Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke is a non-fiction book which details the biggest escape from a Nazi concentration camp in Poland during World War II. The book was first published in 1982 and won acclaim world wide.Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke is an exciting history book, told as a novel. The book is divided into three sections which introduce the people, tell about the escape from a top secret Nazi death camp, and the after war years.
Mr. Rashke knows that the strength of any book, non-fiction or otherwise, is the personal stories which make up the big picture, and does a great job introducing us to them. The people which the author chose to focus on were non-military Jews and a Russian officer, some were pulled out of the lines for the gas chambers due to special skills and some just by pure luck.
The author engages the reader from the start with personal pre-war stories. This is not just a history book about the escape itself, but about people we care about and the heart wrenching decision they had to make in order to survive.
The cruelty and barbarity of the Nazis is also talked about, contrasted by the strength of character of the prisoners, as well as their mental anguish. Unfortunately, many of the Nazi criminals were never punished for the their actions and brutality.
Once the prisoners escaped, the author details their struggle to survive in a hostile environment, either hiding from the Nazis, being take advantage of by the local population or the partisans. Some of the escapees happened upon brave people who helped them, some were not so lucky.
Some of the survivors were still living at the time the book was published, a few even took up arms and went back to fight the Nazis. This book has many themes about survival, freedom and more.
A must read for any history buff or World War II enthusiast. This moving book might be grim, it is also inspiring and vividly recounts an event which most of the world has never known before it was published.
Originally published as Book Review: Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke on ManOfLaBook.com
Friday, December 19, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
In middle school, I used to take all my allowance and blow it on a fist full of comics. Every week or so, I'd bum a ride to the local comic book store and load up on anything that looked interesting, then pore over the fat stack of magazines all afternoon. It was a pretty good time to get into comics. Not only were the big superhero publishers putting out some pretty good stories, but there was a burst of weird, amazing, and fantastic independent and art comics appearing on the shelves those days. Over the years, as graphic novels have come along, I've drifted away from the thrills of "comic book day," but there's a bunch of really great comics titles out right now, so I figured I'd talk about some that really excite me!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Sometimes when an incident occurs eyewitnesses have a different take on what exactly occurred. What they see is often colored by their experiences and prejudices. That is the case in Kekla Magoon's fantastic book for teens called How It Went Down which deals with the fall out from the killing of an unarmed black teenager called Tariq by a man named Jack Franklin. As (bad) luck would have it Franklin just happens to be white.
Friday, December 12, 2014
LET'S GET LOST is the debut contemporary coming-of-age novel by Adi Alsaid, and he really gets it right the first time. This is a strong story that I highly recommend to anyone wanting a good contemporary story about love, friendship, family, and adventure. LET'S GET LOST is told in 5 parts, each one from a different character's point of view. I absolutely loved having multiple points of view in a single story - this is something that doesn't happen enough in YA fiction.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Some guys - bless 'em - know exactly what they want and can articulate it when it comes to books. I was not one of those guys, and that inability to express my general interests ended up in some, er, interesting book selections when I was a teen. I suppose that year I got a book on identifying rocks and gems came from the haphazard collection of stones I had picked up while camping, but that was an earnest mistake; to this day I have no idea what to make of my getting Jonathan Livingston Seagull when I was 13.
So what follows are a short collection of books that I have found nifty recently that, if not perfect gift selections for some guy you know, may at least provide potential book ideas for that mumbly, mopey dude over there hoping no one asks him what he's into.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Ever wonder why dogs don't write more poetry? Well, if you have (or if you have now that I've framed that question), this book is for you. Jessica Swaim has come up with a bookful of parody poems, in which celebrated dog poets explain lots of things . . . why they chase their tails, how fish compares to meat ("thou art more flaccid and more apt to spoil"), the horror of being neutered, and more.
Each of the sixteen canine poets is introduced with a "bio" page that looks something like this one, for "Rover Frost", with terrific artwork done by Chet Phillips:
It's followed by two parody poems: a short version of "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" entitled "Sizing Up Shoes on a Soulful Evening", and a parody of Frost's "Rose" entitled "Nose". Here's that poem:
by Jessica Swaim, writing as Rover Frost
A nose is a nose,
And was always a nose.
And a dog licks his nose
When the nose overflows,
And the slicker it grows,
'Til it glistens and glows.
You can bet your sweet toes,
Nothing's nice as a nose,
Unless it's a tongue,
Or a tail, I suppose.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014
A blurb on the back of Clay's Way calls it "a gay Catcher in the Rye," and that was almost enough to make me not read the book. Mind you, I love both those things - Catcher in the Rye, and... gayness... but I've seen so many weak books flogged as "the next Catcher in the Rye" that it's become a code word for "book that tries too hard to do something that's already been done."
Fortunately, I got over myself. And read Clay's Way. And it was amazing. And in the end, I thought to myself, yeah, wow, it does kind of hit the same emotional sweet spot as Catcher in the Rye. Not because it's imitative, or even because it treads similar ground, but because it has the same dark cynical strong compelling gorgeous voice that the best young adult fiction has (and what is Catcher in the Rye but a great YA novel?).
I saw Zombies & Calculus by Colin Adams in the Princeton University Press catalog and it caught my eye (for obvious reasons). I have no idea how it reads but the premise is so unique that I had to share it. If you're teaching Calculus, it seems like this might be worth taking a look at and then sharing with your students.
Adams is the humor columnist for the Mathematical Intelligencer and a professor of mathematics at Williams College.
From the catalog copy:
Zombies & Calculus is the account of Craig Williams, a math professor at a small liberal arts college in New England, who, in the middle of a calculus class, finds himself suddenly confronted by a late-arriving student whose hunger is not for knowledge. As the zombie virus spreads and civilization crumbles, Williams uses calculus to help his small band of survivors defeat the hordes of the undead. Along the way, readers learn how to avoid being eaten by taking advantage of the fact that zombies always point their tangent vector toward their target, and how to use exponential growth to determine the rate at which the virus is spreading. Williams also covers topics such as logistic growth, gravitational acceleration, predator-prey models, pursuit problems, the physics of combat, and more. With the aid of his story, you too can survive the zombie onslaught.
I had a brutal time in calculus and anything I could have done to make sense of it all would have been welcome. Zombies? Might as well!