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March 2014

Snapshots in History: March 24-25: Remembering the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III

March 26, 2014 | John P. | Comments (0)

 

(Credit: YouTube – Ted Barris - 30 Seconds on The Great Escape (1) – Published on November 4, 2013)

 

 

(Credit: YouTube – Ted Barris - 30 Seconds on The Great Escape (2) – Published on
November 11, 2013)

 

 

(Credit: YouTube – Ted Barris – 30 Seconds on The Great Escape (3) – Published on November 29, 2013)

 

 

(Credit: YouTube – Ted Barris – 30 Seconds on The Great Escape (4) – Published on
November 29, 2013)

 

 

(Credit: YouTube – Ted Barris – 30 Seconds on The Great Escape (5) – Published on
December 16, 2013)

 

 

(Credit: YouTube – City TV Official – The Great Escape: A Canadian Story (interview with
Ted Barris) – Published on November 11, 2013)

 

 

(Credit: YouTube – The Agenda with Steve Paikin (TVO) – Ted Barris: The Great Escape
(interview with Ted Barris) – Published on November 11, 2013)

 

 

(Credit: CBC Digital Archives – Wally Floody and the Great Escape - Medium: Television
Program: Summer Festival; Broadcast Date: Aug. 18, 1980; Guest(s): Wally
Floody; Host: Riki Turofsky; Duration: 6:34 – URL: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Digital%2BArchives/War%2Band%2BConflict/Second%2BWorld%2BWar/ID/1865493834/ )

 

 

(Credit: YouTube - NOVA - THE GREAT ESCAPE - History/Discovery/Military (documentary) – Published on March 5, 2014)

 

On March 24-25 and beyond, take a moment to remember “The Great Escape” attempt of Allied airmen from German prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft III at Żagań, Poland (formerly Sagan, Germany) on March 24-25, 1944. This grand escape attempt was intended to accommodate some 200 prisoners-of-war through the tunnel codenamed “Harry”. “Harry” was constructed along with tunnels codenamed “Tom” and “Dick” (involving 600 prisoners-of-war) to increase the probability of escape as it was assumed that the Luftwaffe soldiers and officers would not envisage the likelihood of 3 tunnels being dug simultaneously. This strategy was the brainchild of RAF Squadron Leader Roger Joyce Bushell (codenamed “Big X”) with the intent of fostering the escape of some 200 prisoners issued with false papers, civilian clothes, and escape equipment.

Some logistical challenges ensued, especially how to hide the sandy subsoil unearthed by the digging and tunneling. An ingenious method of pouches were placed inside the prisoners’ pants who released the subsoil at strategic points such as in garden plots where the subsoil could be more easily mixed in with the topsoil.

Innovative measures were developed by participants to make the tunneling process more efficient and safer, including the use of Klim cans to make tools and create ventilation shafts in the tunnels, and the development of an air pump to pump fresh air into the tunnels, thereby providing sufficient oxygen for the prisoners to work and for candles to burn and provide light. Electric lights were obtained and connected surreptitiously to the prisoner camp’s power grid.  

The camp officers and soldiers were suspicious that the prisoners-of-war were up to something. The disposal of the sandy subsoil on the surface proved to be too risky over time so the decision was made to begin filling in the tunnel “Dick” (with the subsoil) in after a camp extension was built over the hidden entrance. Parts of “Dick” were used for preparing and storing forged papers, civilian clothing and other items such as maps and compasses essential to the escape, Prisoners-of-war had bribed friendly camp guards with coffee, chocolate, and cigarettes to obtain train timetables, maps, and access to documents. The tunnel “Tom” had been found by camp guards after observing prisoners-of-war removing the sandy subsoil from the hut where the entrance to Tom” was located, forcing the prisoners-of-war to halt construction on the tunnel “Harry” until January 1944; the tunnel was finished in March 1944.

The escape was set for the evening/morning of March 24/25, 1944. However, problems ensued with a frozen trapdoor, cold and snowy conditions outside of the camp (conducive to leaving footprints), and the crushing realization that the tunnel had been dug too short with the opening exposed short of the neighbouring forest and close to a guard tower. The decision was made to scale back the initial 200 prisoners-of-war designated to escape to only 100. 76 Allied prisoners-of-war managed an initial escape from Stalag Luft III but the 77th was caught coming out of the tunnel by a camp guard early in the morning on March 25, 1944.

Unfortunately, 73 of the 76 escaped prisoners-of-war were recaptured with 50 of them executed as a reprisal, a violation of the Geneva Convention, as it was a duty of prisoners-of-war to attempt escape.

Postscript: The British Channel 4 documentary “Digging the Great Escape” uncovered a secret fourth tunnel named “George” that was constructed following the Great Escape and intended for fighting rather than escape purposes.

Consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:

 

The dodger the extraordinary story of Churchill's cousin and the great escape

The dodger: the extraordinary story of Churchill's cousin and the great escape / Tim Carroll, 2013. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.54709 DOD CAR

Read the story of American-born John Bigelow Dodge (who was a cousin to Winston S. Churchill by marriage) who survived World War One battles at Antwerp, Gallipoli, the Somme, and Passchendaele, failed in an attempt to be elected as a Conservative MP in the east end of London, England, enlisted in the 51st Highland Division to serve in France but was captured after a futile, abortive swim to a ship off Calais that was no longer there. “Johnny” Dodge charmed his German captors but they tired of his escape attempts so he was sent to Stalag Luft III. Dodge survived the Great Escape attempt of March 1944, was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp but escaped again, evading capture for a month after which he was chained to the floor awaiting execution. However, fate spared Dodge as he was entrusted to take a peace message to Winston Churchill seeking to make a deal with the western Allied forces but not with the Soviet forces. Dodge had to survive the Allied bombing of Dresden before making it to England to deliver the German request that was rejected outright by Churchill and the British government. Dodge received the Military Cross on account of his numerous escape attempts and died in 1960. Dodge inspired Steve McQueen’s fictional character in the 1963 feature film “The Great Escape”.

Read the review in the Daily Mail. Read the review in the Telegraph.

 

The great escape a Canadian story

The great escape: a Canadian story / Theodore (Ted) Barris, 2013. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.54724 BAR

Canadian military historian Theodore (Ted) Barris interviewed the surviving Canadian prisoners-of-war involved in the Great Escape and accessed archival material never seen before to shine new light on the involvement of Canadian airmen in the complex planning of the March 1944 escape from Stalag Luft III. Six Canadians were executed by the Gestapo as part of the group of fifty. Barris explored the survivors’ guilt and anger over their colleagues’ executions.

Also available in eBook (Access Online) format.

Read the review in the Globe and Mail. Read the review in Publishers Weekly.

As part of Keep Toronto Reading in 2014, Toronto Public Library is hosting author Ted Barris to discuss The great escape: a Canadian story at two branch locations:

Gerrard/Ashdale Branch, 1432 Gerrard Street East – Thursday, April 10, 2014, 6:45-8:00 p.m.

Morningside Branch, 4279 Lawrence Avenue East – Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

 

The great escaper the life and death of Roger Bushell love, betrayal Big X and The great escape

The great escaper: the life and death of Roger Bushell: love, betrayal, Big X and The great escape / Simon Pearson, 2013. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.54724 BUS PEA

Journalist Simon Pearson authored this first biography of South African-born Squadron Leader Roger Joyce Bushell, the mastermind of the Great Escape also known as “Big X”. Bushell’s family donated his papers to the Imperial War Museum which assisted Pearson in penning this book. Read the story of the multilingual Bushell who became a barrister championing the underdog as well as an international ski champion, and a fighter pilot with attractive girlfriends. Bushell was shot down on May 23, 1940 over occupied France and made three escape attempts over the course of the war, including the Great Escape. Bushell was one of the fifty prisoners-of-war executed by the Gestapo on March 29, 1944.

Read the review in the Huffington Post UK. Read the review in the Sunday Times.

 

Almost a great escape a found story

Almost a great escape: a found story / Tyler Trafford, 2013. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 813.54 TRA

The author discovered an album of old letters and photographs following his mother Alice Trafford’s death in 2004 that revealed her past involvement with a Norwegian pilot named Jens Müller who was training at Little Norway in Canada during World War Two. Jens Einar Müller became one of only three of the 76 prisoners-of-war to have successfully completed the Great Escape.

Read the review in Publishers Weekly.

 

Human game the true story of the great escape murders and the hunt for the Gestapo gunmen

Human game: the true story of the 'great escape' murders and the hunt for the Gestapo gunmen / Simon Read, 2012. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.54724 REA

Follow the story of Allied military police led by Squadron Leader Francis P. McKenna after the Second World War to investigate the executions of the fifty Allied prisoners-of-war on account of the Great Escape and to bring their killers to justice.

 

The great escapers the full story of the Second World War's most remarkable mass escape

The great escapers: the full story of the Second World War's most remarkable mass escape / Tim Carroll, 2005. Large Print Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.54724 CAR

The great escape from Stalag Luft III the full story of how 76 Allied officers carried out World War II's most remarkable mass escape

The great escape from Stalag Luft III: the full story of how 76 Allied officers carried out World War II's most remarkable mass escape / Tim Carroll, 2004. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.54724 CAR

Read this account of how Allied prisoners-of-war engaged in intricate tunneling to escape Germany’s “escape-proof” camp, culminating in the Great Escape of March 1944. Those recaptured were vigorously interrogated by the Gestapo and fifty of them were shot as a reprisal. Learn also about the often overlooked but more successful “Wooden Horse” escape attempt made in October 1943, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Read the review in Publishers Weekly.

