One Book, One Chicago Fall 2012
With a focus on censorship and access to information, from ancient times to Nazi Germany to today’s digital age, these recommended titles will shed light on the power of words.
Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times
By Eyal Press
Press discusses four stories in which individuals show the strength to act on their own conviction instead of following what was expected of them: A Swiss police officer refuses to send Jewish refugees back to Nazi Germany; a Serb saves the lives of Croats during the 1990s war; an Israeli soldier questions serving in occupied settlements; and a financial adviser uncovers a Ponzi scheme and becomes a whistleblower.
Books on Fire: The Destruction of Libraries Throughout History
By Lucien X. Polastron, translated by Jon E. Graham
Polastron’s writings cover the history and causes of destroyed libraries—from politics and natural disasters to acts of theft and property destruction—and their effect on written history and culture. Extensive research and documentation spans the 1358 B.C. destruction of the libraries of Thebes to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and considers the role of electronic books and other non-print sources on the current traditions of learning and culture.
Blitzkrieg and Books: British and European Libraries as Casualties of World War II
By Hilda Uren Stubbings
During the war, an estimated 57 percent of the pre-war European book stock was destroyed. This stirring history tells of the librarians who quietly preserved national treasures of art, books and ancient manuscripts in various European libraries; of the post-war effort to find and return Nazi-confiscated books; and of the role the United States played as trustee of the Jewish materials whose owners could not be found.
Education in Nazi Germany
By Lisa Pine
To secure the future posterity of the Third Reich, educational policies, curriculum, elite schools and youth groups were instrumental to ensuring citizen loyalty and patriotism. Pine provides a thought-provoking analysis of Nazi educational policy in its historical context.
Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior
This resource book for educators and students is enlightening for citizen readers as well, providing an interdisciplinary approach to citizenship education. The readings and activities explore the consequences of discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism during the 1930s and ’40s, investigating the forces that undermined democracy in Germany and ultimately led to the Holocaust.
Library: An Unquiet History
By Matthew Battles
Former Harvard librarian Battles explores the library’s changing role in history and the ongoing debate about what libraries should collect. From ancient Alexandria to the 21st century, despite their destruction due to either natural or political forces, libraries, Battles argues, have been necessary to the survival of cultures throughout history.
Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventure of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books
By Aaron Lansky
As an older Jewish generation passed, their books, which survived both Nazi and communist regimes, were often thrown away by family members who were unable to read the language. Lansky began a quest in the early 1980s to save as many of these works as possible, eventually recovering over a million volumes and founding The Yiddish Book Center. A literature on the verge of extinction was recovered, and the center has become the premier supplier of Yiddish collections throughout the world.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
By William L. Shirer
This definitive history of the Third Reich is based on confidential Nazi documents, eyewitness testimony and personal observation. Shirer, a seasoned foreign correspondent, provides the story of the rise of Nazi Germany and its subsequent demise through many of its most frightening moments.
On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done
By Cass R. Sunstein
In this short work, Sunstein raises interesting questions about how our decisions are influenced by others’ opinions. In the digital age, rumors spread in an instant and corrections or retractions are very difficult to accept once posted. He addresses the issue of what motivates rumor propagators, both malicious and altruistic.
Travels in the Reich, 1933-1945: Foreign Authors Report from Germany
Edited by Oliver Lubrich, translated by Kenneth Northcott, Sonia Wichman and Dean Krouk
This collection of daily observations by Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, William Shirer and W.E.B. DuBois, among others, is an absorbing account of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. The recollections are both definitive and disturbing.
A Universal History of the Destruction of Books from Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq
By Fernando Báez, translated by Alfred MacAdam
Beginning with ancient Mesopotamia and concluding in 2003 Iraq, Báez offers a comprehensive and fascinating history of the attempted suppression of freedom through book destruction, even including a chapter on fictional classics that reference book bans and burning, from Don Quixote and Doctor Faustus to The Time Machine and Fahrenheit 451. (Of special interest is the world map that has the author’s Ten Worst Moments in the History of Books.)
