Thursday, January 31, 2013

What I've been reading

I’ve been listening to audio books while at work, and I’ve been on a World War II kick. I’m on my third book written about Europe during the 3rd Reich takeover, and I’m learning a lot while I sit in front of a computer all day. The first book I listened to was A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich by Lucas Delattre. This one was about a junior government official who deplored the new practices of the Nazi party, but instead of speaking out and getting thrown in a concentration camp, he continued to do his job well until he had the chance to take all the memos, telegrams, etc. that were a part of his work and give them to an American official in Switzerland. The book was well narrated and full of sympathetic characters.

I was sad when the nine and a half hour book ended, but I had another book in a similar genre that I’d been trying to get through: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson is a recent book and came highly recommended. It is about the American Ambassador to Germany and his family in the 1930s, and how they experienced the rise of Nazi power. I had started reading this one in hardcover, but it was so depressing reading about all the horrible things happening, and knowing that there were so many horrible things to come. The family was so naive at the beginning and I got so disheartened that I put the book down. I picked it up in audio format hoping that my divided attention (computer work) would make the horrors a little more palatable. It also helped that I did not go back and start at the beginning, but at where I’d left off reading. The audio book is almost 13 hours, and I did not particularly like the narrator, but I learned a ton about the early days of Hitler’s chancelory before he became supreme ruler, and about what it meant to be an ambassador in the early 20th Century.

I’ve just started another one, I’m two hours in to a 17.5 hour book called Citizens of London by Lynne Olson about three Americans in Britain during the Battle of Britain and how they shaped America’s entrance into WWII. So far I am entirely tickled, but that could be because one of the three, the American Ambassador to Britain is from New Hampshire, my home state. So far I’m enjoying the narrator, definitely sympathetic to the main characters, and I know things turn out alright for US and England, so I’m hopeful. This one is so long it might take me a month to get through it, but I’ve got a lot of computer work to do.

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