World War II

  Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Festival of Books, the annual extravaganza of all things literary, takes place over Labor Day weekend, September 4 through 7, 2015. The Festival features a giant used book sale, two days of readings and book signings by nationally known and local authors, and a children’s program.

One of this year's participating authors is Alex Kershaw. His new book (also featured on WAMC's The Book Show this week) Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris - recounts the story of one family’s heroic efforts to defeat the evil in their midst.

He will participate in the discussion "Heroes and Spies, Real and Imagined" at the Festival of Books on Saturday afternoon at 1:30.

  In 1944, hundreds of Allied soldiers were trapped in prisoner-of-war camps in occupied France, fighting brutal conditions and unsympathetic captors. The odds of their survival were long. The odds of escaping, even longer.

But one man had the courage to fight the odds. In Behind Nazi Lines: My Father’s Heroic Quest To Save 149 World War II Pow’s, Andrew Hodges tells the true story of his father’s brave mission behind enemy lines to negotiate the safety of prisoners.

Dr. Andrew Hodges Jr. is the firstborn son of World War II hero Andrew Gerow Hodges. He is a psychiatrist in private practice and has served as assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Dr. Hodges has helped pioneer a breakthrough to the brilliant unconscious mind, which he explained in his groundbreaking book, The Deeper Intelligence.

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The remains of a World War II fighter pilot identified 70 years after he died in the Pacific have arrived in upstate New York for burial.

  In his new book, Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese-American Internment in World War II, bestselling author Richard Reeves provides an authoritative account of the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese aliens during World War II.

Listener Essay - Elisabeth And The Three Or More Bears

Jul 10, 2015

  Elisabeth Grace is a semi-retired Clinical Social Worker, writer, birder and gardener who has lived in the United States since 1972, but who has deep roots in England and Scotland. She now shares her home in Columbia County with Molly, a polite, blue-eyed cat.

  Historian Jonathan Schneer joins us to talk about his new book on Winston Churchill and the politics of the Second World War, Ministers at War.

Schneer says while Churchill’s most notable contribution was to rally his embattled country behind the war effort, he highlights yet another major achievement: the putting together and managing of the domestic coalition that allowed Britain to mobilize all of its resources for war.

The team he put together was extremely talented, but they were also ambitious, self-confident, and opinionated.

    On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Subsequently, an eerie sense of normalcy settled over the City of Light. Many Parisians keenly adapted themselves to the situation-even allied themselves with their Nazi overlords. At the same time, amidst this darkening gloom of German ruthlessness, shortages, and curfews, a resistance arose. Parisians of all stripes-Jews, immigrants, adolescents, communists, rightists, cultural icons such as Colette, de Beauvoir, Camus and Sartre, as well as police officers, teachers, students, and store owners-rallied around a little known French military officer, Charles de Gaulle.

Ronald C. Rosbottom writes about this time in his new book, When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944.

  The play, Life in a Jar tells the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker, who assisted in hiding over 2,000 Jewish children who had been living in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

While the play dramatizes Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto during the war; it relays, as importantly, the heroic story of the 'righteous gentiles' who put their lives and that of their families at grave risk to save others by forging documents and hiding and placing Jewish children in convents and Polish homes

The impact of the Irena Sendler Project are many, including the book - Life in a Jar by Jack Mayer who will be attending two performances at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs and will take part in the Q and A following the play.

http://www.cultureandtourism.org/

  This month, the Toledo Museum of Art debuts the first exhibition that focuses solely on the wondrous artist books and works on paper by renowned German-born artist Werner Pfeiffer. Nearly 200 one-of-a-kind and limited edition artist books, dimensional prints, collages and experimental works will be shown in Drawn, Cut & Layered: The Art of Werner Pfeiffer. Some of the works will be seen publicly for the first time.

  Why are we mentioning an exhibition at a museum in Ohio, you ask? Because Werner Pfeiffer is a resident of Red Hook and we couldn’t let those Toledo-ans have all the fun.

Pfeiffer's interest in paper and books was born of his early years in Germany during and after World War II, when paper was limited and books were censored. The artist joins us to talk about his work and career.

  In Pictures at a Revolution, Mark Harris turned the story of the five movies nominated for Best Picture in 1967 into a landmark work of cultural history, a book about the transformation of an art form and the larger social shift it signified.

In his new book, Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and The Second World War, he achieves something larger and even more remarkable, giving us the untold story of how Hollywood changed World War II, and how World War II changed Hollywood, through the prism of five film directors caught up in the war: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens.

    When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks, in every theater of war.

Molly Guptill Manning joins us to talk about her book, When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II.

    The film, Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie opened last week. It is based on the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand. We spoke with her about the book and its subject, World War II hero, Louis Zamperini, when the book came out in 2010.

    In August 1939, curators at the Louvre nestled the world's most famous painting into a special red-velvet-lined case and spirited her away to the Loire Valley. Thus began the biggest evacuation of art and antiquities in history. As the Germans neared Paris in 1940, the French raced to move the masterpieces still further south, then again and again during the war, crisscrossing the southwest of France. At times Mona Lisa slept at the bedside of curators who were painfully aware of their heavy responsibility.

