Monday, September 29, 2014

A World Elsewhere by Sigrid MacRae ****

A World Elsewhere by Sigrid MacRae and the recently reviewed The Underground Girls of Kabul are both non-fiction about strong women in extraordinarily difficult situations. The current book is about the author's mother Aimee living in Germany during World War II.

I want to start with the most obvious difficulty the author faced, which was echoed by an American officer when Aimee, along with her US passport, requested help at the end of the war,
Tell this woman that she and her kind are worse that the Nazis.
Aimee was an American heiress with resources and connections. She spent most of the war on her farm far away from the cities targeted by Allied bombers, and, as a WASP, away from the concentration camps. Certainly her family and six children suffered, so MacRae's challenge was to chronicle Aimee's tribulations without making her sound like a whiner. (see First World Problems) In this the author mostly successful, but it helps to forget everything you know about the holocaust.

One interesting incident reflected on  The Underground Girls of Kabul which examined the practice of dressing girls as boys in Afghanistan, asking how prevalent this practice was in other places.
Aimee had heard enough about Russians raping anything female to make her consider cutting the child's glorious hair and putting her in boy's clothes.

We need more history books that are not about politicians and generals, both that chronicle the lives of families, parents, and children. This is an excellent addition to the canon.

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway on August 6, 2014. I received my copy on August 13, 2014.

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