Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Five best history books that tell unexpected tales

Harry Stein's books include How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Found Inner Peace) and I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican.

For the Wall Street Journal he named a five best list of works of history that tell an unexpected tale, including:
Destined to Witness
by Hans J. Massaquoi (1999)

The very existence of this startling memoir—about growing up black in Nazi Germany—challenges our ingrained sense of the historically plausible. The child of a German mother and a Liberian diplomat father, Hans Massaquoi is 7 when Hitler assumes power, so proudly German that he actually tries to join the Hitler Youth. But he soon begins to grasp the monstrous truth. He's a precocious student but treated by his teachers as subhuman. Strangers feel free to abuse him in public. When, as a teenager, he begins secretly seeing a German girl, his mother—terrified but prim—takes to leaving newspapers open to reports on the executions of those caught in forbidden liaisons. At war's end there's one last twist: Making it to the States, Massaquoi winds up as a top editor at Ebony magazine.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue