|I read a terrific nonfiction book last week called In Defiance of Hitler: The Secret Mission of Varian Fry. It’s by Carla Killough McClafferty, and it’s published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Set in pre-WWII France, Varian Fry is an American given the task of helping some specific refugees (mostly artists targeted by Hitler’s regime) escape France to get to some democratic nation.
This was an interesting book, and I learned a lot. For instance, "having your papers in order" is a LOT more complex than I ever realized. And the complete randomness of being a Jew or a member of some other tareted population in that time period. It would be something like if I went into a library today, and instead of loaning me books, the librarian decided to arrest me, or worse. And I never knew which kind of librarian I’d get–one who was the gatekeeper of the the best treasure and kept sharing it with me, or one who said I not only didn’t deserve books, but I didn’t deserve to live, either.
Fry is eminently admirable, though not necessarily likable. A real person. If you’re interested in learning more about conditions in Europe leading up to WWII, or if you just want to broaden your reading horizons (or those of your teen kids or students) with some excellent nonfiction, check out this book!
Check out Anastasia Suen’s Nonfiction Monday roundup here.