World War II Non-fiction Reads

In honour of Remembrance Day, the book display in the lobby will be focused on World War II. Here are a few highlights:

AndNoBirdsSangAnd No Birds Sang, by Farley Mowat

Perhaps Mowat’s finest work, this memoir of a callow young Canadian bloodied by the Allied invasion of Italy is unforgettable. At first gung-ho and filled with patriotic duty, Mowat champs at the bit to get at the Nazis. Then as the reality of the fighting sinks in he comes to realize the appalling cost of fulfilling that duty. Striking and graphic, this memoir is not to be missed.

Rescue at Los Banos, by Bruce HendersonRescueAtLosBanos

Over 2,000 civilians had been interned by the Japanese at Los Banos in the Philippines, and as the war in the Pacific wound down, these captives were in grave danger of death by starvation or outright murder. This is the account of the 11th Airborne Division’s remarkable rescue mission told through the stories of the prisoners and the paratroopers who (with help from Filipino guerrillas) were tasked with saving them.

GreatEscapeThe Great Escape: A Canadian Story, by Ted Barris

You’ve seen the movie starring Steve McQueen, now find out the real story behind the Hollywood hype. Barris tells the tale through the back-stories of the participants, their capture stories and escape plan tasks – the resourcefulness and determination of the prisoners is truly amazing. The result is a retelling of this famous escape seen through the eyes of those who actually experienced it.

War in the St. Lawrence, by Roger SartyWarStLawrence

Between 1942 and 1944, German U-boats destroyed or badly damaged twenty-five ships in the St. Lawrence killing 360 people. It was the only battle to take place within Canadian boundaries in the twentieth century. Sarty draws vivid pictures of the combat and interweaves these events with political developments in Ottawa, Washington, and London, bringing to life an important slice of our history that has largely been forgotten.

IBMHolocaustIBM and the Holocaust, by Edwin Black

How did the famously efficient Nazis keep track of the racial, religious, and location details of their victims? IBM punch cards were widely used in the Third Reich despite war-time prohibitions forbidding American corporations from doing business with the enemy. Additionally, staff of their German subsidiary serviced the machinery situated right within the concentration camps. This is not a light read, but it raises important questions about corporate greed and responsibility which remain relevant today.

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