LLI is privileged to have three Book Clubs in three locations: at Edison State College, Punta Gorda Campus (classroom D107), in Englewood at the Englewood Ford Dealership Conference Room (1908 South McCall Road), and in Arcadia at the DeSoto County Library. All groups meet at 1:00 p. m. on the designated date to discuss each of the books.
All three Book Clubs are open to the public at no charge, however, membership in FRIENDS is appreciated. To attend, please contact the LLI office either by phone (941-637-3533) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
THE LIST OF BOOKS TO BE DISCUSSED THIS WINTER ARE:
The Liberators by Michael Hirsh
Publication Date: March 16, 2010
At last, the everyday fighting men who were the first Americans to know the full and horrifying truth about the Holocaust share their astonishing stories. Rich with powerful never-before-published details from the author’s interviews with more than 150 U.S. soldiers who liberated the Nazi death camps, The Liberators is an essential addition to the literature of World War II—and a stirring testament to Allied courage in the face of inconceivable atrocities.
Taking us from the beginnings of the liberators’ final march across Germany to V-E Day and beyond, Michael Hirsh allows us to walk in their footsteps, experiencing the journey as they themselves experienced it. But this book is more than just an in-depth account of the liberation. It reveals how profoundly these young men were affected by what they saw—the unbelievable horror and pathos they felt upon seeing “stacks of bodies like cordwood” and “skeletonlike survivors” in camp after camp. That life-altering experience has stayed with them to this very day. It’s been well over half a century since the end of World War II, and they still haven’t forgotten what the camps looked like, how they smelled, what the inmates looked like, and how it made them feel. Many of the liberators suffer from what’s now called post-traumatic stress disorder and still experience Holocaust-related nightmares.
Here we meet the brave souls who—now in their eighties and nineties—have chosen at last to share their stories. Corporal Forrest Robinson saw masses of dead bodies at Nordhausen and was so horrified that he lost his memory for the next two weeks. Melvin Waters, a 4-F volunteer civilian ambulance driver, recalls that a woman at Bergen-Belsen “fought us like a cat because she thought we were taking her to the crematory.” Private Don Timmer used his high school German to interpret for General Dwight Eisenhower during the supreme Allied commander’s visit to Ohrdruf, the first camp liberated by the Americans. And Phyllis Lamont Law, an army nurse at Mauthausen-Gusen, recalls the shock and, ultimately, “the hope” that “you can save a few.”
Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva
Over the course of his brilliant career, Daniel Silva has established himself as one of our premier thriller authors and that’s thanks to Gabriel Allon, his enigmatic hero. Gabriel is a man with a deep appreciation for all things beautiful, but he is also an angel of vengeance who will stop at nothing to see justice done.
A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith
A Land Remembered focuses on the fictional story of the MacIveys, who migrated from Georgia into Florida in the mid-19th century. After settling, this family struggles to survive in the harsh environment. First they scratch a living from the land and then learn to round up wild cattle and drive them to Punta Rassa to ship to Cuba. Over three generations, they amass more holdings and money, and move further from their connection to the native, untamed land. (403 pages)
Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure.
The narrator of Caleb’s Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island’s glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative, secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia’s minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the island’s strongest pawaaw, against whose ritual magic he must test his own beliefs.
One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. Bethia, also in Cambridge at the behest of her imperious elder brother, finds herself enmeshed in Caleb’s fate as he crosses between cultures.
Like Brooks’s beloved narrator Anna in Year of Wonders, Bethia proves an emotionally irresistible guide to the wilds of Martha’s Vineyard and the intimate spaces of the human heart. Evocative and utterly absorbing, Caleb’s Crossing further establishes Brooks’s place as one of our most acclaimed novelists. (306 pages)
Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
Eminent Cornell astronomer and bestselling author Sagan debunks the paranormal and the unexplained in a study that will reassure hardcore skeptics but may leave others unsatisfied. To him, purported UFO encounters and alien abductions are products of gullibility, hallucination, misidentification, hoax and therapists’ pressure; some alleged encounters, he suggests, may screen memories of sexual abuse. He labels as hoaxes the crop circles, complex pictograms that appear in southern England’s wheat and barley fields, and he dismisses as a natural formation the Sphinx-like humanoid face incised on a mesa on Mars, first photographed by a Viking orbiter spacecraft in 1976 and considered by some scientists to be the engineered artifact of an alien civilization. In a passionate plea for scientific literacy, Sagan deftly debunks the myth of Atlantis, Filipino psychic surgeons and mediums such as J.Z. Knight, who claims to be in touch with a 35,000-year-old entity called Ramtha. He also brands as superstition ghosts, angels, fairies, demons, astrology, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and religious apparitions.
(approx. 435 pages)
|Punta Gorda Club Dates:|
|Monday, January 14||1:00 PM||Room D-107||The Liberators|
|Monday, February 11||1:00 PM||Room D-107||Portrait of a Spy|
|Monday, March 11||1:00 PM||Room D-107||Caleb’s Crossing|
|Monday, April 8||1:00 PM||Room D-107||Demon-Haunted World|
|Englewood Club Dates:|
|Tuesday, January 8||1:00 PM||The Liberators|
|Tuesday, February 5||1:00 PM||A Land Remembered|
|Tuesday, March 5||1:00 PM||Caleb’s Crossing|
|Tuesday, April 2||1:00 PM||Demon-Haunted World|
|Arcadia Club Dates:|
|TBD||Portrait of a Spy|