Weird War Two is a fascinating collection of mini stories about World War 2. Find out all about how the war started, what Hitler was attempting to do, the minds of some his Officers, which animals took part, spies, secret projects; combined with some funny stories in the mix. For example Britain had invented radar during the war but they did not want to tell the Germans as they could take them by surprise. Instead we told them that we ate lots of carrots, which helped us see in the dark and you know what? They bought it!

Hitler wanted to create an ‘Aryan’ race, where everyone was blonde hair and blue eyed. He hated Jews and planned to get rid of them all, by creating concentration camps, cities were bombed both sides, as well as strange ideas. Although the war was tragic, Richard brings to life the strangeness of World War 2, at time they had some really weird ideas that they thought would work, for example dogs and animals were used as suicide bombers. Of course they tried to train them to run back after they had set the bomb off but it was a hard thing to do.

The novel is not in any kind of order and  the chapters are short but sweet, however that is ok as it flows very well with the book.  It also means that if you want to take a break you can and it doesn’t matter where you are as you can dip in and out easily. The book itself is very well written and it is obvious that the author Richard has done a lot of extensive research. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Weird World 2, as I have a fascination about the war and it was all very interesting.

If you love history or you are just interested in the second world war, then consider reading this book. Richard has bought this book to life with his intriguing stories and some may surprise you of course like this one  – Hitler actually saved a Jew and one soldier could have stopped the war by killing Hitler, however he didn’t know it was Hitler at the time.

 

The True Story of Lale Sokolov

Lale Sokolov – a Jew living in Slovakia; arrived at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, in April 1942. He gave himself in, hoping that his family would be spared; unfortunately, only his sister survived.

When Lale arrived at the camp, he saw how awful people were being treated, some people were randomly shot, killed and starved.

One day Lale contracted an illness, it was thought that he would not survive but Pepan the Tattooist managed to get some medicine and nurse Lale back to health, without the Nazi’s realising. (If the Nazi’s had noticed they probably would have killed Lale)

When Lale was better, he was told to be Pepan assistant, which is where he learnt how to tattoo the prisoner’s number onto them.

One day Pepan did not turn up for work, no one knew what had happened to him, whether he was shipped out or shot but Lale became the sole tattooist.

Lale became busy with tattooing, it was a job that he hated but if he knew that he must do it to survive. One of the prisoner’s arm felt delicate and made him look up, it was love at first sight for Lale, as Gitas eyes shone brightly.

From then on, Lale knew he would survive, his job came with perks, such as extra food rations, he would sneak these to his friends and Gita to help keep them alive.

Through the horrors of the camp, Lale did his best to help others and above all found the love of his life.

A definite read for your reading list!

Mariam lived with her mother on the outskirts of Herat Her father would visit her every so often to play with her and spend time with her.

Mariam’s mother had her out of wedlock, her father who had 3 wives and 9 other children was ashamed of them and so built them a house on the outskirts. Out of sight out of mind, but he continues to visit when he had the time.

However, tragedy strikes one day and Mariam had to pack her bags and go and live with her father. She did not feel welcome there, it was such a big house compared to what she was used too. It did not help that her stepmothers were jealous of her.

When she was 15 years old, the wives called Mariam down for a discussion with her father. A man was coming all the way from Kabul to marry her, someone she had never met before and was at least 30 years her senior. Mariam was to marry him and then leave on the bus with him back to Kabul.
She pleaded with her father not to let her go through with it but he made no hesitation.
After about a week Mariam got set to work on the tasks that Rasheed would expect her to do, for example, clean the house, prepare dinner and have it on the table ready for when he came home. She fell into the routine nicely, Rasheed took her out and bought her nice things and their relationship flourished nicely until Mariam could not bore him a child.

War was coming closing to Kabul, the Taliban were closing in. It was a terrible time, bombs were constantly going off.

