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Bewildering Stories

A Shopping List: Amazing Memoirs

Danielle L. Parker

Bewildering Stories has no official “holday” issues, but we are fond of the practical. As the winter or summer solstice approaches, depending on your hemisphere, various religions and cultures hold festivals, which often include gift-giving. And books are always a dependable choice.

Bewildering Press has permanent thumbnails and links on our home page, and those works are our standing recommendations. This list suggests other books for various tastes. They will give your friends and relatives accounts of great adventure or high tragedy.

Andy Adams, The Log of a Cowboy — Young Adams wrote his 1882 memoir of one of the last true cattle drives in the West. A plain and authentic view of the real life of cowboys. I own an out-of-print copy, but the book has thankfully been re-issued.

Gottlob Herbert Biedermann, In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier’s Memoir of the Eastern Front (Modern War Stories) — One of the most engrossing stories of a down and dirty war, and of the close bonds of a soldier for his brothers in battle, ever written. Wherever Biedermann is now, he’s with his comrades in arms, and that’s where he would want to be even if it were Hell.

Elizabeth Corey, Bachelor Bess: the Homesteading Letters of Elizabeth Corey, 1909-1918 — I’m partial to spunky spinsters, and Bachelor Bess was one of the bravest. Surviving winters in the Nordic hello of South Dakota, Bess tells of wild cowboys forcing “shotgun weddings” on females found alone on the prairies. She went on to teach school in another frontier: Alaska. A wonderful glimpse of pioneer history from a brave lady.

Bernal Diaz, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico — Eyewitness history at its most riveting. Few accounts top Diaz’s recording of the instant the conquistadors first glimpsed the Aztec capital. Whatever else you think, read it too for one of the most amazing military leaders in history: Cortez. The faults of the conquistadors may be on full display, but their amazing courage and endurance is, too.

John Wiernicki, War in the Shadow of Auschwitz: Memoirs of a Polish Resistance Fighter and Survivor of the Death Camps — The essential innocence and hopeful spirit of the young narrator come through vividly. His story is a reminder of how complex the face of evil can be. Wiernicki, for example, is helped by the very German who carried the poison gas canisters to camp. In spite of his harrowing experience, Wiernicki survived... and came to America. A book of hope and kindness as well as of harrowing suffering. In addition, an important historical record of the death camps from a non-Jew.

Copyright © 2013 by Danielle L. Parker

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