By Guess and By God, by Duane H. Cook
Starting without family or friends, young George Cash grew up to marry his sweetheart and inherit an Idaho rabbit ranch with valuable government contracts to feed the soldiers in World War I. When the war ended and with it the rabbit contracts, along came Prohibition and opportunities for evading the Volstead Act. The family continued to grow and prosper, one way and another, through World War II and the Cold War. As time went by, the Cash family learned a lot about war and the suffering it brings.
Over the course of his long lifetime, George Cash observed and distilled his own philosophy, which he passed on to his numerous children and grandchildren, several in powerful places. “Be patient: Soon we will have our opportunity to change the world.”
This historical novel is strongly based in American history, and offers fascinating factual footnotes for the curious reader.
Published October 23, 2009
Tags: World War II
The Zookeeper’s Wife; a War Story, by Diane Ackerman, has been the subject of many a book club conversation. Even though there is absolutely no gore, there is suspense, and some readers find it uncomfortable going.
Antonina Zabinski was a young wife with a preschooler just old enough to count the trees in the back yard when World War II broke out. Her husband was Director of the Warsaw Zoo, and she was accustomed to helping with the young or sick animals, raising baby rabbits or lynxes with equal aplomb. She and her husband started by helping friends, then friends of friends, and wound up working with the Polish Resistance group to help anyone they could. After the larger zoo animals had been killed and the more valuable taken to Germany, they turned the zoo into a fox farm in order to keep their underground railroad functioning. All during the war, Antonina kept diaries, and this book is based on them and on the first-hand reports of other Poles.
The reader, of course, is aware all along that the Nazis are vanquished only to leave the Russians in their stead, a fact Antonina could not know as she wrote her daily accounts.
Though it is firmly based in fact, this reads like a novel, complete with touches of humor, music, suspense and heroism.