 

The tunnel king: the true story of Wally Floody and the great escape / Barbara Hehner, 2004. Book. Children’s Non-Fiction. J 940.54724 FLO HEH

Canadian miner and RCAF Flight Lieutenant Wally Floody worked on the tunnels in the lead-up to the Great Escape. However, the Germans grew suspicious that something was amiss and transferred several prisoners, including Wally Floody, out of Stalag Luft III, prior to March 24, 1944. Unfortunately, Floody’s friend and fellow miner, RCAF Flying Officer Hank Birkland, participated in the Great Escape and was one of the fifty Allied prisoners to be executed.

Review the review from CM (Canadian Review of Materials) (Volume XI Number 5 – October 29, 2004).

 

A gallant company the men of the great escape

A gallant company: the men of the great escape / Jonathan F. Vance, 2003. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.5472 VAN / 940.54723 VAN

Historian Jonathan Vance interviewed most of the survivors of the Great Escape and received help from families of greater than fifty percent of the fifty executed prisoners-of-war. The author included newly uncovered anecdotes and photographs surrounding surviving participants of the Great Escape.

Read the review of the 1998 edition in Canadian Military History Book Review Supplement, Spring 1998, pages 14-15.

 

The great escape the full dramatic story with contributions from survivors and their families

The great escape: the full dramatic story with contributions from survivors and their families / Anton Gill, 2002. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.54724 GIL

This book delved into research for a war crimes trial derived from the Allied investigation into the atrocities surrounding the execution of fifty of the escaped prisoners-of-war from the Great Escape. The author also conducted interviews with survivors of the Great Escape and family members of the executed airmen.

 

 

Consider the following DVD documentary:

Great escape [1 videodisc] / a Windfall Films production for Nova/WGBH Boston; produced by David Dugan; written and directed by Mark Radice, [2005]. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.53174 GRE

This PBS Nova documentary examined the events of the Great Escape and filmed an archaeological dig that occurred on the site of Stalag Luft III. Read the transcript of the documentary here. Visit the PBS Nova page for documentary details.

 

Consider the following classic feature film based on the true story:

 

The great escape widescreen version

The great escape [1 videodisc] [widescreen version] / Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, and James Coburn, c1998, [1963]. DVD. Feature Film. FEATURE GRE

The 1963 feature film featured Steve McQueen as American Army Air Force Captain Virgil Hilts (“Cooler King” - a character arguably based on American Army Air Force pilot and prisoner-of war David M. Jones who participated in the Great Escape), Richard Attenborough as Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett (Big “X” – the fictionalized version of Roger Bushell), and Charles Bronson as Flight Lieutenant Danny Velinski (“Tunnel King”) amongst others in a star-studded international cast.

 

Snapshots in History: March 13: Remembering W.O. Mitchell

March 14, 2014 | John P. | Comments (0)

 

(Credit: CBC Digital Archives – Alberta writer W.O. Mitchell on CBC Radio – July 1, 1980 – 3:16 - URL: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Digital%2BArchives/Arts%2Band%2BEntertainment/Literature/ID/1722799132/ )

 

 

(Credit: YouTube – CBC RetroBites – W.O. Mitchell: Christmas Presents (1976))

 

On March 13 and beyond, take a moment to remember Canadian author and dramatist W.O. (William Ormond) Mitchell (Born: March 13, 1914 at Weyburn, Saskatchewan; Died: February 25, 1998 at Calgary, Alberta), well-known for his novel Who Has Seen The Wind (1947), depicting the power of the wind on the prairies setting as seen through the perspective of a prairie boy attempting to understand life, death, and God. W.O. Mitchell influenced the writing of other Canadian authors such as Eli Mandel, Rudy Wiebe, Margaret Laurence, and Robert Kroetsch.

The publication of Who Has Seen The Wind increased immensely the recognition of W.O. Mitchell; almost one million copies of the novel have been sold in Canada. While residing in Toronto as fiction editor of Maclean’s magazine, Mitchell developed a weekly radio series for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation called Jake and the Kid, leading to a spinoff collection of short stories with the same title that won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour in 1962. W.O. Mitchell won the same award in 1990 for the sequel According to Jake and the Kid.

 

Consider the following titles about W.O. Mitchell (and his works) for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:

 

W.O. the life of W.O. Mitchell beginnings to Who has seen the wind 1914-1947

W.O.: the life of W.O. Mitchell: beginnings to Who has seen the wind 1914-1947 / Barbara Mitchell and Ormond Mitchell, 1999. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 819.32 MIT MIT

Read the review of the first part of the biography written by the son and daughter-in-law (who are both academics)  of W.O. Mitchell from Quill and Quire

 

Mitchell the life of W.O. Mitchell the years of fame, 1948-1998

 

Mitchell: the life of W.O. Mitchell : the years of fame, 1948-1998 / Barbara Mitchell and Ormond Mitchell, 2005. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 819.32 MIT MIT

Read the review of the second part of the biography written by the son and daughter-in-law (who are both academics) of W.O. Mitchell from Canadian Literature: a Quarterly of Criticism and Review.

