Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged World War II

Spy Garbo (3/6/11)

Sheila Schwartz’s Spy Garbo, an innovative multi-media production, takes place in history’s limbo, the eternal resting place of three prominent twentieth century political players. The first is Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde, played by Steven Rattazzi with a perfect mix of pomp, arrogance, and affability.


Set in 1930s and ‘40s in France and Poland, Amandine is Marlena de Blasi’s first work of fiction. The title character is a girl without a history. Or, at least, a history she knows. When she was just five months old, a mysterious woman deposited her in a French convent with Solange, a lay sister. Mater Paul, the head nun there, was given directions never to tell anyone claiming to be from the child’s past anything about the child, or to tell the child anything about her past or heritage, even what little that she knew. When the mysterious woman left her at the convent, the child didn’t even have a name.

Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale

I jumped at the chance to review Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale, an unconventional graphic memoir from writer/artist Belle Yang. While I am no expert on graphic literature, I did devour Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis series.

Atomic Mom

I was born in 1952 and, although I don't remember public service announcements about the atom bomb like the ones M.T. Silvia includes in her feature-length documentary Atomic Mom, I do remember "bomb drills" when I was in elementary school. At least we didn't just crawl under our desks like some PSAs recommended; we went down to the sub-basement and hunkered down in the dark. I don't remember being scared, but then I don't think I had a very good idea of what the hell we were doing. I'm not sure anyone did.

Colonial Metropolis: The Urban Grounds of Anti-Imperialism and Feminism in Interwar Paris

Interwar Paris conjures up images of romance and renewal. From the ashes and rubble of the First World War, families reunite and rebuild under what seemed to be the end of the most dire of circumstances.

Entangling Alliances: Foreign War Brides and American Soldiers in the Twentieth Century

When men are shipped out to foreign locations to engage in wartime activities, it seems inevitable that they will become romantically and sexually involved with foreign women. In Entangling Alliances, Susan Zeiger explores this phenomenon, examining governmental, military, and societal responses to American soldiers’ desires for sex, companionship, and marriage while engaged in combat overseas.

Love Goes to Press: A Comedy in Three Acts

It's impossible to dislike a female protagonist who opines, fifteen miles south of the Italian front in the second-to-last year of World War II, "If there's anything I really loathe, it's a woman protector." Delivered by Annabelle Jones, war correspondent for the San Francisco World, in conversation with Jane Mason, war correspondent for the New York Bulletin, this line refers to one of the many well-meaning men who are the butts of the jokes in the play Love Goes to Press.

Science on the Home Front: American Women Scientists in World War II

Science on the Home Front is an introduction to the lives and tasks of specific women scientists involved in the war effort, from Marie Curie to Margaret Mead. These women come from a variety of backgrounds and pursuits in science. A professor, Jack focuses on the fields of psychology, anthropology, physics and nutrition to elaborate on the women involved who played a specific role in the war.

The Piano Teacher

Janice Y. K. Lee's debut novel, The Piano Teacher, takes the reader inside the upper social circles of Hong Kong during and ten years after World War II. The book opens in 1950s Hong Kong with Claire Pendleton, a young British wife who is bored and takes a job teaching piano to the daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong couple. “It started as an accident.

The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington

Conant, a former journalist, is a thorough researcher. In this book, she digs into the secret wartime propaganda work that Roald Dahl and his British colleagues were assigned to do to drum up American support for World War II.

Now Silence: A Novel of World War II

Usually novels about World War II occur in Nazi Germany, Poland, or some other place in Europe. Tori Warner Shepard, however, places her story in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of the men from this area had to go through the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. Soon after, they were transferred to a prison camp in Japan. Shepard's focus is on the women who wait for their men to return from war.

Making Marriage Modern: Women’s Sexuality from the Progressive Era to World War II

Making Marriage Modern by Christina Simmons explores the many changes to marriage, courtship, and women’s role in society that took place following the Victorian era until World War II.

The Clothes on Their Backs: A Novel

To be particularly honest, I am partial to any and all texts set in Britain, and The Clothes On Their Backs is set in London. So I was already loving the book before I started reading. My love only grew as I went on. The story is of Vivien Kovacs, daughter of Jewish Hungarian immigrants. Vivien grew up in Benson Court, with parents who much preferred staying home than going out.

Take Off: American All-Girl Bands During WWII

To all naïve readers who still think Kathleen Hanna, Courtney Love or Liz Phair were doing anything new by boldly storming their way into previously male territory, may I suggest Tonya Bolden’s Take Off?

The Films of Su Friedrich, Vol. 1: The Ties That Bind

When I read what The Ties That Bind was about, I knew I had to see it. Su Friedrich interviews her mother, Lore, about what it was like living in Germany during World War II. It is a brilliantly woven film tapestry - a mixture of story-telling, historical film footage, current newspaper articles/titles, current war protests and dozens of modern “political mailings.” I recommend it to everyone.

Glory in a Line: A Life of Foujita

Readers interested in art, Paris, Tokyo, or multiculturalism in the first half of the twentieth century will enjoy Phyllis Birnbaum’s carefully documented biography of Foujita’s tumultuous life as an aristocratic playboy and fiercely dedicated artist, both acclaimed and vilified for his controversial works.