A welcome addition to the literature of the Shoah and of anti-Nazi resistance.

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THE LIGHT OF DAYS

THE UNTOLD STORY OF WOMEN RESISTANCE FIGHTERS IN HITLER'S GHETTOS

Resounding history of Jewish women who fought the German invaders in World War II.

The role of women in resisting the genocidal tyranny of the Third Reich has, like so much women’s history, been less well documented than the work of their male counterparts. Batalion, the child of Holocaust survivors, notes that an early role model for her was Hannah Senesh, “one of the few female resisters in World War II not lost to history,” who was captured and executed by the Germans, refusing a blindfold and “staring at the bullet straight on.” Discovering a Yiddish book called Freuen in di Ghettos (Women in the Ghettos) that had been published immediately after the war introduced the author to many other women fighters who contributed to the Allied war effort, whether by sabotaging German supply trains, smuggling weapons, spying for Russian military intelligence, or killing errant German soldiers. A stellar example is “Renia K.,” whose story, in Batalion’s hands, is lifted “from the footnotes to the text.” Eventually captured by the Gestapo, she was asked, “Don’t you feel it’s a waste to die so young?” She responded, “As long as there are people like you in the world, I don’t want to live.” Surprisingly, she survived, although her story and those of many others were reshaped for political purposes. Those women, Batalion convincingly argues, have often been misrepresented for just those reasons. Many were politically active before the war and even militant, espousing “Zionist, socialist, and pioneer values,” and some chroniclers have been reluctant to celebrate their work because doing so might unduly judge those who did not resist, “ultimately blaming the victim.” In a vigorous narrative that draws on interviews, diaries, and other sources, Batalion delivers an objective view of past events that are too quickly being forgotten—and a story much in need of telling.

A welcome addition to the literature of the Shoah and of anti-Nazi resistance. (20 b/w photos)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-287421-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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