Thursday, June 17, 2010

Denmark Rising - Parts II & III

Yesterday I wrote about this novel by Barry Clemson and said I'd read Part II last night.  I did. Then I stayed up later and read Part III as well.  If I didn't have to get up for work this morning, I'd have read Part IV; this book is that good.

I am engaged with this story and don't want to put it down.  I already know the outcome.  World War II has been for over many years.  The German tyranny against the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other "non pure" groups is well documented.  Many of the officers who participated in Hitler's persecution have been brought to trial and found guilty.  Others are still being hunted. 

So what makes this book so compelling?  I admit to being fascinated with history.  The people who tell me that history is boring just haven't read the books I've read.  Books such as "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich;" some non-fiction books I read many years ago -- one set in Poland describing Jewish exiles' escape attempts -- another set in Russia describing a young man's years as a member of the Russian Youth Brigade who was trained to persecute any religious practitioners and given wide latitude in their own personal habits; this is living history.

Denmark Rising is fictional but uses living history to go beyond storytelling to raise important philosophical questions and introduce strategic nonviolence on a grand scale.  It is a timely novel, engaged as we are in two wars so far away from our own safe homes and facing the terrorism threats that have pervaded other parts of the world far longer.  Can peaceful, strategic nonviolence work on a large scale?  Can it work in today's conflicts?  What are we willing to sacrifice to make it work?  Is that sacrifice less than the price we are currently paying? 

Read the book and ask yourself these questions.  If you are a teacher, use the book as a springboard for discussion with your students.  If you are a student, introduce it to your teachers/faculty.  Clemson has provided a discussion forum, Teaching with Denmark Rising, to aide you.  While reading and discussing, also take time to appreciate the readability of this book and check out other works by Clemson.

Good Reading to You,

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