Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rachel's Children by Jean Rodenbough

Rachel's Children: Surviving the Second World WarRachel's Children: Surviving the Second World War by Jean Rodenbough

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rachel's Children is a must read for anyone interested in a unique perspective on World War II. Jean Rodenbough has gathered a number of reminiscences by people who were children during that traumatic time. She's included stories from all over the world, including such places as Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, Panama, Germany, and the United States. She's given her readers perspectives from the children of soldiers to the children of Mennonite farmers and she's done this with great respect and a wonderful style.

The detail in all of these essays makes them fascinating. Each incident related seems more poignant than the last. One that struck me as particularly emotional was the story of two people who were involved with a mission hospital in Kenya thirty years after the war was over. They were eating dinner together and talking about their experiences during the war. The woman, a Dutch nurse, spoke about the horrors of the bombing of her home town by the German Luftwaffe. The man, a German doctor, revealed that he had been a navigator in the Luftwaffe. They were now working together for a good cause, but what they had experienced during that war would always be there.

Rodenbough has also weaved her poetry in among the recollections. This interesting addition unifies the book and allows readers to understand what she was feeling as she worked on the editing. I enjoyed that approach.

Any author writing a story from the World War II era would gain from reading this book. And any reader interested in world history would enjoy it.

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