 

Magic lies: the art of W.O. Mitchell / edited by Sheila Latham and David Latham, 1997. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 819.3 MIT MAG / 819.32092 MITCHELL

Read the review of Magic lies: the art of W.O. Mitchell from Canadian Literature: a Quarterly of Criticism and Review

 

 

Intimations of mortality W. O. Mitchell's who has seen the wind

Intimations of mortality: W. O. Mitchell's who has seen the wind / Dick Harrison, 1993. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 819.32 MIT HAR / 819.32092 MITCHELL / 819.13 MITCHELL  

 

 

W.O. Mitchell and his works

W.O. Mitchell and his works / Dick Harrison, 1991. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 819.3 MIT / 819.32092 MITCHELL  

 

 

Consider the following titles by W.O. Mitchell for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:

 

Who has seen the wind / W.O. Mitchell; illustrated by William Kurelek, 1976. Book. Adult Fiction. FICTION MIT

Click here for copies of the 1972 New Canadian Library edition.

Click here for copies of the 1994 Large Print edition.

Click here for copies of the 1974 French language edition: Qui a vu le vent.

Click here for copies of the Audiobook CD edition narrated by W.O. Mitchell.

Click here for copies of the Talking Book (Restricted to Print Disabled patrons) edition.

 

Read the review of Who Has Seen The Wind from CM (Canadian Materials) Archive: a Reviewing Journal of Canadian Materials for Young People.

Read the review of Who Has Seen The Wind from the Toronto Review of Books.

 

Jake and the kid / W.O. Mitchell, 1972, c1961. Book. Adult Fiction. FICTION MIT

Click here for copies of the 1997 Large Print edition.

Read the review written by Margaret Laurence of Jake and The Kid from Canadian Literature: a Quarterly of Criticism and Review – See the review section of Issue 11 (Winter 1962) in PDF format to find Margaret Laurence’s review (See pages 68-70; PDF pages 17-19).

 

According to Jake and the kid: a collection of new stories / W.O. Mitchell, 1989. Book. Adult Fiction. FICTION MIT / SHORT STORIES MIT

Click here for holdings of the 1989 Large Print edition.

Read the review of According to Jake and the Kid from CM (Canadian Materials) Archive: a Reviewing Journal of Canadian Materials for Young People

 

An evening with W.O. Mitchell: a collection of the author's best-loved performance pieces / W.O. Mitchell; selected and edited by Barbara and Ormond Mitchell, 1997. Book. FICTION MIT / SHORT STORIES MIT / 819.8 MIT

Click here for copies of the 2001 Audiobook CD edition written and narrated by W.O. Mitchell.

Read the review of An Evening with W.O. Mitchell: a collection of the author’s best-loved performance pieces from Books in Canada.

Read the review of An Evening with W.O. Mitchell: a collection of the author’s best-loved performance pieces from Canadian Literature: a Quarterly of Criticism and Review.

 

The vanishing point: a novel / W.O. Mitchell, 1973. Book. Adult Fiction, FICTION MIT

Click here for copies of the 2003 Talking Book (Restricted to Print Disabled Patrons) edition.

Read the review of The Vanishing Point from Canadian Literature: a Quarterly of Criticism and Review.

Snapshots in History: March 11: Remembering Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine

March 12, 2014 | John P. | Comments (0)

(Credit: YouTube - John Ralston Saul on Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine and Robert Baldwin - Uploaded on January 12, 2012)

 

(Credit – YouTube – Allan Gregg (TVO) - John Ralston Saul on modern Canada's founding fathers – Published on June 11, 2011)   

 

On March 11 and beyond, take a moment to remember the contributions of Robert Baldwin (Born: May 12, 1804 in York, Upper Canada; Died: December 9, 1858 near Toronto, Canada West) and Louis Hippolyte-La Fontaine (Born: October 4, 1807 at Boucherville, Lower Canada; Died: February 26, 1864 at Montréal, Canada East) who are best known for their contributions to the notion of responsible government as a stepping stone towards the eventual independence of Canada from Great Britain.  In fact, Globe and Mail columnist (and author) Lawrence Martin  deftly provided the context for March 11, 1848 when Baldwin and La Fontaine were sworn in to serve as co-prime ministers of a Reform government in the Province of Canada in the aftermath of the 1837-1838 rebellions in Lower and Upper Canada. (In fact, the experiment in the Province of Canada followed slightly behind Joseph Howe’s responsible government initiative in Nova Scotia in February 1848.) Consider the broader revolutionary context in 1848 in Europe and the counter-revolutionary responses in 1849. Baldwin and La Fontaine were of a similar mind that a democratically elected assembly needed to take precedence over an appointed, colonial executive council to fend off anarchy and revolution. Yes, history reminds us that the parliament buildings in Montréal were burned down on April 25, 1849 as a culminating event of the Montréal Riots by a reactionary, Loyalist mob (encouraged by the political opposition Tories), expressing opposition to the Rebellion Losses Bill passed by the La Fontaine-Baldwin government.

