Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget. . .

Two timely books to recommend today.  I just finished reading Scott Chantler's new graphic novel Two Generals. It's the story of his grandfather, Law Chantler,  who with his best friend Jack Chrysler, joined the Highland Light Infantry of Canada during the Second World War.  The story covers their intensive training in England for the D-Day invasion (the use - and uselessness - of bicycles as standard equipment issued was a fascinating bit of historical information that was new to me), their landing on Juno Beach and their subsequent involvement in the bloody Battle of Buron, an essential and crucial part of the Allied invasion of Normandy, in which many Canadians lost their lives. It's a very moving story about friendship and bravery, told with honesty and even humour at times, as it also incorporates the daily lives of the soldiers during their training and before the battles. A great book to recommend to high school students.
Another book that is on my to-read list is Diana Souhami's new biography of Edith Cavell, the WW1 nurse who was executed by the Germans for helping English soldiers escape Belgium.  Part of the fascination I had with reading Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, so many years ago, were her descriptions of nursing during that period and the complex and sometimes demoralizing hierarchy in the  profession. And I'm always fascinated by the many stories of women who participated - and in many cases died - during that war.  Thanks to dovegreyreader who alerted me to the book in this post.

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