-binding but richly informative. (from Barnes and Noble website)

About the author: Daniel James Brown is the author of the widely acclaimed Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894. He lives in the country east of Redmond, Washington, with his wife and two daughters.

What great books did you find this week?? Stop over at Should Be Reading and share yours!

Clara's War
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Collins, April 2009
ISBN: 9780061728600
352 pages

The Indifferent Stars Above
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Collins, April 2009
ISBN: 9780061348105
352 pages


Unknown said...

Nice Selection..I have added Clara's war to my TBR..Here's my Friday Finds

avisannschild said...

Clara's War sounds really interesting!

jlshall said...

You've got some great finds this week. I always avoid anything about the Donner Party, so I don't think I'll be reading that one! But Clara's War definitely sounds interesting.

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh, Clara's War sounds fabulous. I've got to get my hands on that.

gautami tripathy said...

I have to read Clara's War!

Here are my Friday Finds

DeSeRt RoSe said...

Interesting finds :) Happy reading!!


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