Governor-General Lord Elgin endorsed the passage of the Rebellion Losses Bill by a majority vote in the legislative assembly, affirming the principle of responsible government but having to endure the egging and stoning of his carriage by rioters. The Montréal Riots revealed that ethnic tensions could be brought to the surface as the city at that time was both half-English and half-French speaking, resulting in the capital city of the Province of Canada being moved to Toronto (1849-1852, 1856-1858) in alternation with Quebec City (1852-1856, 1859-1866) while the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa were being built in conjunction with its choice as the permanent capital of the Province of Canada by Queen Victoria – which ultimately became the capital of the Dominion of Canada in 1867.

Consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:   

 

Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin

Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin / John Ralston Saul, 2010. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 971.04209 LAF SAU (Series: Extraordinary Canadians)

It is no accident that academic John Ralston Saul wrote this dual biography of Baldwin and LaFontaine, given that almost single-handedly, he advocated for public recognition of the 150th anniversary of the advent of responsible government in the Province of Canada on March 11, 1998, resulting in the annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Lectures.

Read the review in the Literary Review of Canada.

Also available in eBook (Access Online) and Talking Book (Restricted to Print Disabled Patrons) formats.

Aussi disponible en français comme Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine et Robert Baldwin  (French Adult Non-Fiction: 971.04209 LAF SAU).

 

My dear friend: letters of Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine & Robert Baldwin / Sir Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin; edited by Yolande Stewart, 1978. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 971.04 L

Read through this collection of primary source material symbolizing the political partnership between Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine.

Baldwin, Lafontaine, Hincks: responsible government / Stephen Leacock, 1907. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 971 M V. 14 (Series: Makers of Canada)

Political scientist Stephen Leacock (who is also the humorist) authored this 1907 book on the roles of Baldwin, La Fontaine, and Sir Francis Hincks in the push for responsible government in the Province of Canada prior to Confederation in 1867.

Celebrating International Women’s Day: Selected Biographies and Memoirs of Women

March 8, 2014 | John P. | Comments (0)

It is March 8 once again, and another International Women’s Day is upon us. Toronto Public Library offers customers the opportunity to borrow materials of interest on a wide variety of topics, including biographies and memoirs of different people. As the list of accomplished and interesting individuals is extensive, it is possible to offer only a selected list of titles at a given time. So here is a brief selection from Toronto Public Library collections:

 

The bald mermaid a memoir

The bald mermaid: a memoir / Sheila Bridges, 2013. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 747.092 BRI BRI

Read the story of African-American interior decorator Sheila Bridges who lost her hair to alopecia, an autoimmune disorder. Follow a variety of anecdotes in which various people thought that she was a patient. Past clients included former United States President Bill Clinton.

Read the review from the New York Times

 

Country girl a memoir

Country girl: a memoir / Edna O’Brien, 2013. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 823.914 OBR OBR

Learn how the pharmacist’s assistant whose parents were not interested in literature became one of Ireland’s leading authors.

Read the review in the New York Times

 

Epistolophilia writing the life of Ona Å imaitÄ—

Epistolophilia: writing the life of Ona Šimaitė / Julija Šukys, 2012. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 940.5318 EPI SUK

Follow the story of this brave woman, a librarian who entered into the Jewish ghetto of Vilnius, Lithuania under Nazi occupation on the pretext of seeking out university books from Jewish students. In reality, Ona Šimaitė smuggled medicine, food, forged documentation, clothing, and correspondence into the ghetto for those imprisoned there, while taking out their letters into the outside world. Upon discovery of her activities in 1944, the Nazis tortured her brutally and then imprisoned Ona Šimaitė initially at Dachau concentration camp and then at a prison camp in occupied France. The author drew upon the liberal amount of correspondence written by Ona Šimaitė after the Second World War, on average 60 letters per month. Ona Šimaitė is honoured as one of the Righteous Among the Nations at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel.

Read the February 2012 review from Foreword Reviews

 

Harriet Tubman freedom seeker freedom leader

Harriet Tubman: freedom seeker, freedom leader / Rosemary Sadlier, 2012. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 973.7115 TUB SAD

The author, president of the Ontario Black History Society, used existing documentation (including secret documents used by abolitionists and Underground Railroad participants) and quotations given by Harriet Tubman to journalists to offer the reader a chronologically-ordered biography. Rosemary Sadlier described the historical context faced by freed slaves in Ontario, including condescension shown by abolitionists towards the freed slaves and the continuation of segregation within St. Catharines, Ontario schools towards the end of the 19th century.

Read the review from CM Magazine (Canadian Review of Materials)

 

HRC state secrets and the rebirth of Hillary Clinton

HRC: state secrets and the rebirth of Hillary Clinton / Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, 2014. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 327.73009 CLI ALL

Following a competitive race for the presidential nomination from the Democratic Party in the United States, Hilary Rodham Clinton agreed to a rapprochement with her successful rival, Barack Obama, by serving as Secretary of State in his first term of office. A biography of potential future President of the United States.