The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the Extraordinary Power of Rumors
By Nicholas DiFonzo
Psychologist DiFonzo discusses why rumors are spread, why they are believed and their effect on behavior, arguing that rumors come from the human motivation to make sense of the world but the result is often destructive and divisive. Examples cited offer a fresh perspective on how informal communication affords a look into individual and group dynamics.
Women of the World: The Great Foreign Correspondents
By Julia Edwards
Edwards, a seasoned reporter who has worked in 100 countries, writes of the professional lives of these courageous foreign correspondents. Among those who covered World War II are LIFE photographer Margaret Bourke-White, Chicago Daily News reporter Helen Kirkpatrick and the Chicago Tribune head of the Berlin Bureau, Sigrid Schultz, who as an interpreter hired in 1919 witnessed the beginnings of the Nazi movement and Hitler’s rise to power. (After a confrontation with Goering, she so infuriated him that he dubbed her “that dragon from Chicago.”)
Unless otherwise noted, these resources are available on all Chicago Public Library computers or on non-Library computers with your Chicago Public Library card.
“Refugees Tell of Terrors at Hands of Nazis: Say German Censors Cloak Violence”
Chicago Daily Tribune, March 20, 1933, p. 1
“Getting the Real News Difficult Job in Germany: Propaganda, Spy Mania Barrier to Writers”
By Taylor Edmond
Chicago Daily Tribune, April 9, 1933, p. 5
“Berlin Betting Ten to One on Victory in May: Sigrid Schultz Home with Some Revelations”
By William Fulton
Chicago Daily Tribune, February 28, 1941, p. 5
“Invisible Censor in Berlin Haunts Newspaper: U.S. Reporters Cramped by Word ‘Verboten’”
By E.R. Noderer
Chicago Daily Tribune, March 16, 1941, p. c7
“Tribune Survey Bares Full Horror of German Atrocities: Millions Die; Yank Captives Starved, Killed”
Chicago Daily Tribune, April 25, 1945, p. 1
“How Your News Is Censored”
By Joe A. Morris
Saturday Evening Post v. 213, i. 27 (1941)
“Is the Google World a Better Place?”
By José Vericat
Journal of International Affairs v. 64, i. 1 (2010)
Articles and Lesson Plans
These articles and lesson plans are available online from our partners at Facing History and Ourselves:
- “A Matter of Obedience?” (Holocaust and Human Behavior)
- “Kristallnacht: Decision-Making in Times of Injustice”
- “The Nazis in Power: Discrimination, Obedience and Opportunism”
- “Choosing to Rescue” (Holocaust and Human Behavior)
These wonderful titles explore the capacity for both war and justice throughout history.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Author Juliet Ashton asks the people of Guernsey about life under German occupation and is rewarded with a series of letters from the unassuming residents as they pour out their stories of life under siege.
The History of Love
By Nicole Krauss
Leo Gursky, an aging Polish refugee, lives utterly alone in his New York City apartment. Unbeknownst to him, the novel he wrote years before has been published in Chile by another man. When young Alma Singer is called upon to translate the book into English, their fates are tied together in this haunting novel of love and loss.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
By Jamie Ford
In Seattle during World War II, Chinese American teenager Henry Lee must come to terms with his family’s anti-Japanese sentiment when his girlfriend, Keiko, and her family are sent to an internment camp for the duration of the war.
The Kitchen House
By Kathleen Grissom
When 7-year-old Lavinia is orphaned during her Irish family’s journey to become indentured servants in America, she is taken in by Belle, the enslaved daughter of a Virginia plantation owner. From their jobs in the kitchen house, she and Belle face the realities of slavery from very different perspectives.
The Lazarus Project
By Aleksander Hemon
Vladimir Brik, a Bosnian American writer living in Chicago, wins a grant to travel to Eastern Europe in search of material for the book he has been writing. His project concerns the true story of Lazarus Averbuch, a young Jewish immigrant in 1908 Chicago who was shot and killed by chief of police George Shippy for attempting to deliver a letter.
People of the Book
By Geraldine Brooks
When the Sarajevo Haggadah is uncovered after being hidden to protect it from bombing, Australian book conservator Hanna Heath is called upon to assess it for the United Nations. Using tiny clues trapped within its pages—a single hair, a salt crystal, an insect wing—she traces its journey from the Middle Ages to the present day.
