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Mieke Eerkens 'All Ships Follow Me'  Is a Harrowing Family Memoir Scarred by the Horrors of War

Against the backdrop of Dutch East Indies colonialism and Nazi sympathizers, two families come together amidst the ashes of World War II in Mieke Eerkens' moving family history, All Ships Follow Me.

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Books

'Chronicles of a Liquid Society' and the Best Dinner Companion for End Times​

The significance of Umberto Eco's work as collected here is found not in his astonishing foresight but in his reasoning.

Books

Glenn Miller and the End of an Era

Setting the record straight about the tragic ending of legendary Big Band leader/trombonist Glenn Miller.

Film

'Land of Mine' Explores the Intolerable Costs of Nationalistic Vengeance

Land of Mine is perhaps the most powerful denunciation of nationalism's destructive force as we'll see on movie screens in 2017.

Books

'The Pawnbroker's Daughter' Tells Us How to Write Well and Live Beautifully

Maxine Kumin's final memoir is painfully brief, but like all her work, ever lyrical.

Reviews

'The Bridge' Shows a Forgotten Side of Nazi Germany's Final Days

The Bridge, which tells the story of the Volkssturm in the final days of the Nazi party, is classic work of art.

Reviews

'Judgment at Nuremberg' Shows the Cost of Not Caring

Judgement at Nuremberg is a reminder that the courtroom drama is Hollywood’s most underrated and underused genre.

Reviews

'H Is for Hawk' and for Healing

This book about grief and hawks and T.H. White is so beautifully written that even readers unable to tell robins from parakeets will be entranced.

Comics

The High Art of Disownership in 'Death Sentence: London'

Death Sentence: London is quite possibly the most important work of 2015.

Books

Another Kind of Horror: 'When Paris Went Dark'

When Paris Went Dark is a penetrating history of the anxiety, confusion, claustrophobia, and uncertainty experienced by a city in the grip of an unpredictable menace.

Reviews

What Is Permissible in the Name of Science, Wartime Expediency, and National Security?

"Our Germans beat their Germans," someone quipped when Wernher von Braun's team of rocketeers put Americans on the Moon, but Operation Paperclip reveals that US involvement with ex-Nazi scientists was far deeper, and far darker.

Film

The Stultifying Speeches of 'The Monuments Men'

Theoretically an adventure film about saving the culture of the Western World from rampaging Nazi philistines, George Clooney's first serious misstep as a director is somehow both painfully serious and trite.

Reviews

A Message Carefully Wrapped and Sealed in a Ziploc Bag

Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being is an enormous step forward from her prior novels, taking on nothing less than the meaning of time itself.

Reviews

Sentimentality, Captured Beautifully: 'Wartime Kiss: Visions of the Moment in the 1940s'

We’re meant to understand something more about our ability to respond to the images around us. We’re shaped emotionally by images, and new, unconventional readings of history can be enriched by mining through them.

Reviews

One of Marcel Carné's Best Films, Beautifully Restored: 'Les Visiteurs du Soir'

Whether Les Visiteurs du Soir is taken as a political allegory, or simply as a sumptuous fairy tale, it's a film not to be missed.

Politics

Waves of Grain: How World War II Created Our World

World War II changed the way we eat, live and work on such a fundamental scale that to those in the West it seems like there has never been anything other than the globalized world it created.

Books

The Worst Man Who Ever Lived: 'HHhH'

The eccentric title is a reference to the novel's putative subject, the assassinated Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, "the most dangerous man in the Third Reich, the Hangman of Prague, the Butcher, the Blond Beast, the Man with the Iron Heart, the worst creature ever forged in the burning fires of hell."

Film

'Lord of the Flies' Still Reigns

Fear and brutality inherent in the human condition and the drive to survive are themes that have never gone out of fashion. The stakes get even higher when those involved are children, and that's obviously a big seller.

Reviews

On the Fierce Persistence of Mass Delusion: 'It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway'

It's not that historical revisionism exists in Russia, but that the revisionism––and sometimes the downright denial of the historical record––swings to extremes.

Reviews

In 'The Day Before Happiness', Naples Hosts a Poetic Story of an Orphan Coming of Age Post WWII

Erri De Luca’s writing is a tender poetic narrative, treating things (Naples, the air itself) like characters, and weaving together a story comprised of waves of feeling instead of orderly plot points.

Books

Today's Seriously Sagging Britches Have a Precedent in the Society Challenging 'Zoot Suit'

Kathy Peiss takes us back to a time whe “clothes make the man” led some to adopt a wild sartorial departure from the mainstream, and others to beat them viciously for it.

Reviews

'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas' Peers at the Holocaust Through a Child's Eyes

This story of an improbable friendship between an eight-year-old German and a boy in a concentration camp is a standard if unimpressive Holocaust drama with a completely irresponsible ending.

Reviews

'The Haunting Cinema of Frantisek Vlasil': a Political Allegory and a Sensitive Study of Childhood

Are you familiar with the films of Frantisek Vlacil? If you care about cinema as an art form, you should be.

Reviews

This Soviet-era Polish Film About WWII Turns Gritty Combat Scenes Into a Tragic Epic

As Red Rowan conveys, the Eastern Front saw more WWII casualties than either the Western Front or the Pacific. It also involved millions of citizens from countries that found themselves caught between the Soviets and the Third Reich.

Reviews

The Ultimate Dambusters Collection

A couple of unique perspectives highlight this otherwise ho-hum set of World War II documentaries.

Reviews

Inglourious Basterds

The bad news is that the Weinsteins may have been right about trimming some of the fat; the good news is that even a flawed Tarantino is better than a perfect most anyone else.

Television

Independent Lens: Wings of Defeat

Wings of Defeat shows that, then and now, the kamikaze pilots were complicated and diverse individuals, not stereotypical fanatics.

Reviews

Call of Duty: World at War

Call of Duty: World at War's catalysts for combat personalize the brutality that the player will mete out on the Axis by dehumanizing and "othering" the Japanese and the Germans as barbarians and monsters.

Television

POV: Inheritance

This notion of "help" -- impossible, necessary -- colors Inheritance, a documentary about living with memories of a Nazi father.

Film

Why, Spike, Why?

For all of Spike Lee's status as the eternal Young Turk, he's also a moviemaker who came of age just a few years after the brat pack of Spielberg, Scorsese, de Palma, et al.

Books

The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson

Atkinson's earlier work, An Army at Dawn, won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 2003, and, if anything, The Day of Battle is even more engrossing.

Desmond Ryan
Books

The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson

Relying on military histories and documents, the private letters and diaries of generals and front-line soldiers, news accounts and interviews, Atkinson creates a seamless, stunning narrative that is the equal of An Army at Dawn.

Thomas Peele
News

Now 'The War' comes home

Terry Lawson
Reviews

Call of Duty: Roads to Victory

Call of Duty has nothing to do with the reality of World War II. It is a heroic version of an idea that we hold about being in a war that most us of don't remember, but only understand through movies and books.

Gregory Trefry
Film

Spaghetti War Flicks: World War II Brought to Life, Sort of

I love Spaghetti Westerns, even the not-so-great ones. I even like the bad dubbing.


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