Also available in eAudiobook (Access Online) and eBook (Access Online) formats. 

Read the review from the Washington Post

 

I am Malala the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban

I am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban / Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb, 2013. 371.82209 YOU YOU

Read the story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai who overcame an assassination attempt in Pakistan to continue her advocacy for the education of young women. Not only is she critical of the Taliban but also of the United States’ use of drone warfare and its past support of jihadi movements.

Also available in Audiobook CD, Large Print, and Talking Book (Restricted to Print Disabled patrons) formats.

Read the review in The Guardian. Read the review in the Toronto Star.  

 

In my father's country an Afghan woman defies her fate

In my father's country: an Afghan woman defies her fate / Saima Wahab, 2012. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 958.1047 WAH WAH

KGB agents took the author’s father from her at five years of age during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Her grandfather allowed Saima Wahab to attend school, even though she was the only girl in her class. Saima and her siblings went to live with their academic uncle in the United States to gain an American education but had to endure traditional, sexist notions at home. Bravely, she sought her own path and was hired by the American military as a bilingual English-Pashto speaker in 2004 to assist with co-ordination in Afghanistan.

Also available in eBook (Access Online) format.  Read the review from Kirkus Review

 

Mrs. Robinson's disgrace the private diary of a Victorian lady

Mrs. Robinson's disgrace: the private diary of a Victorian lady / Kate Summerscale, 2012. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 941.34081ROB SUM

Isabella Robinson outlined her feelings for a married doctor named Edward Lane in her diary, leading her husband Henry Robinson to be one of the first individuals to sue for divorce in Victorian Britain under the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act. The author made use of correspondence and of legal documents referring to the diary which is presumed to have been destroyed.

Read the review in The Guardian

 

My beloved world

My beloved world / Sonia Sotomayor, 2013. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 347.73263 SOT SOT

The American Supreme Court Justice outlined her childhood challenges with diabetes and the conflict between her alcoholic father and her nurse mother. Sotomayor’s father died when she was 9 years old and she urged her mother to come back from her grief. Sonia Sotomayor learned to be self-sufficient, immersing herself in the world of the local public library. She attended Princeton University and Yale Law School. Her autobiography covered up to the point when Sotomayor became a district court judge in New York, prior to becoming a member of the Supreme Court.

 

Also available in Audiobook CD, Large Print, eAudiobook (Access Online), eBook (Access Online), and Talking Book (Restricted to Print Disabled Patrons) formats.

Read the review from the New York Times. Read the review from npr.org/books (National Public Radio: Books).  

 

My journey

My journey / Olivia Chow, 2014. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 971.07309 CHO CHO

Olivia Chow outlined her journey as a 13-year old teenager from Hong Kong to Canada where her abusive father sought to escape from the potential threats of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Despite experiencing an unhappy relationship herself during her teenage years, Chow embraced education at the University of Toronto, found love and fulfillment with the late Jack Layton, and set upon a political career in Toronto as a school trustee, city councillor, and ultimately as an NDP Member of Parliament. Whether Olivia Chow will run for the mayoralty of Toronto is yet to be determined.

Also available in eBook (Access Online) format.

Read the review in the Globe and Mail. Read the review in the Toronto Star

 

 

Penelope Fitzgerald a life

Penelope Fitzgerald: a life / Hermione Lee, 2013. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 823.914 FIT LEE

Read the story of the English novelist Penelope (néeKnox) Fitzgerald, a Booker Prize winner for her novel Offshore (1979), who wrote short, sparing novels offering much in obliqueness, self-concealment, and subtlety. Learn that her novels were written very much in character and that Penelope Fitzgerald did not always display her inner thoughts. Read about her life with her alcoholic husband Desmond, a Military Cross winner, who as a barrister stole money from chambers, only to be disbarred.

Read the reviews from The Guardian, The Independent and The Telegraph.  

 

The tale of the two Nazanins

The tale of the two Nazanins / Nazanin Afshin-Jam and Susan McClelland, 2012. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 323.092 NAZ NAZ

Iranian-Canadian Nazanin Afshin-Jam, wife of Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay, organized a 350,000 signature petition campaign delivered to the United Nations, urging the release of Nazanin Fatehi, a jailed Kurdish-Iranian sentenced to death who was subjected to rape and abuse from male family members and other men, one of whom was killed by Fatehi in self-defence. Nazanin Fatehi was released from prison in January 2007.

Read the review from the National Post.  

 

Unsinkable a memoir
 

Unsinkable: a memoir  / Silken Laumann with Sylvia Fraser, 2014. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 797.12309 LAU LAU

Many Canadians are well-acquainted with the courage and determination of athlete and sculls rower Silken Laumann’s bronze medal performance at the 1992 Summer Olympics in the aftermath of a serious leg injury caused by a collision with another boat. What is less known is the abuse that Laumann was ostensibly subjected to while growing up as a child at home, leading to bouts of anorexia and cutting as well as feeling inadequate.

Also available in eBook (Access Online) format.