A young girl found herself in hospital, she was getting ready to leave this country and make to Pakistan with her parents. She would meet her best friend Tariq and everything would be fine, however, she was all alone. Rasheed paid for her medicine, took her in and looked after her until she was better.
Rasheed informed Mariam that he would take this young girl who was 15 years old as his new wife, as people were talking and it would be dishonourable. Laila the young girl accepted a bit too quickly but was there an alternative reason for that?

Mariam and Laila did not get on very well, Mariam was jealous of the attention Rasheed was giving Laila, taking her out, buying her things like he used to do for her, but in a turn of events they developed a kinship in each other and vowed one day to be free.

As the Taliban began to take over, rules for women were too much, they were not allowed to walk on the street unless a male relative was present, reading and writing was banned, as were many others. Just what were women meant to do? Nothing, precisely nothing. If you were caught doing any of these you would be beaten, and Laila was caught, but she refused to give up.

People were losing their jobs, water was drying up and the food was becoming less and less – it was horrible.
A Thousand Splendid Suns has a great storyline. As we follow Mariam and Laila’s story we feel sorry for them. The schooling and education that they had seemed to be pointless and it was like there were only born to serve the men. However, times are changing, and I believe now in Saudi Arabi women are now allowed to drive.

A great, courageous story of bravery and survival in a male-dominated country.

At the age of 7, Rachel was taken from her family and sent to live on Kalaupapa, on the remote Island of Moloka’I, here she was sent to die as she had contracted leprosy, but her life was just beginning.

Rachel Kalama had a happy childhood; her father was away at sea a lot and often brought Rachel and her family gifts. Her mother deeply cared for her and her brothers and sisters.

It was known that Leprosy was doing the rounds, the symptoms were rose coloured patches and if stabbed with a pin, the person would not feel it.

When Rachel first began showing signs, her mother tried her best to conceal it, until of course she was found out. Therefore, at the age of 7, Rachel was packed off to Kalaupapa.

Rachel was devastated, especially as it was expensive for Rachel’s family to visit. She lived in the home, cared for by nurses and developed a strong friendship with them.

As we follow Rachel’s journey we watch her find love, friendship, loss and triumph as she does her best to get off the Island. Rachel vowed that one day she will make it back home to her family.

However not everyone died of leprosy straight away, some people lasted years and Kalaupapa became a community with fighting spirit.

Moloka’I is based on a true story.  Yes, people did believe that putting affected people into quarantine was the answer and it seemed to work as the leprosy cases became less and less.

The author, Alan Brennert has done lots of research to ensure the storyline is authentic.

I found this book hard to get into at first, as the first part is setting the scenes, characters and story; I wasn’t sure where the storyline was going but as I continued it just became better.

They say the sign of a good book is one that can make you cry and I certainly did.

 If you have enjoyed watching the recent series of the Crown like I have, then this book may be for you. Princess Margaret is indeed an interesting character and I was curious as to what tales the book may hold.

Princess Margaret is the sister of our Queen; Queen Elizabeth II. Although she was very fortunate in her position and often craved for her sister’s position, it also came with great sacrifice; for example, she had to give up her relationship with Group Captain Peter Townsend.

Princess Margaret went down the sad route of drinking and chain smoking.  Craig Brown gives us an insightful account of her life; with accounts from people that know her, through newspaper stories and other ways.

Sadly, I am very disappointed with this book. I was attracted to the cover and title, which stood out well.

 After watching the Crown, I thought the book would include many interesting tales and would be able to tell us what Princess Margaret is really like.

I was fascinated by the first page of the book, which had statements which Princess Margaret had given, for example, the reason why she did not marry Group Captain Peter Townsend; which I found quite interesting. However there does not seem to be a structure to the book, I thought it may have started with Margaret’s life from a young age and progress up to present but the novel itself seems all over the place.

The pages tend to summarise and the stories are not from the greatest source as they are from people who knew her.

Unfortunately, I would not recommend this book and would give this a 3/12 as it is quite well written.

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