Books I Loved Before I Blogged #2

Books I Loved Before I Blogged
(A semi-regular feature in which I share books that I loved before I was a blogger)

Today I’m sharing 2 nonfiction works. They are both heavy books with difficult subject matter.

I’ve realized that I tend to gravitate towards these kind of books. Why? I don’t know! I’m a glutton for punishing reads? What I do know is that I learned a lot from both of these books:

A remarkable piece of forgotten history— the never-before-told story of Americans lured to Soviet Russia by the promise of jobs and better lives, only to meet tragic ends

In 1934, a photograph was taken of a baseball team. These two rows of young men look like any group of American ballplayers, except perhaps for the Russian lettering on their jerseys. The players have left their homeland and the Great Depression in search of a better life in Stalinist Russia, but instead they will meet tragic and, until now, forgotten fates. Within four years, most of them will be arrested alongside untold numbers of other Americans. Some will be executed. Others will be sent to “corrective labor” camps where they will be worked to death. This book is the story of lives—the forsaken who died and those who survived.

Based on groundbreaking research, The Forsaken is the story of Americans whose dreams were shattered and lives lost in Stalinist Russia.

Hunting Eichmann is the first complete narrative of a relentless 
and harrowing international manhunt.

When the Allies stormed Berlin in the last days of the Third Reich, Adolf Eichmann shed his SS uniform and vanished. Following his escape from two American POW camps, his retreat into the mountains and out of Europe, and his path to an anonymous life in Buenos Aires, his pursuers are a bulldog West German prosecutor, a blind Argentinean Jew and his beautiful daughter, and a budding, ragtag spy agency called the Mossad, whose operatives have their own scores to settle (and whose rare surveillance photographs are published here for the first time). The capture of Eichmann and the efforts by Israeli agents to secret him out of Argentina to stand trial is the stunning conclusion to this thrilling historical account, told with the kind of pulse-pounding detail that rivals anything you’d find in great spy fiction. 

Books I Loved Before I Blogged #1

Until I started this blog I had almost no one to talk books with. After I read something amazing I’d walk around feeling like I was going to explode unless I SHARED ALL MY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK.

Sometimes I couldn’t hold it in, I would start talking about the latest great book to someone, anyone. I had to say the words out loud. I had to beg someone to PLEASE PLEASE OH GOD PLEASE READ THIS IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE I SWEAR!

The reaction I usually received. Hmph.

I’ve only been blogging for a few months. I’ve been reading for decades. Can you even imagine how many books I’ve read and loved? Hundreds. Can you imagine all the feelings I’ve had to stuff down so that I didn’t bore my family members and friends to death? Hundreds more.

No more! 

Now, thanks to my blog I can talk about all the books I want! Mwahahaha! Is anyone reading this? I don’t know! But I do know this: If someone is reading this I won’t have to see their eyes glazing over or their fingertips drumming the nearest table top. If someone is here, they are here to read about BOOKS! 
Blessings upon you blogosphere. 
Thank you for listening!

I’m starting a regular feature to pimp some books that I loved before I was a blogger. Perhaps a semi-regular feature? Maybe a whenever I feel like it sort of feature. Maybe just this one post. We’ll see. Be patient with me people, I’m a newbie.

Books I Loved Before I Blogged #1

Mao’s Great Famine 
The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe
by Frank Dikotter
I’ll never forget this book for as long as I live.

“Between 1958 and 1962, China descended into hell. Mao Zedong threw his country into a frenzy with the Great Leap Forward, an attempt to catch up to and overtake Britain in less than 15 years The experiment ended in the greatest catastrophe the country had ever known, destroying tens of millions of lives.” So opens Frank Dikötter’s riveting, magnificently detailed chronicle of an era in Chinese history much speculated about but never before fully documented because access to Communist Party archives has long been restricted to all but the most trusted historians. A new archive law has opened up thousands of central and provincial documents that “fundamentally change the way one can study the Maoist era.” Dikötter makes clear, as nobody has before, that far from being the program that would lift the country among the world’s superpowers and prove the power of Communism, as Mao imagined, the Great Leap Forward transformed the country in the other direction. It became the site not only of “one of the most deadly mass killings of human history,”–at least 45 million people were worked, starved, or beaten to death–but also of “the greatest demolition of real estate in human history,” as up to one-third of all housing was turned into rubble). The experiment was a catastrophe for the natural world as well, as the land was savaged in the maniacal pursuit of steel and other industrial accomplishments. In a powerful mesghing of exhaustive research in Chinese archives and narrative drive, Dikötter for the first time links up what happened in the corridors of power-the vicious backstabbing and bullying tactics that took place among party leaders-with the everyday experiences of ordinary people, giving voice to the dead and disenfranchised. His magisterial account recasts the history of the People’s Republic of China.