The gutter came to power
The hardest year

Your depressing non-fiction reading list!

Here's your reading list: 

The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

Berlin Diary by William Shirer (WAY INTERESTING, especially if you want to know what it was like being a foreign radio correspondent in Nazi Germany. Hint: CRAZY.)

Hitler: A Study In Tyrrany by Alan Bullock 

War Brides by Helen Bryan (cheap on the Kindle, historical fiction, kind of Potatoe Peel Pie-ish? With a big dash of old time New Orleans? Fun, quick read. Almost Luxe-ish, with all the intertwined romances.)

Double Cross by Ben Macintryre (this got much better, though it was still confusing, but I think maybe the story of double agents totally screwing with German intelligence IS confusing, also AMAZING.)

Inferno by Max Hastings (reading this now, more general overview-ish, but I know it gets into places like Burma and Kenya and I have NO IDEA what was going on THERE during the war)

World War II London Blitz Diary by Ruby Alice Side-Thompson (this was also cheap on the Kindle. SUPER depressing, but mostly because this woman was married to a creep, not because she was getting bombed every night)

Recommended by commenters, also my dad who sent me a big You Finally Wrote About Something *I* Am Interested In On Your Weirdo Website email:

The Guns Of August (my dad says I should start here with WWI)

Defying Hitler: A Memoir by Sebastian Haffner (recommended by a blog reader's husband! yay!)

Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre (who also wrote Double Cross up there, recommended by @antiangie, which obvs I must read because spies! WWII! SICILY!)


In other news, the Cheungs had a lovely weekend, thank you very much. Jack's kindergarten teacher visited Saturday morning for about half an hour - kindergarten home visits are a new thing this year, and I think maybe only at disadvantaged schools like ours? I'm not entirely sure. I was anxious about it, but it was great. I like her even more, she was super forthcoming about absolutely everything, and talked a lot about what she notices about Jack. Namely that he's a VERY focused, studious, patient, people-pleasing sort of kid at school (HE IS NOT THAT WAY AT HOME, LET ME TELL YOU). And I sort of knew this? I mean, she didn't say people-pleasing, I added that in. Just that he's always on task and making sure he's doing what he's supposed to be doing and quietly waiting for the other kids to finish or transition to the next thing when they might be going crazy... anyway, I only say this because I heard her say it and when sort of nuts. Well, not VISIBLY nuts. But inside I was thinking: OH NO OH NO THIS IS ME THIS IS ME THIS IS MY ENTIRE ACADEMIC CAREER MY POOR KID I HAVE SCREWED HIM ALL UP! Because being Perfect at school is actually sort of HARD. 

I was talking to Phillip about it later and he was all, "Well no, this is good! Because you'll be able to talk to Jack about it!" Which I think is a nice spin on "you've passed on your Need To Appear Perfect to your innocent child". But clearly I was projecting. I mean, he has been in kindergarten for all of a week and a half. He has PLENTY of time to loosen up. And he probably will. He certainly screwed around last year in his Pre-K class. I mean, not that I WANT him to screw around, obvs, but the way his kindergarten teacher was talking, all I could see was his future in high school, ie: ME in high school, trying not to disappoint all the adults with high expectations PROJECTING PROJECTING PROJECTING!!!

Blargh. This school stuff isn't going to just be all sunshine and roses and lots of free time is it. (In summary: I HAVE ISSUES.)



Have I recommended Agent ZigZag to you? It's by Ben Macintyre, too, and it's about a double agent. Fascinating stuff.

Re: the last half of this, I think it's incredibly difficult to parent things in our children that remind us of ourselves. But, I've found it gets a little easier when I remember my kid is NOT me. NOT NOT NOT. I mean, obviously, I know that, but I remind myself all the time that he has not had the same experiences as me, he has not had the same parents, he doesn't even have the same combination of genes. Just because he REMINDS me of me does not mean he IS me. (I know you know this, I'm just telling you the script that runs through my head every time I see Rhys get his feelings hurt over nothing, for example.)


Cool. I bought war brides. Love cheap kindle recs. also I am not sure what potato peel pie is but I like the way it sounds for a book.


I will probably read every book on this list--thank you! I liked Operation Mincemeat and Agent Zigzag and totally loved talking to my dad about those aspects of WWII. Looking forward to Double Cross which I have on hold at the library. Right now I'm reading a non-fiction account of the Great Leap Forward which was inspired by my reading of Dreams of Joy by Lisa See, a sequel to Shanghai Girls. I'd recommend those too if you like reading historical fiction that then inspires you to learn more about the real history.



I just remembered another World War II book I read several years ago about Nazi spies in America:
Saboteurs: The Nazi Raid on America

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