By Tatiana de Rosnay
Journalist Polly Stone discovers that her Parisian apartment was once the home of a Jewish family arrested by French police and sent to Auschwitz. Her search to find the story of Sarah, the family’s young daughter and only survivor, leads readers on a harrowing journey through this dark period of French history.
By Irene Nemirovsky
Two unfinished pieces of writing from acclaimed pre-World War II author Nemirovsky were discovered after her death at Auschwitz. The stories, written mere months before her death, tell of a France overrun by Nazis, and the way that ordinary people both fled from and unhappily coexisted with the occupying forces.
By Sandra Dallas
Tiny Tallgrass, Colo., is unexpectedly chosen to be the site of a Japanese internment camp for the duration of World War II. When a young girl is murdered, most of the townsfolk look to the camps for blame, but 13-year-old Rennie Stroud stands up for the newcomers.
The Wild Girl: The Notebooks of Ned Giles, 1932
By Jim Fergus
In 1999 a picture of a young Apache girl lying in a Mexican jail cell is offered for sale by aging photographer Ned Giles. When asked for the story of the picture he begins to reminisce about his 1932 adventure with the Great Apache Expedition to rescue a kidnapped boy, and the unlikely relationship he struck up with the fierce Apache girl captured to use as ransom.
Reads For Teens
These remarkable titles, for readers ages 12 and up, also shed light on dark times in history and the brilliance of the human spirit.
Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures from the Archives of the Anne Frank House
By Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol
These seldom-seen photographs and perspectives lend a very personal feel to the story of one of the most well-known victims of the Holocaust.
By Paul Dowswell
Taken in by a German family after his parents die in the Soviet invasion of Poland, Peter attempts to assimilate to his new culture but is very soon thrust into a gripping race to freedom and safety with a pretty classmate.
Between Shades of Gray
By Ruta Sepetys
Readers will be deeply moved by the harrowing tale of Lina, a 15-year-old Lithuanian artist, and the imprisonment of her family and fellow countrymen in Russia under Stalin’s brutal reign.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
By John Boyne
While 9-year-old Bruno is exploring his new home, he discovers a friendship that will change him forever.
By Jane Yolen
This heartwarming and heartbreaking story draws inspiration from a classic folk character, creating a secretive romance with a powerful connection to the horrors of the Holocaust.
Children of the Slaughter
By Ted Gottfried
This look at the untold ways the Holocaust affected young people is a call for “the children of today [to] safeguard the children of tomorrow.”
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow
By Susan Campbell Bartoletti
This gripping account of the Hitler Youth movement comprises first-person reflections from some of the millions who were members, as well as some of the brave few who were not.
How I Live Now
By Meg Rosoff
After Daisy, an American teen, sets off for rural England, war breaks out and she finds herself the sole protector of her young cousin, doing whatever it takes to stay alive through the enemy occupation.
Is It Night or Day?
By Fern Schumer Chapman
In 1938, 12-year-old Edith is sent away from her Jewish parents in Germany to the South Side of Chicago where she must adjust to a new family, language, culture and loss.
Keturah and Lord Death
By Martine Leavitt
When Lord Death comes for the wily and beautiful Keturah, her belief in a love beyond death charms him into giving her one more day of life to find her true love.
Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History
Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
By Art Spiegelman
The impact of the Holocaust on those who survived and on their future generations is powerfully and uniquely explored in these revolutionary graphic novels.
By Jerry Spinelli
Set in Warsaw during World War II, this book introduces a dreamy and good-hearted orphan named Misha who is equipped with unique survival skills that help him live through horrific events.
Number the Stars
By Lois Lowry
This classic Newbery-winning novel set during the German occupation of Denmark tells of Annemarie and her family’s courage in sheltering a young Jewish friend from the Nazis.
By Antonia Michaelis
Set in modern-day Poland, this is an affecting story of intolerance, mystery, violence and love.
Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion and Betrayal
By Mal Peet
Love, war and desperation consume the world in which Tamar, Marijke and Dart live, leaving one betrayed, one dead and one a murderer.