World War II

  B. A. Shapiro brilliantly captured the world of art-theft and forgery in her critically acclaimed best-selling novel, The Art Forger.

Shapiro’s latest is The Muralist, a story about the birth of abstract-impressionism set against the backdrop of The Great Depression and the eve of World War II.

  In this week's Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their discussion about Igor Stravinsky, hearing his Symphony of Wind Instruments.

  During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during the war, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called “quiet passage.” Hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City were exchanged for other more ostensibly important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.

Jan Jarboe Russell writes about Crystal City in her book, The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II, now out in paperback.

  The devastation of Pearl Harbor and the American victory at Midway were prelude to a greater challenge: rolling back the vast Japanese Pacific Empire, island by island.

Historian Ian Toll’s new book, The Conquering Tide, encompasses the heart of the Pacific War—the period between mid-1942 and mid-1944.

  Julian Rose is only fifteen when he leaves his family and Germany for a new life in 1920s America. Lonely at first, he eventually finds his way—first by joining up with Longy Zwillman and becoming one of the preeminent bootleggers on the East Coast, and later by amassing a fortune in real estate.

Kendall Wakefield is a free-spirited college senior who longs to become a painter. Her mother, the daughter of a slave and founder of an African-American college in South Florida, is determined to find a suitable match for her only daughter.

One evening in 1938, Mrs. Wakefield hosts a dinner that reunites Julian with his parents—who have been rescued from Hitler’s Germany by the college—and brings him together with Kendall for the first time.

  Reeling from the Great Depression, the United States and Germany elected two new leaders of diametrically opposing ideologies. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt won the presidency and Adolf Hitler became chancellor.

Author and historian David Pietrusza will discuss his new book - 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR–Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny.

Listener Essay - Legacy

Dec 8, 2015

  Carole Owens is an author and historian. 

Legacy

Sunday morning, “December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.”

My grandfather was at Pearl Harbor. Sometime between 7:53 and 9:55 a.m., he was hit by shrapnel – nasty chunks of metal packed into bombs.

  

  At the Water’s Edge is a love story about a privileged young woman’s awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

In the new novel from the author of the bestselling Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen demonstrates her talent for creating period pieces.

  London in April, 1940, was a place of great fear and conflict. Everyone was on edge; civilization itself seemed imperiled. The Germans are marching. They have taken Poland, France, Holland, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia. They now menace Britain. Should Britain negotiate with Germany?

The members of the War Cabinet bicker, yell, lose their control, and are divided. Churchill, leading the faction to fight, and Lord Halifax, cautioning that prudence is the way to survive, attempt to usurp one another by any means possible. Their country is on the line. And, in historian John Kelly’s new book: Never Surrender: Winston Churchill and Britain's Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in the Fateful Summer of 1940, he brings us alongside these complex and imperfect men, determining the fate of the British Empire.

John Kelly specializes in narrative history. He is the author of several books including: The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People.

  Michael “Misha” Gruenbaum enjoyed a carefree childhood playing games and taking walks through Prague with his beloved father. All of that changed forever when the Nazis invaded Prague. The Gruenbaum family was forced to move into the Jewish Ghetto in Prague. Then, after a devastating loss, Michael, his mother and sister were deported to the Terezín concentration camp.

At Terezin, Misha roomed with forty other boys who became like brothers to him. Life in Terezín was a bizarre, surreal balance—some days were filled with friendship and soccer matches, while others brought mortal terror as the boys waited to hear the names on each new list of who was being sent “to the East.”

Those trains were going to Auschwitz. When the day came that his family’s name appeared on a transport list, their survival called for a miracle—one that tied Michael’s fate to a carefully sewn teddy bear, and to his mother’s unshakeable determination to keep her children safe.

Pages