At the Library: Military writing featured
Captiva Memorial Library’s Afternoon Sojourns, a series of artist talks, music, independent and foreign films, lectures, author presentations and book signings, is a hit in Captiva (open to the public, free of charge, seating subject to room capacity – no reserve seating).
Support for Captiva Memorial Library’s Afternoon Sojourns is provided by the Lee County Library System, the Captiva Memorial Library Board and the Captiva Civic Association.
Wednesday, March 25
“Throwing the Bolt”
by Stuart Symington, Jr.
“Stuart Symington is one of the fast-diminishing number of veterans of service in the U.S. military in World War II, which began almost 75 years ago. Toward the end of the war, he served overseas as an Army engineer in the European and Pacific Theaters of Operation. In this memoir, he recalls the mundane and occasionally bizarre experiences of an enlisted man at the lowest rung of the ladder of military responsibility. He supplements his narrative with evocative short stories, and the recollections of fellow veterans. Through telling it like it was, he hopes to add to popular understanding of just what it was like to be one of the unsung millions of Americans who served their country during the war. Grateful to have survived, he offers this memoir as homage to the memory of those who did not return, and their families.” *
World War II buffs will want to check out these titles
“Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership”
by Susan Butler
“Making use of previously classified materials from the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History, and the Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, as well as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and three hundred hot war messages between Roosevelt and Stalin, Butler tells the story of how the leader of the capitalist world and the leader of the Communist world became more than allies of convenience during World War II. Butler reassess in-depth how the two men became partners, how they shared the same outlook for the postwar world, and how they formed an uneasy but deep friendship, shaping the world’s political stage from the war to the decades leading up to and into the new century.
‘Roosevelt and Stalin’ tells of the first face-to-face meetings of the two leaders over four days in December 1943 at Tehran, in which the Allies focused on the next phases of the war against the Axis powers in Europe and Asia; of Stalin’s agreement to launch another major offensive on the eastern front; and of his agreement to declare war against Japan following the Allied victory over Germany. Butler writes of the weeklong meeting at Yalta in February of 1945, two months before Roosevelt’s death, where the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany was agreed on and postwar Europe was reorganized, and where Stalin agreed to participate in Roosevelt’s vision of the United Nations. The book makes clear that Roosevelt worked hard to win Stalin over, pursuing the Russian leader, always holding out the promise that Roosevelt’s own ideas were the best bet for the future peace and security of Russia; however, Stalin was not at all sure that Roosevelt’s concept of a world organization, even with police powers, would be enough to keep Germany from starting a third world war, but we see how Stalin’s view of Roosevelt evolved, how he began to see FDR as the key to a peaceful world.
Butler’s book is the first to show how FDR pushed Stalin to reinstate religion in the Soviet Union, which he did in 1943; how J. Edgar Hoover derailed the U.S.-planned establishment of an OSS intelligence mission in Moscow and a Soviet counterpart in America before the 1944 election; and that Roosevelt had wanted to involve Stalin in the testing of the atomic bomb at Alamogardo, New Mexico. We see how Roosevelt’s death deeply affected Stalin. Averell Harriman, American ambassador to the Soviet Union, reported that the Russian premier was “more disturbed than I had ever seen him,” and said to Harriman, “President Roosevelt has died but his cause must live on. We shall support President Truman with all our forces and all our will.” And the author explores how Churchill’s-and Truman’s-mutual mistrust and provocation of Stalin resulted in the Cold War. ” *
“A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France”
by Miranda Richmond Mouillot
“In 1948, after surviving World War II by escaping Nazi-occupied France for refugee camps in Switzerland, the author’s grandparents, Anna and Armand, bought an old stone house in a remote, picturesque village in the south of France. Five years later, Anna packed her bags and walked out on Armand, taking the typewriter and their children. Aside from one brief encounter, the two never saw or spoke to each other again, never remarried, and never revealed what had divided them forever.
‘A Fifty-Year Silence’ is the deeply involving account of Miranda Richmond Mouillot’s journey to find out what happened between her grandmother, a physician, and her grandfather, an interpreter at the Nuremberg trials, who refused to utter his wife’s name aloud after she left him. To discover the roots of their embittered and entrenched silence, Miranda abandons her plans for the future and moves to their stone house, now a crumbling ruin; immerses herself in letters, archival materials, and secondary sources; and teases stories out of her reticent, and declining, grandparents. As she reconstructs how Anna and Armand braved overwhelming odds and how the knowledge her grandfather acquired at Nuremberg destroyed their relationship, Miranda wrestles with the legacy of trauma, the burden of history, and the complexities of memory. She also finds herself learning how not only to survive but to thrive making a home in the village and falling in love.
With warmth, humor, and rich, evocative details that bring her grandparents’ outsize characters and their daily struggles vividly to life, ‘A Fifty-Year Silence’ is a heartbreaking, uplifting love story spanning two continents and three generations.” *
* Book jacket/publisher description
-Senior Librarian Ann Bradley is branch manager Captiva Memorial Library