Europe

The Lark on the Wing

Author(s): 
Elfrida Vipont
Illustrator(s): 
T. R. Freeman

Set during the late 1940’s, The Lark on the Wing is the story of a young woman on the brink of a new career. Seventeen-year-old Kit desires with all her heart to sing professionally, but one obstacle after another pops up in her way. Will she be able to overcome all these obstacles to fulfill her life’s dream?

The Lark on the Wing captures the doubts, the excitement, and the energy of young people on the brink of adulthood with a world of myriad choices before them, including young love. The plot is fast-paced, effortlessly moving from one scene to the next.

Priestblock 25487

Author(s): 
Jean Bernard
Translator(s): 
Deborah Lucas Schneider

Spellbinding! From its opening pages, I was absolutely riveted to Fr. Bernard’s incredible story of faith and courage. Already familiar with that hell on earth, I was hesitant to read Priestblock 25487, A Memoir of Dachau.

I took the plunge and was richly rewarded. It was one of the most inspiring stories I have ever read. With deep humility and simple piety, Fr. Bernard’s tells his horrific story of living (if you can call it that) in Dachau from May 19, 1941 to August 5, 1942.

Philomena

Author(s): 
Kate Seredy
Illustrator(s): 
Kate Seredy

We discovered this little gem years ago, after falling in love with two of the authors' other books: The Good Master and The Singing Tree. I was thrilled to recently discover that Bethlehem Books is bringing it back into print.

The story begins in a small village near Prague. In this village, young girls are expected to leave home and work as servants in the big city during their early teen years; returning home at the age of sixteen, with experience in all manner of household service and ready to start their own families.

Behind Enemy Lines

Author(s): 
H. R. DeMallie

This is a fascinating personal account of a U.S. Air Force pilot who was shot down over Holland and spent the rest of World War II in a POW camp in Germany. He wrote it specifically to honor the Dutch who took care of him at great peril to their own lives.

It was a particularly interesting read after being acquainted with Hilda Van Stockum's The Winged Watchman as locations and situations are very similar.

Saving Private Ryan

Cast: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, et al.

The Small War of Sergeant Donkey

Book cover: 'The Small War of Sergeant Donkey'
Author(s): 
Maureen Daly

Chico Felippo is a young boy living in a small village in Southern Italy. It is 1944 and most of the war has moved north, but the American Army has a special "Remount Depot" nearby where donkeys are trained to assist the soldiers in the difficult mountain fighting. Chico loves these animals and becomes friends with many of the Americans as well as one particularly beloved animal, "Sergeant Donkey". The entire town suffers from a shortage of food because all of the donkeys which worked the fields had been seized by the Germans earlier in the war.

The Sinking of the Bismarck

Author(s): 
William L. Shirer

Back in print! It was May 1941 and the British were struggling to hold back the Germans (this is of course before the United States had entered World War II). Since the summer of 1940 the Germans had access to the harbors and airfields of western Europe from Norway to southern France. Their submarines, warships and bombers were wreaking havoc on Britain's supply convoys crossing the Atlantic which was seriously threatening Britain's survival.

Schindler's List

This is a remarkable movie and the heart of the story is very beautiful. Two stories are intertwined. The first is simply the story of the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis during World War II. The second is the story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, determined to profit from the war by hiring Jews as cheap laborers. He is a womanizer, living the high life through in spite of the suffering around him.

The Scarlet and the Black

Christopher Plummer and Gregory Peck play arch-enemies in this story of a remarkable Irish Monsignor living in the Vatican who runs a network of safehouses for Jews, escaped POWs and others seeking refuge in Nazi-occupied Rome. Monsignor O'Flaherty (Gregory Peck) boldly collects funds for his work at high-profile parties and events and narrowly escapes capture at every turn. As Nazi Commandant Hoffer (Christopher Plummer) realizes the scope of O'Flaherty's threat to Nazi purposes, the good Monsignor's danger increases.

Life is Beautiful

This serves as a tamer, but every-bit-as-powerful, version of Schindler's List (at least in-so-far as it portrays the reality of the Nazi concentration camps and the hopelessness and unfairness suffered by its prisoners). Perhaps because this is a "fable" rather than biography, it manages to portray the awfulness of war in a more subtle way - without all the gore and through the eyes of a child. It's still quite intense, though, and would only be suitable for teens and adults.

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