Read the reviews from the Brampton Guardian and the Calgary Herald. Read this article from the Toronto Star in which family members dispute some of the accounts given in the memoir.

 

 

Unworthy creature a Punjabi daughter's memoir of honour shame and love

Unworthy creature: a Punjabi daughter's memoir of honour, shame and love / Aruna Papp with Barbara Kay, 2012. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 362.8292 PAP PAP

Aruna Papp had to contend with emotional, physical, and social abuse from her parents, family members and friends as she grew up in East Punjab as a female, Christian girl with dark skin pigmentation. Coming to Canada aided Aruna Papp in determining her self-worth, completing two graduate degrees, and finding love.

Read the book feature article on everythingzoomer.com . Read Dr. Farzana Hassan’s review on artsandopinion.com as well as her column in the Toronto Sun.

Listen to the May 24, 2012 interview with Aruna Papp on CBC Radio’s The Current hosted by Anna Maria Tremonti:

 

  

 

Please visit the following International Women’s Day blog posts written by other Toronto Public Library staff members:

Inspirational Lives: 5 Biographies for International Women's Day (The Buzz…About Books)

 

International Women’s Day (Barbara Frum District Blog)

Printmaking Workshop for Teens During March Break

March 7, 2014 | Winona | Comments (0)

Get creative at the library this March Break! Join us for a free workshop with artist Rob Matejka and learn how to create and apply your own design to a book bag/eco-bag using printmaking techniques. Supplies are provided and you get to keep your creation!

Rob Matejka photo printing003
Photo courtesy of Rob Matejka

Printmaking for Teens is being held at two branches during March Break:

This workshop is for teens ages 12-19. Each participant will receive a bag to print on. If you are interested in an additional printmaking project please bring a t-shirt to print on.

This is a free workshop but space is limited! Register in-person at the branch where you will taking the workshop or call to reserve your spot.

This workshop is great for those who want to learn a super cool art technique, express themselves, and have fun while doing it. Plus, once you've learned the basics of printmaking you can use your new skills to make unique gifts and other great stuff - from personalized stationery and greeting cards to gift wrap, posters, pillows, scarves, dishes, wall art...the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!

Rob Matejka photo printing007
Photo courtesy of Rob Matejka

Want to know more about printmaking? Check out these books on simple printmaking techniques and cool projects you can make at home:

         The Printmaking Bible by Ann D'Arcy Hughes and Hebe Vernon-Morris Printmaking and Mixed Media by Dorit Elisha Print Workshop by Christine Schmidt
Paper and Ink Workshop by John Foster  Practical Mixed-Media Printmaking Techniques by Sarah A. Riley The Instant Printmaker by Melvyn Petterson The Printed Pattern by Rebecca Drury Low Tech Print by Caspar Williamson





Simple Printmaking Hand-Printing Projects to Make at Home by Elizabeth Harbour

Oscars 2014: Book-to-Movie Adaptations

March 1, 2014 | Winona | Comments (0)

Pop your popcorn, place your bets, and call the fashion police: it's Oscar time again!

As always, several literary adaptations have been nominated for Hollywood's top prize. This year, five of the nine nominees for Best Picture are based on books, and there are books on film in many other categories. Read on for a list of some of this year's Oscar-nominated movies and the books that inspired them. You can get all these books at the library - and you can already place a hold for some of the movies too!

Which ones have you seen/read this year? Which was better, the book or the movie? Are there any great story-to-screen adaptations that you think the Academy missed? And who do you think will go home with Oscar? Let us know in the comments below!

American Hustle


The Sting Man by Robert W. GreeneAmerican Hustle posterLoosely based on the true story The Sting Man: Inside Abscam by Robert W. Greene.

Nominated for: Actor in a Leading Role; Actor in a Supporting Role; Actress in a Leading Role; Actress in a Supporting Role; Best Picture; Costume Design; Directing; Film Editing; Production Design; Writing.

Synopsis: "When small-time con man Irving Rosenfeld meets Sydney Prosser, an ambitious hustler who persuades him to up the stakes in his scams, they find themselves targeted by FBI agent Richie DiMaso. With the threat of prison looming, Irving and Sydney agree to cooperate with DiMaso in a far-reaching sting operation that will target prominent political figures."

 

August: Osage County

August Osage County by Tracy Letts movie tie-in August Osage County posterBased on the play August: Osage County by Tracey Letts (ebook).

Nominated for: Actress in a Leading Role; Actress in a Supporting Role.

Synopsis: "A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them."

 

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak The Book Thief posterBased on the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (audiobook | book club set | eaudiobook| ebook | talking book).

Nominated for: Music.

Synopsis: "While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. Under the stairs in her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents."

 

Captain Phillips

A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips Captain Phillips posterBased on the true story A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy Seals, and My Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips  (eaudiobookebook | large print | movie).

Nominated for: Actor in a Supporting Role; Best Picture; Film Editing; Sound Editing; Sound Mixing; Writing.

