Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weekly Geeks - Memorial Day

With Memorial Day in the U.S. this coming Monday (well, it already came and went), I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the military. Either share your favorite book on war or movie on war and why. Provide a clip from the movie if you'd like or a passage from the book that shows us why you it's your favorite book or movie. Or do both. OR choose your own military theme, for example, if you have a relative or friend in the military and you would like to send them a video or a message of thanks, do that on your blog. OR do all three. The book and movie also don't have to be "patriotic" necessarily. For example, one of my favorite fictional books on war is Johnny, Get Your Gun by Dalton Trumbo.

I have never read any war books (fiction or non-fiction) on wars following the WWII. I don’t know the precise reason for it but I prefer to read about events that are finished and done with and are left to judge by history itself. Don’t get me wrong though, I have tremendous respect for our military people, who in my eyes are true, selfless heroes willing to put their lives on the line for a person like myself, who they don’t know, never will know and will not get anything back (other than regard) from him/her. I in general am not a huge fan of any war books at all but the ones I did read have stuck in my memory ever since and I definitely recommend them to anyone.

I read this book six years ago and I am still under its spell. It is an alternative history novel about the world in which the Nazis did win WWII and now rule every part of Europe. It was an amazing read and I didn’t want it to end. A great example of “What if” scenario which I am glad is only that, a scenario that never came to fruition.

Publishers synopsis:

Bad papers. That's how Peter's nightmare began. Living in contemporary Europe under Nazi domination -- more than fifty years after the truce among the North American Union, the Third Reich, and the Soviet Union -- Peter has struggled to make sense of the reign of terror that governs his world. Now, arrested for bearing a false identity, he is pulled full-force into a battle against Nazi oppression. The crusade for freedom that belonged to generations past is now Peter's legacy -- and his future depends not on running away, but on fighting back.
Escaping a Nazi prison camp and joining the Underground Home Army, Peter dedicates himself to breaking down the system that betrayed him. But by facing the evil at the heart of the Nazi political machine, Peter falls deeper into a web of intrigue and adventure that risks everything he holds dear -- in this life and for the sake of future generations.

This one is talking about events much, much older than WWII but nonetheless very bloody and cruel. I read this novel only once, in junior high (some eighteen years ago) but I remember having been absolutely mesmerized by it. Every time I read about a scene where a woman or a girl reads something with blushed cheeks and spark of excitement in her eyes, I see myself sitting in my room, right before Christmas Eve dinner not being able to tear myself away from Queen Margot despite the nagging of my mom and my dad that it was time to leave the house. The murder of Hugenots is described in such a visual manner that, being a teenager, I was at once appalled and fascinated.

Publisher’s synopsis:

Alexandre Dumas' novel Queen Margot, centers on the beautiful, proud, and willful Marguerite Valois, whose mother Catherine de Medici arranged Marguerite's marriage to the Huguenot leader Henry of Navarre in 1572. It is a marriage that pleases no one except the Queen Mother. Marguerite's brothers, who nicknamed her Margot and prize her with a love that borders on incest, are outraged. Just six days after the wedding French Catholics slaughter over 30,000 Huguenots on St. Bartholomew's Day. Both pawn and participant in this epic struggle, Margot is torn between family honor, her Huguenot lover, and her apostate husband she can no longer respect.

There it is, not strictly ballistic literature but exciting and one that conveys the brutalities of any war excellently.