Cradles of the Reich: A Novel Book Review

Just when we think we have been told every story there is to tell about World War II, another narrative reveals itself.

The new novel, Cradles of the Reich: A Novel, by Jennifer Coburn, was published last month.

One of the mostly unknown aspects of the Nazi propaganda machine was the Lebensborn project. In order to bring about and raise “racially fit” children, unwed mothers of appropriate backgrounds were sent to homes to prepare for when their babies would enter the world. After the birth, the newborns would then be given to other families to raise as their own.

The tale focuses on three women. Gundi is a university student who is both pregnant and a member of the resistance. The father of Hilde’s child is married, a generation ahead of her, and high up in the government. She is only 18 and has fully immersed herself in the regime’s ideals. Irma is a nurse whose job is to take care of the girls and their babies. After dealing with a deeply personal loss, she needs a new opportunity.

Each will soon learn that not everything is as rosy as it seems to be.

Wow. As I got further along, I kept getting flashes of The Handmaid’s Tale. In both worlds, the next generation is not a cherished member of the family. They are commodities to be used to further the government’s agenda.

I loved it. It is engaging, powerful, and instantly pulled me in. It is a reminder of how quickly we can forget our humanity and the journey that we must go on to reclaim it.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. In fact, it is one of the best books I have read this year.

Cradles of the Reich: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.


We Should All Be Paying Attention to the Antisemitism at UC Berkeley

In an ideal world, college (and higher education in general) is an opportunity to spread our wings and see the world beyond what we think it is. But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in the real world, which is far more complicated.

A couple weeks ago, a controversy erupted at UC Berkeley in California. Back in August, nine student groups adopted by-laws in which they agree to not invite speakers who “hold views in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine.” In other words, the campus has certain sections that are judenrein.

First of all, Palestine is not occupied. Second of all, Israel is not an apartheid state. Third of all, they boiled the complex issue of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict into the idea that all Jews support Israel and subjugate Palestinian neighbors. None of this is true.

Recently Noa Tishby visited the campus and tried to get an understanding of what was going on. The video below speaks for itself.

Sarah Silverman responded to this news as perfectly as one can.

I wish that we would see each other as human beings first and then see us via whatever labels we use to identify ourselves. But we don’t. We rush to judgment and make a generic statement about who they are. My fear in all of this is that the students are our future leaders. Who knows where the poison they spread today will take us tomorrow.

P.S. I don’t know about anyone else, but Kyrie Irving’s apology seems a bit half-ass.

Flashback Friday: Salem (2014-2017)

Centuries after the Salem Witch trials, this moment in history continues to be endlessly fascinating and timely.

The television series, Salem, was on the air between 2014 and 2017. The program starred Janet Montgomery and Shane West. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, the show takes a supernatural slant on the infamous 17th-century witch trials.

I tried watching a few minutes of the first episode. Despite the interesting premise, it was not appealing enough to continue watching. Obviously, there was enough of a fanbase to keep it on the air for three years. But I am not among them.

Do I recommend it? No.

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