The Upstander: How Surviving the Holocaust Sparked Max Glauben’s Mission to Dismantle Hate Book Review

More than seventy years after the Holocaust, the number of survivors is fading. The youngest of them, who were children at the end of World War II, are approaching the century-old mark.

Max Glauben is one of these survivors. His story is told in the 2021 book, The Upstander: How Surviving the Holocaust Sparked Max Glauben’s Mission to Dismantle Hate. Written by Jori Epstein with a foreword by Michael Berenbaum, they tell Glauben’s story in startling detail. Born to a middle-class Jewish family in Warsaw, his life was upended by the slow noose that was being pulled around Europe’s Jews.

Forced into the Warsaw Ghetto with his family, he was one of the few people who was able to slip in and out of the ghetto without being noticed. When the war finally ended in 1945, Max had lost his parents, his brother, and other relations. Relocating to the United States, he married and had his own family, but never spoke of his experiences during the war.

After decades of being silent, Max reached a crossroads. He could either stay on the path he was on. Or, he could tell his story, release his pain, and speak for the millions who were murdered.

This book is very good. The character arc from an ordinary young man to a boy who had to grow up quickly and finally to an adult with a past he could not speak of was the narrative hook I needed.

The question that the reader is asked is what they can do. In doing so, Max’s story becomes ours. Though we who are reading the book were not there with him, we bear witness to his experience. By doing so, we remember those who were killed and ensure that the generations coming up will continue to tell their stories.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Mansfield Park Character Review: Mr. Rushworth

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the novel Mansfield Park. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or watched any of the adaptations. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When we fall in love, we want to believe that the person we love feels the same way. But as much as we may wish it, that is not always the case. In Mansfield Park, the reader is not given a lot of information about Mr. Rushworth. On paper, his appeal to Maria Bertram is easy to see. He comes from a wealthy and respectable family. He would give her the name and status that marriage within that world can bestow. Mr. Rushworth can also feed his male ego, thinking that he has won the heart of one of the local beauties of the season.

Oh, how wrong he is. The kindest way to describe him is that he is not the brightest bulb in the box. Almost blind to the flirtation between his fiance and Henry Crawford, there is one moment while he is playing host at Southerton (his family estate) when he seems to sense that something is up. But instead of listening to his instinct, he ignores it. Like an audience member who is fooled by the magician on stage, he is led to trust that nothing is wrong when Henry intentionally sits with his soon-to-be sister-in-law, Julia. During the preparation for the family theatrical, Mr. Rushworth is too caught up in learning his lines to see that his marriage will not be a happy one.

In the end, his status as a married man does not last long. Maria runs off with Henry, leaving her husband and her family in disgrace. Mr. Rushworth becomes a single man once again, searching for a spouse and a mother of his future children.

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Mr. Rushworth is one of those characters who you want to shake and hope that he wakes up from the dream world he lives in. But as much we would want him to see the truth, we can’t make him until he learns the hard way.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Women of the Movement Review

There is no stronger love than a mother for their child. There is also no stronger force when said mother believes that her child has been wronged.

Women of the Movement is a six-episode miniseries that aired on ABC before moving to Hulu. It tells the story of the murder of Emmett Till (Cedric Joe) in 1955 and his mother’s, Mamie Till (Adrienne Warren) fight for justice. In August of that year, Emmet is spending part of his vacation with family in Mississippi. Raised in Chicago, he is unaware of the unofficial rules of the Jim Crow South. He supposedly makes a lewd comment at a White woman. Two days later, Emmet is taken in the middle of the night, tortured, and killed.

Upon hearing that her son (and only child) will be returning home in a box, Mamie funnels her grief and anger into ensuring that the men who slaughtered Emmett will spend the rest of their days in prison.

OMG. I was hooked the entire time. At its heart, it is a love story between a parent and their child. If Mamie had laid in bed the entire time, relying on food, alcohol, or another outside source to dull her sorrow, it would be completely understood. Instead, she stood up for Emmet. In doing so, she opened another door to the Civil Rights movement and broke the glass ceiling for both women and Americans of color.

The thing that struck me was that Till was not the first and is certainly not the last young man killed for their skin color. It is almost seventy years since this boy’s life was taken. There is no doubt that the hard work of multiple generations has paid off. But there is still a long road ahead of us.

It would be a shame if Warren does not receive any sort of nomination for this role. It is her performance that held me by the proverbial throat and kept me hoping that justice would prevail, even when history tells us otherwise.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Women of the Movement is available for streaming on Hulu.

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