Friday, November 22, 2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

This is a brilliant, heart-breaking book. Elizabeth Wein puts an amazing amount of research into her books, truths (dare I say "verity") which takes an extremely well-written fictional tale and expands it into an accurate lesson in history. Like Mrs Morgan, my favorite history teacher in high school, Wein tells a tale of suspense, grief, loss, terror, and heroics, all the while really teaching a lesson in history. You read, not realizing that even the way prisoners are addressed by their numbers, has been researched for accuracy. You learn.

Stories of the Holocaust have become a dime a dozen, but there always is a new generation to learn about man's inhumanity to man in an effort to prevent a recurrence. This story focuses on one particular concentration camp, filled not primarily with those of the Jewish faith, but with women who were political prisoners, resisters,etc. The others who died in concentration camps and the purges are often overlooked. No one should have to die in such circumstances; no one who has should be overlooked. The women in Rose's camp, the stories of the Rabbits, were all a part of our cumulative world history, and it is good that Wein has chosen to retell, re-remember, their names, their story. (I didn't say it's an easy tale, but it is good to remember, to never forget.)

Once again, the bit after the book, detailing the history and research was just as fascinating as the book itself.

Though I think this book is extremely good, it didn't engage my heartstrings the way Code Name Verity did. This book engaged my brain, my consciousness; Verity (and Maddie and Julie) won my soul.

I look forward to more books by Ms Wein.