Synopsis: "When the freighter ship Maersk Alabama is pursued and captured by a handful of Somali pirates, Captain Richard Phillips faces off against Muse, the band's leader, in an effort to protect the lives of his crew. In an explosively dangerous situation, Phillips must strike a careful balance between strength and compliance if he and the men he is responsible for are to survive."

 

Dirty Wars

Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill Dirty Wars posterBased on the true story Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill (audiobook | eaudiobook | talking book | movie).

Nominated for: Documentary Feature

Synopsis: "One of the least-known components in the war on terror, the Joint Special Operations Command conducts its work in secret and seemingly without limitations. With no existing record of their actions or personnel, the JSOC carries out strikes against those deemed a threat to U.S. security while remaining entirely outside the scope of public knowledge."

 

Ernest & Celestine

Ernest and Celestine by Gabrielle Vincent Ernets & Celestine posterBased on the children's picture book series Ernest & Celestine written and illustrated by Gabrielle Vincent (movie - in French with English subtitles). 

Nominated for: Animated Feature Film.

Synopsis: "Beneath a village inhabited by bears lies a subterranean community of mice who steal from their ursine neighbors and particularly value their teeth. When Celestine, an orphaned mouse studying dentistry but dreaming of art, meets a sensitive, talented bear named Ernest, the interests they share lead to a bond between them that challenges the traditional enmity between their species."

 

Frozen

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson adapted by Ken Setterington Frozen posterInspired by the fairy tale The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson (audiobook | ebook | other print editions).

Nominated for: Animated Feature Film; Music.

Synopsis: "Sisters Elsa and Anna enjoy an idyllic life in the enchanted kingdom ruled by their parents until Elsa's magical ability to create ice and snow around her proves a threat to those she loves. Emerging for her own coronation after several years of self-imposed isolation, Elsa flees her home in distress when her uncontrollable powers transform the kingdom into a frozen realm."

 

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby posterBased on the Jazz Age classic The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (eaudiobooks | ebooks | large print).

Nominated for: Costume Design; Production Design.

Synopsis: "A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbour."

 

  

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbitt by J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit posterBased on the fantasy classic The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien (eaudiobook | ebooks | talking book | first Hobbit movie).

Nominated for: Sound Editing; Sound Mixing; Visual Effects.

Synopsis: "The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring."

 

Iron Man 3

Iron Man Iron Man posterBased on the Marvel comic book hero Iron Man (first Iron Man movie | Iron Man 2) | Iron Man 3).

Nominated for: Visual Effects.

Synopsis: "When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution."

 

Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell Lone Survivor posterBased on the true story Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell (eaudiobook | ebook).

Nominated for: Sound Editing; Sound Mixing.

Synopsis: "Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare."

 

Philomena

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith Philomena posterBased on the true story The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith. 

Nominated for: Actress in a Leading Role; Best Picture; Music; Writing.

Synopsis: "When Irishwoman Philomena Lee gave birth to her son in 1952, the boy was taken from her by the Catholic home for unwed mothers to which she had been consigned, and adopted out to a family in America. Accompanied by a former BBC correspondent in search of a human interest story, Philomena travels to Washington, D.C. in an attempt to find her now-grown child."

 

Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson Room on the Broom movieBased on the children's picture book Room on the Broom written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (book and CD set | movie).

Nominated for: Short Film (Animated).

Synopsis: "A genial witch and her cat are joined on their broom by several friends as they set off on an adventure."

 

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup12 Years a Slave posterBased on the true story 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (eaudiobook | public domain ebooks | movie).

Nominated for: Actor in a Leading Role; Actor in a Supporting Role; Actress in a Supporting Role; Best Picture; Costume Design; Directing; Film Editing; Production Design; Writing.

Synopsis: "Solomon Northup, a free black man living with his wife and children in New York in 1841, is tricked by slave traders into traveling to Washington, D.C., where he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Sent to Louisiana, he experiences the violence and degradation of life as a slave while clinging to the hope that he will someday regain his freedom."

  

The Voorman Problem

Number9dream by David Mitchell The Voorman Problem posterBased on the novel number9dream by David Mitchell.

Nominated for: Short Film (Live Action).

Synopsis: "A psychiatrist is called to a prison to examine an inmate named Voorman, who is convinced he is a god."

 

The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort The Wolf of Wall Street posterBased on the true story The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort (eaudiobook | ebook).

Nominated for: Actor in a Leading Role; Actor in a Supporting Role; Best Picture; Directing; Writing.

Synopsis: "In the heady financial world of the 1990s, stockbroker Jordan Belfort enjoys a meteoric rise as one of Wall Street's power players. Tossing aside ethics and legality, he embraces the excesses of the era and enters into a series of scams that will have far-reaching implications throughout the financial community."

Note: All film synopses are from the Oscars 2014 website, except August: Osage County, The Book Thief, Iron Man 3, and Lone Survivor, from Internet Movie Database.

Oscar statuette

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