The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Publication Date: January 1, 2006


The HIding Placy by Corrie ten Boom book review by Rabid Reader's ReviewsBetter World Book Challenge 3 – A Childhood Favorite

Corrie Ten Boom and her family lived in Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1940 when the Nazis invaded. As Calvinists, they saw it as their duty to help God’s people and set about creating a hiding place in their home for Jewish people that came to them for refuge. The Hiding Place follows their quest to save those they could and their ultimate capture and internment.



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Secrets of Sand Mountain by Philip Elrod

Publication Date: December 10, 2015



In 1944, the residents of a northern Alabama town are tested in a way they’ve never been before. Where some of the challenges and secrets are what men are made of, others embody a destruction that will mark the souls of the townsfolk.




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Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi

Publication Date: September 1, 1995



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.

Flying Loyalties by Helmuth Palmer

Publication Date: October 31, 2012


hp_flying_loyaltiesHansi lives a happy life in Scotland indulging in a passion for planes when World War II breaks out. His Austrian background and bi-lingual abilities make him the perfect spy. Hansi uncovers a horrifying plan by Hitler to develop the atomic bomb. Can he prevent the impending disaster?




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