“Charité at War”

“Charité at War”

I was particularly drawn to it because being a German-made production about the Second World War, it is rare for rather obvious reasons.

“An attempt to explain to the English reader….”

“An attempt to explain to the English reader….”

Last year here in London at my in-laws, I stumbled on a virtually pristine 1948 British published hardcover of Raymond Chandler's famous The Big Sleep. Yesterday, I found another 1940s hardcover; it's condition isn't quite as good, but it still possesses a mostly intact dust jacket. It's a 1944 book by a British academic: That [...]

Having Sat Out That War Is Not A Badge Of Celtic Honor (So Shut Up And Hope Everyone Else Forgets)

Having Sat Out That War Is Not A Badge Of Celtic Honor (So Shut Up And Hope Everyone Else Forgets)

A very serious post to start the week. At a U.K. family get-together over the weekend, I witnessed (yet again) an ugly Irish chauvinism and excuse-making for Ireland's "neutrality" during the Second World War. It had come up amidst chatter in "taking sides" during Saturday's Rugby World Cup match between Wales and England, which was [...]

Sneak Peek: Our Grandparents

Sneak Peek: Our Grandparents

If you are partly "Italian-American" (as I am), and that ancestry stems from you being a product of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. between about 1870-1914 (as I am), it's likely you grew up with a complicated relationship with Italy. My maternal great-grandparents were all Italian immigrants. My grandparents were born in the U.S. [...]

History Stuffed In A Drawer

Yesterday, at my in-laws, my wife and I went through old family photos and letters. We did so at the request of a distant relation. She believed some snaps of her close relatives might have been scattered in among them. She thought so because the stash had been held by my father-in-law's aunt. That aunt [...]

Normandy, 70 Years Ago

Normandy, 70 Years Ago

Seventy years ago today, the Allied liberation of Western Europe began. The first paratroops had jumped in shortly after midnight, and soldiers rushed ashore on the various Normandy beaches starting around 6:30 AM. On a stretch near a small town called Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, on what was codenamed "Omaha Beach," Captain Richard Merrill, 2nd Ranger Battalion, remembered: [...]

“A German bomb hit No. 257….”

We spent Bank Holiday Monday - which coincided, by chance, with U.S. Memorial Day - unexpectedly on the receiving end of impromptu family recollections of the Second World War in Britain. Over our London lunch table, my in-laws (aided by red wine) shared some childhood memories with us. We'd heard some before; but others were [...]