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Friday, July 5, 2013

Reading of late

Seems like here lately I am on a WWII kick (again) in my reading. I do not know why I have such a fascination about that time era - I normally prefer non-fiction about this subject. I do not know if you are familiar with an author by the name of Ken Follett - Wikipedia - Ken Follett - he has written several international best sellers. I am currently reading (a fiction book) the 2nd in his "Century" series, Winter of the World. I am really enjoying reading it - while the book is 939 pages (yikes, I know) - it has totally absorbed my attention this past week - I keep staying up late into the night to read as much as I can - the sub-plots are excellently interwoven.



Here is a tidbit about it from the author's website:  http://ken-follett.com/en/

Five linked families live out their destinies as the world is shaken by tyranny and war.

Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil steps her mother’s formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism.

Lloyd also encounters a group of Germans resolved to oppose Hitler – but are they willing to go so far as to betray their country? Such people are closely watched by Volodya, a Russian with a bright future in Red Army Intelligence.

The international clash of military power and personal beliefs that ensues will sweep over them all as it rages from Cable Street in London’s East End to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, from Spain to Stalingrad, from Dresden to Hiroshima.

At Cambridge Lloyd is irresistibly drawn to dazzling American socialite Daisy Peshkov, who represents everything his left-wing family despise. But Daisy is more interested in aristocratic Boy Fitzherbert – amateur pilot, party lover and leading light of the British Union of Fascists.

Back in Berlin, Carla worships golden boy Werner from afar. But nothing will work out the way they expect as their lives and the hopes of the world are smashed by the greatest and cruellest war in the historyof the human race.

Winter of the World is the second novel in the uniquely ambitious and deeply satisfying “Century” trilogy.

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The other book I've read is non-fiction called The M Room - Secret Listeners Who Bugged The Nazis. by Helen Fry. Amazon.com - The M Room

It is a good subject yet difficult to cover due to the vast volume of information that can now be accessed by the public (only since 1999) - some of it is rather technical orientated but it does a very good job at doing an overview that only whetted my appetite for more information.

Here is the tidbit from Amazon.com:

As seen on pbs and Channel 4 documentary "Spying on Hitler's Army"... This is the story of the German émigrés who fled Hitler’s regime and became secret listeners for British Intelligence during the Second World War. Behind the walls of the M Room (M for 'miked') they bugged the conversations of over 10,000 German PoWs, including 59 German Generals at Trent Park in North London. Providing a detailed, oft humorous, insight into life of the Generals in captivity, the book shows the farcical ‘stage-set’ in which they found themselves. But against this backdrop, the secret listeners eavesdropped on admission of war crimes and terrible atrocities against Russians, Poles and Jews; as well as details of an SS mutiny in a concentration camp in 1936, and Hitler’s human ‘stud farms’. This story places firmly on record just how much British and American Intelligence knew about Hitler's annihilation programme and how early. Why at the end of the war were these files not released for the war crimes trials to bring the perperators to justice? Was this one of the darkest secrets of the war? These transcripts, and thousands of others, of some of the most important Nazi secrets remained classified until 1999. During their clandestine work the secret listeners did not set eyes on a single German PoW, yet their work and the intelligence they gained was as significant for winning the war as Bletchley Park and cracking the Enigma Code. For over sixty years the listeners never spoke about their work, not even to their families. Many went to their grave bearing the secrets of the nation which had saved them from certain death.

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I still have about 200 pages to go on Winter of the World then I am off to read some of Minette Walters' books - a very popular British mystery writer I recently discovered. Her first book was The Ice House - a movie for British TV was made of it that starred Daniel Craig - he is excellent in it - even if the special effects of the victim are a tad too realistic! (fortunately, those scenes go by really fast!) - one nice thing, the film follows the book very closely! Nice for a change!

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