Turned away from the Royal Canadian Air Force for his apparent youth and frailty, Farley Mowat joined the infantry in 1940. The young second lieutenant soon earned the trust of the soldiers under his command, and was known to bend army rules to secure a stout drink, or find warm - if non-regulation - clothing. But when Mowat and his regiment engaged with elite German forces in the mountains of Sicily, the optimism of their early days as soldiers was replaced by despair. With a naturalist's eyes and ears, Mowat takes in the full dark depths of war - and his moving account of military service, and the friends he left behind, is also a plea for peace. It is one of the most searing and unforgettable World War II memoirs from any Canadian.
Chicago, 1924. There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special-worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a "girl reporter" for the Chicago Tribune, the city's "hanging paper." Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking, and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister's daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make "Stylish Belva" Gaertner and "Beautiful Beulah" Annan-both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers-the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail, and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on "Murderesses' Row" as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites.In the tradition of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.
Villages of Poland hide the lost secrets of World War II1944: Heavy footfalls thud on the road on a rainy May night. A band of gunmen scour a hilltop farm, acting on rumors that it harbors a Jewish family. For 18 months, the Rozeneks have been hiding safely, but their luck is about to run out. Only one from the family of six will live to see the sunrise. Sixteen-year-old Hena Rozenek shelters in the woods until morning . . . and then she runs.Forty years later: Holocaust survivor Sam Rakowski Ron has lived in the United States for decades, never thinking he could return to the Polish village he fled as a teenager. But now he's ready to talk about what he heard, what he saw, and what he knows about two separate families of cousins who were his neighbors, and presumably were killed during the war. The story Poland presents to the world is that Poles saved more Jews than citizens of any other nation, that any murders in Poland were committed by Nazis and Nazis alone. But Sam, while defending his countrymen, suspects a painful truth. The stories he shares with his younger cousin, Judy, an investigative journalist, send them off on a decades-long journey unlike any other to find out what happened to the Rozenek family and ultimately reveal the secrets the Polish government is still desperate to keep.
This WWII fighter pilot memoir recounts the author’s many exploits as a flying ace during WWII in the Normandy invasions, the Battle for France and beyond. Born in Minneapolis in 1916, William R. Dunn decided to become a fighter pilot at the age of twelve. In 1939 he joined the Canadian Army and was soon transferred to the Royal Air Force. As part of the RAF’s famous Eagle Squadron, Dunn was sent to Europe to fight in the Second World War. Flying Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires, he was the first Eagle Squadron pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft. When he later transferred to the US Army Air Forces, he became the first American ace of the war. Lieutenant Colonel Dunn saw action in the Normandy invasion and in Patton's sweep across France. Twenty years later he fought again in Vietnam. In this lively memoir, Dunn keenly conveys the fighter pilot's experience of war—the tension of combat, the love of aircraft, the elation of victory, the boisterous comradeship and competition of the pilot brotherhood.
The Jerilderie Letter
By Ned Kelly
Narrated by Denis Daly
Edward "Ned" Kelly (1854 -1880) was the last and most celebrated Australian bushranger (outlaw).
After being implicated in the shooting of three policemen at Stringybark Creek in October, 1878, Kelly and his gang were declared by the Victorian government to be outlaws, and were the subjects of an extensive man hunt over the next two years.
In February, 1879, the Kelly gang staged a daring and highly organized raid on the Bank of New South Wales in the town of Jerilderie. During the occupation of the town Kelly dictated a letter to fellow gang member Joe Byrne, which he wished the editor of the Jerilderie & Urana Gazette to publish. Unable to locate the editor of the paper, Kelly gave the letter to Edwin Living, the accountant of the bank, with a demand that it be printed. However, the letter was not actually published until 1930
In the letter the outlaw gives a detailed explanation of his various grievances and, in particular, attempts to justify his actions at Stringybark Creek.
Kelly was captured after an epic shootout at the Glenrowan Hotel in June 1880, and was executed by hanging in Melbourne on 11th November.
A story of faith and fraud in post-Civil War America, told through the lens of a photographer who claimed he could capture images of the dead
In the early days of photography, in the death-strewn wake of the Civil War, one man seized America's imagination. A "spirit photographer," William Mumler took portrait photographs that featured the ghostly presence of a lost loved one alongside the living subject. Mumler was a sensation: The affluent and influential came calling, including Mary Todd Lincoln, who arrived at his studio in disguise amidst rumors of seances in the White House.
Peter Manseau brilliantly captures a nation wracked with grief and hungry for proof of the existence of ghosts and for contact with their dead husbands and sons. It took a circus-like trial of Mumler on fraud charges, starring P. T. Barnum for the prosecution, to expose a fault line of doubt and manipulation. And even then, the judge sided with the defense - nobody ever solved the mystery of his spirit photography.
This forgotten puzzle offers a vivid snapshot of America at a crossroads in its history, a nation in thrall to new technology while clinging desperately to belief.
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