    When Lions Roar begins in the mid-1930s at Chartwell, Winston Churchill's country estate, with new revelations surrounding a secret business deal orchestrated by Joseph P. Kennedy, the soon-to-be American ambassador to Great Britain and the father of future American president John F. Kennedy. From London to America, these two powerful families shared an ever-widening circle of friends, lovers, and political associates – soon shattered by World War II, spying, sexual infidelity, and the tragic deaths of JFK's sister Kathleen and his older brother Joe Jr. By the 1960s and JFK's presidency, the Churchills and the Kennedys had overcome their bitter differences and helped to define the “greatness” in each other.

Acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier tells this dynastic saga through fathers and their sons – and the remarkable women in their lives – providing keen insight into the Churchill and Kennedy families and the profound forces of duty, loyalty, courage and ambition that shaped them.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

As they did in many cities across the region, people lined the streets of New York's capital today for the 59th annual Veterans Day Parade.  Albany's parade stepped off at the corner of Central Avenue and Partridge Street at 11 a.m. Marchers proceeded down Central Avenue past a reviewing stand on the steps of the old NYS Education Building.    

Listener Essay - And Also Our Thanks

Nov 11, 2014

  And Also Our Thanks

One Sunday in Paris with my friends Garry and Martine, we searched for the remains of the old Bastille. What’s left of this fortress today is a few foundation stones, forming an outline of the building in Paris’s cobbled streets. Despite connotations of revolution and war, the Bastille really isn’t all that big.

In no time we had rounded the block to find ourselves in front of a pharmacy. I quickly went in to buy something. I walked out to find my friends talking with an older gentleman on his way to the market. As I was introduced, he asked if I was an American.

“Je suis Américain” I replied in my cobbled-together French.

Then he thanked me for saving France.

    In what is being called by critics, the greatest novel of his career, Martin Amis’ latest, The Zone of Interest, provides a searing portrait of life – and, shockingly, love – in a concentration camp.

In the novel, the stories of the commander of the camp, the nephew of Hitler’s secretary, and a prisoner at the camp, all converge.

    In the winter of 1939 in the cold snow of no-man’s-land, two loners met and began an extraordinary journey that would turn them into lifelong friends. One was an orphaned puppy, abandoned by his owners as they fled Nazi forces. The other was a different kind of lost soul—a Czech airman bound for the Royal Air Force and the country that he would come to call home.

Kevin Sprague Photography

    Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore is currently running on Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield, MA through August 2nd.

Starring Mark H. Dold and directed by Joe Calarco, Breaking the Code tells the true story of famed mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, who solved the German Enigma code during World War II, not knowing that, as a gay man, he’d fight a much harder personal battle at home.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

A little known Holocaust museum in North Adams, Massachusetts will be able to keep its doors open for the next six months thanks to a donation.

Darrell English marvels at the artifacts hanging on the walls in the 750-foot square room he rents each month.

“An American flag around the corner here,” English said. “It’s a 48-star American flag. Nothing unusual about that. Except what’s stenciled on it. Which is a Nazi eagle.”

    

  Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.

The story is told in historian Adam Makos’ new book - A Higher Call - that follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions.

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James Goodson, a decorated World War II fighter pilot and former prisoner of war, who went on to a successful post-war business career, has died.

Goodson died Thursday at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth after a bout with pneumonia, according to his son, James Goodson Jr. He was 93.

The New York City native and Duxbury resident started fighting the Nazis even before the U.S. entered the war, flying Hurricanes and Spitfires as a member of a Royal Air Force American volunteer Eagle Squadron.

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A dog tag a Massachusetts man lost as he stormed ashore at Anzio during the Allied invasion of Italy in 1944 has finally been returned, 70 years later.

World War II Army veteran Alfred Cabral received the weathered scrap of copper-nickel alloy during an emotional ceremony at a Worcester nursing home last weekend.

The now 88-year-old Cabral quivered and tears rose in his eyes as he received the identification tag.

    The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage.

At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians--many of them young women from small towns across the South--were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war--when Oak Ridge's secret was revealed.

Martin Fletcher has been called the gold standard of TV war correspondents and is rapidly building a new reputation as an author. He has won almost every award in television journalism, including 5 Emmys.

His latest novel is Jacob's Oath. As World War II comes to a close, Europe’s roads are clogged with 20 million exhausted refugees walking home. Among them are Jacob and Sarah, lonely holocaust survivors who meet in Huddle berg. Jacob is consumed with hatred and cannot rest until he kills his brother’s murderer, a concentration camp guard.

He must now choose between revenge and love, and avenging the past and building a new future. 

HV Congressman To Present Medals To WWII Veteran

Jul 3, 2013

A New York congressman will present Army medals to a World War Two veteran in Dutchess County Wednesday afternoon.

  Jeanne Hunter shares part of the life story of Manuel Bromberg.

    When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. 

Robert Edsel joins us to talk about the efforts to save Italy’s great artistic treasures from the Nazis. 

His book is Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis.

    The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York is in the midst of their countdown to the public opening of the Roosevelt Library's new permanent museum exhibits on June 30th.

  Tom Brokaw, being widely recognized as having coined the title: “The Greatest Generation” and this commentator, a bona fide member since his enlistment in 1942, was glad to see him as a guest on a recent public affairs TV program; although the host did seem, somehow, to be more excited about the fact of this, than why its members were.  It would have been helpful for the current, younger TV audience, for Tom to have had an opportunity to explain the ‘why’ of the generation’s origin.

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