Thursday, November 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Peace Tree

Twenty-nine years ago today... (caption transcribed below image)


A dove tree, symbolizing peace, was planted outside Reeves Library by Sister Noel on November 9, to mark the first anniversary of the Holocaust Institute and to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Kristallnacht, a night of Nazi terror in 1938 that foreshadowed Hitler's Final Solution. Looking on (l to r) are Sister Mary Ann Winters, Major Superior, Sisters of Charity, Seton Hill College President JoAnne Boyle, and Rhonda Morgan, president of the Seton Hill Student Government Association. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Reading Theme: WWII Fiction

In honor of Veterans’ Day, this month we are featuring World War II fiction. In this season of giving thanks, make sure to thank a veteran.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com


Guard of Honor by James Cozzens (Pulitzer Prize, 1949)
Balances a vast cast of intricately enmeshed characters as they react over the course of three tense days in September 1943 to a racial incident on a U.S. Army airbase in Florida. (Publisher’s summary)

The Tenth Man by Graham Greene
During World War II a group of men is held prisoner by the Germans, who determine that three of them must die. This is the story of how one of those men trades his wealth for his life—and lives to pay for his act in utterly unexpected ways. (Publisher’s summary)

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. (Publisher’s summary)

A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
An Italian-American major, part of American occupation forces in Sicily during World War II, tries to reform the town in his charge by being decent to people. His efforts are epitomized by his efforts to replace the 700-year-old bell melted down for bullets by the fascists. (Publisher’s summary)

Cold Harbour by Jack Higgins
As D-day approaches in Europe, the Allied command learns of a German staff conference to be held in Brittany at the Chateau de Voincourt, where the Nazis will discuss their Atlantic Wall defense strategy. Foreknowledge of these plans could mean the difference between success and failure for the Allied invasion, and as luck would have it, the chateau happens to be the home of an undercover French Resistance agent, beautiful Anne-Marie Trevaunce. (Publisher’s summary)

The Thin Red Line by James Jones
They are the men of C-for-Charlie company… infantrymen who are about to land, grim and white-faced, on an atoll in the Pacific called Guadalcanal. This is their story, a shatteringly realistic walk into hell and back.
In the days ahead, some will earn medals, others will do anything they can dream up to get evacuated before they land in a muddy grave. But they will all discover the thin red line that divides the sane from the mad—and the living from the dead—in this unforgettable portrait that captures for all time the total experience of men at war. (Publisher’s summary)

And Then We Heard the Thunder by John Oliver Killens
And Then We Heard the Thunder follows the dreams, lies, and anguish of black World War II GI Solomon Sanders during his tour of duty in Indochina, Australia, and the United States. Harvard-trained in the law and a political moderate, Sanders is married to an upper-middle-class black woman who pushes him to "make something of himself" by becoming an Army officer. Given his credentials, he appears a shoo-in for Officer Candidate School, yet he rejects the opportunity as the vestiges of Jim Crow racism, the strains of war, and his interactions with disgruntled black troops thrust him into black activism. Forced to make common cause with his race rather than with the Army, he and some fellow soldiers write a letter to American newspapers about the poor treatment of blacks in the military. For this outcry, they encounter harassment and further discrimination, resulting in a full-scale battle between black and white troops and a blood-curdling climax to this second novel by acclaimed African American author John Killens. (Publisher’s summary)

The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows an army platoon of foot soldiers who are fighting for the possession of the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing. (Publisher’s summary)

Tales of the South Pacific by James A Michener (Pulitzer Prize, 1948)
This collection of tales is set against the background of the South Pacific, the endless ocean, the coral specks called islands, the coconut palms, the reefs, the jungle and the full moon rising against the jungle. The tales are told by a young naval officer whose duties on an Admiral's staff take him up and down the islands. (Publisher’s summary)

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Booker Prize, 1992)
At the end of World War II, a mysterious, horribly burned man who claims not to remember his name, known only as the "English patient," lies near death in an Italian villa. He is cared for by a quietly desperate young nurse, Hana, herself a victim of the war. With her at the villa are Kip, a young Sikh bomb-disposal expert, and a shadowy thief with bandaged hands named Caravaggio. The key to the burned man's past may lie in his commonplace book, a volume of Herodotus, and its intimations of the sacred whirlwind of a great, mysterious, passionate, and tragically doomed love, which trapped two unsuspecting people, forever. (Publisher’s summary)

Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy
In a stunning tour-de-force, Marge Piercy has woven a tapestry of World War II, of six women and four men, who fought and died, worked and worried, and moved through the dizzying days of the war. A compelling chronicle of humans in conflict with inhuman events, Gone to Soldiers is an unforgettable reading experience and a stirring tribute to the remarkable survival of the human spirit. (Publisher’s summary)

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (National Book Award, 1973)
Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the 20th century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force. (Publisher’s summary)

The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva
A World War II spy novel about a beautiful Nazi secret agent and her pursuer, a former history professor turned spy catcher. The setting is England, the time just before the D-Day landings. (Publisher’s summary)

The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk

The novel that inspired the now-classic film The Caine Mutiny and the hit Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II. (Publisher’s summary)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November DVD Spotlight: War Films

Americans will honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces on Veterans Day, November 11.  With this in mind, Reeves Memorial Library is featuring war movies from our DVD collection all month long.  While many of these films, like Jarhead (2005) and the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker (2008), focus on American soldiers both on and off the battlefield, our spotlight collection will also include films from other countries, such as the classic French anti-war film Wooden Crosses (1932), and the claustrophobic German U-Boat epic Das Boot (1981).

Other featured titles include:

Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War opus, about an Army officer sent deep into the jungle to terminate a rogue colonel, remains the ultimate cinematic statement about the madness of war.

Battleground (1949)
One of the best World War II films to come out of classic Hollywood, Battleground follows a group of American soldiers through the Battle of the Bulge.

Grand Illusion (1937)
This somber classic, directed by the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, explores the conflict between duty and honor in a World War I prisoner-of war-camp.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg's influential, grittily realistic World War II film, about a small group of American soldiers on a rescue mission behind enemy lines, is both a grisly reminder of the horrors of war and a moving testament to the honor and courage of those who have given their lives fighting for freedom.

The Steel Helmet (1951)
Written and directed by Army veteran Samuel Fuller, this underseen Korean War film is perhaps the most startlingly unromantic and realistic American war movie of its era.

Three Kings (1999)
This darkly humorous Gulf War caper, about three American soldiers hunting for a cache of stolen gold, is formally daring, unabashedly political, and highly entertaining.

Stop by the library and check one out today.