Rabid Reader’s Book List for Human Rights Day 2016

If you are looking for books dealing with human rights, check out those that have been reviewed on this homepage. Our main post with an overview of books and movies were reviewed for human rights day 2016 will be published later. At the moment, enjoy the Rabid Reader’s Book List for Human Rights Day 2016 and make sure to visit this site later.

 

Contempt of Court: The Turn-of-the-Century Lynching That Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism by Mark Curriden & Leroy Phillips

Genre: nonfiction, human rights, political science, African-American studies

In 1906, a white woman was brutally raped in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Ed Johnson, a black man, was working at his restaurant job when the attack happened but was arrested and charged with the crime. When his lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court for a stay of execution and that stay was granted, local folks, led by officials, took the law into their own hands. In a history-changing move, the lynch mob faced federal legal repercussions. Ed  Johnson cleared of the rape charges 100 years later. You can read the review of a “Contempt of Court” here.

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Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Publication Date: May 29, 2009

 

DC_Pope_Joan In the 9th century, young Joan is thirsty for knowledge, which she is denied because of  her gender. When Joan’s brother dies, she assumes his identity and heads off to a Benedictine Monastery. As Joan distinguishes herself and rises in the religious ranks, she finds herself heading to Rome. As her star rises, Joan finds herself playing a dangerous and precarious political game.  

 

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The Church of Fear by John Sweeney

Release Date: May 19, 2015

 

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Former BBC Reporter, John Sweeney, takes readers on a journey into the world of Scientology.   Despite intimidation and harassment from church leaders, Sweeney bravely ventures forth to uncover a complex world where high-level members are used as a public face to mask the true insanity of the theology and its members maintained by fear.

 

 

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Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi

Publication Date: September 1, 1995

 

PL_Survival_Auschwitz_Primo_Levi

Primo Levi was a twenty-five-year-old chemist living in Turin, Italy when he was arrested as an “Italian Citizen of Jewish Race” and deport to Auschwitz. Survival in Auschwitz chronicles the ten months that Levi spent in the death camp and the triumph of human spirit that kept him alive.

 

 

 

January 27, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Levi was one of only twenty survivors in his transport of 650 prisoners. His memoir “If this is a Man” was first released in his home country as a limited run in October of 1947. The version that I read was translated in 1958 by Giulio Einaudi.

Survival In Auschwitz is a dispassionate account of the Holocaust and Auschwitz Death Camp in a way that seems perhaps a bit odd for an account written a mere few years after the author’s experience. At first I thought that perhaps the removal from the subject was due to the translated text. Survival In Auschwitz reads awkwardly at points as though there really isn’t a translation for certain things. As the book progressed, I came to believe that the objectivity of Levi in the work perhaps highlights the suffering that its subject must have experienced. Survival In Auschwitz reads a bit like a victim having to leave the body emotionally to survive a nightmarish experience. Levi’s experience was raw and brutal. He doesn’t describe events in a graphic way but manages to still convey the awfulness of the experience. In the time he was in the camp, Levi didn’t see himself as a man but a slave.

There is always a fragility of life in accounts we hear of the concentration camps. Levi is able to work and he’s sent immediately to perform hard labor in the camp. Anyone who couldn’t work was immediately put to death and if a person became ill they would be sent to a very short-term infirmary where they’d either improve or be sent immediately to the gas chambers.

Survival In Auschwitz is not a book designed to horrify the reader but to inform. Levi, as an author, doesn’t read as a man who is looking to inspire his audience with his brave perseverance in horrific odds. Levi instead reads as a man who never wants us to forget. The Holocaust is something that happened to him. He was not a religious man and didn’t consider himself a Jew but he was labeled as such and for that label was sent to slavery, degradation and almost certain death. In Levi’s eyes, he regained his humanity when he was sent to the infirmary for 10 days and spared a march that would have surely killed him.

Levi’s bravery to write such a work and so soon after the experience astounds the reader. Ten months must have seemed a lifetime to this 25-year-old as he saw cruelty and hate and people dying every day. The people that Levi described as emaciated and broken can be viewed in historical footage of the Liberation of Auschwitz. Levi doesn’t seem to hate the Germans in his narrative and the minimization of them seems to be something of a dehumanizing of them. They are the faceless mass. They are the uncertain evil gobbling the souls of those around him.

Survival In Auschwitz is well written, poignant and simply an important work of nonfiction. Please, take a moment to remember today the 4.1 million people who died at this horrible death camp.

You can read an excerpt and buy Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi on:

Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.Amazon Canada

For more information about Primo Levi, check Goodreads, Facebook and Wikipedia.

Seven Unholy Days by Jerry Hatchett

Publication Date: January 19, 2014

 

JH_Seven_Unholy_DaysMatt Decker is a designer of energy grids on a routine inspection in rural Mississippi when the U.S. is attacked. The grid is out of control and the enemy isn’t obvious. The attack seems to come home on Matt. Can he stop the slid into chaos and save the United States?

 

 

 

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Promised Land: A Galatia Novel by C.D. Verhoff

Publication Date: November 24, 2013

 

cv_promised_landThe inhabitants of Galatia, a post-apocalyptic community, have been living underground since a nuclear attack left the world uninhabitable. When their underground bunker collapses, the Galactians are forced to the surface, some of who embrace the change. Lars Steelson is a kid who didn’t fit in the underground. On the surface, he blossoms. He’s joined by hothead Josie Albright. Can Josie and Lars work together to find a new home for their people?

 

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A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller (The Pius Trilogy Book 1) by Declan Finn

Publication Date: March 22, 2013

 

DF_A_Pius_ManThe new African Pope has been hunted all of his life and is highly security conscious. When he courts controversy by seeking to make Hitler’s pope a saint, people start to die. Six investigators representing international policing agencies head to the Vatican in an attempt to protect the pope and stop the loss of life. Can they succeed or does the problem have a depth none of them realize?

 

 

 

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Diary of a Heretic by Kathleen Maher

Publication Date: May 1, 2013

 

KM_Diary_of_a_HereticCoffee shop owner Malcolm Tully wants a life with something to anticipate. Everything is the same as it has been every day. He wants companionship and people saying things that should be said, but no one ever gives voice. When he vents his frustration to his baker Carlos, Malcolm never suspects how his life will change. All he wanted was a forum for people to talk freely, and suddenly he’s caught up in a whirlwind of bread blessings and audience attended éclaire glazing. He’s on a ride to the top that will open his eyes to the world around him.

 

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Asterion by Kenneth Morvant

Publication Date: February 6, 2013

 

KM_AsterionTaylor Scott and Christine Summers are scientists in a not-so-distant dystopian future that have created a hybrid beast of burden to work in the fields and grow crops. The government sees great potential in the beast as a weapon and the scientists find themselves hunted by their own creation.

 

 

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