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Dancing in Bomb Shelters: My Diary of Holland in World War II Paperback – Mar 20 2010
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About the Author
Johanna Wycoff grew up in the Netherlands and, after World War II, immigrated to the United States. After attending several colleges, Wycoff became a ceramic expert and has lectured on antiques and the evolution of pottery. She currently lives in League City, Texas, where she is a member of the Galveston County Historical Commission.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
HISTORIAN,I FOUND THE BOOK TO BE FACTUAL,HUMOROUS AND AMAZINGLY HONEST IN PRESENTING THIS EPIC TIME THROUGH THE EYES OF A YOUNG GIRL IN OCCUPIED HOLLAND.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR WAS THE ONLY WAR OF THE MODERN ERA THAT WAS TRULY "GOOD vs EVIL",THE AUTHOR DID A MAGNIFICENT JOB OF DEPICTING THE "GLORIFIED GANGSTERS" OF NAZI GERMANY FOR WHAT THEY TRULY REPRESENTED !THE AUTHOR'S ASSESSMENT OF THE "MARKET GARDEN" CAMPAIGN AND THE CALAMITIES IN ARNHEM IS ABSOLUTELY FACTUAL.
I PERSONALLY FEEL THAT THE DEPTH AND STRENGTH OF THIS BOOK LIES WITH THE AUTHOR'S PERSONAL PORTRAIT OF THE WAR FROM A CIVILIAN PROSPECTIVE . AS OPPOSED TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR, CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN WW-11 WERE EQUAL TO THE COMBATANTS ...IT WAS A "TOTAL WAR".THE AUTHOR'S NARRATIVE SKILLFULLY BRINGS YOU INTO HER WORLD, LIVING IN NIJMEGEN DURING THE HORRORS OF THE BOMBINGS , STARVATION AND THE SHEER BRUTALITIES WHICH OCCURRED EVERY DAY !
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY, NOT ONLY BECAUSE IT IS EXTREMELY INTERESTING, AND WELL WRITTEN BUT FOREMOST FOR A YOUNG DUTCH GIRL'S COURAGE TO SHARE HER PERSONAL JOURNEY ! DANCE ON..JOHANNA WYCOFF BRAVO !!
In the beginning, you feel a bit like a voyeur reading a girl's private observations and thoughts. With every diary entry, you are drawn into her world. Becoming part of her family, like the allied soldiers they housed during the liberation. You begin to identify with her. Cheering her on and laughing in amazement while she and her friends play pranks on the German soldiers occupying her hometown.
She was in many ways was a typical teenager who wanted to have fun, hang out with her friends, date boys, dance, listen to music and shop for clothes. However, her words poignantly illustrate that it was an everyday battle to stay alive, feed her family, hide Jewish friends, cope with the deaths of friends and family, endure the ever growing restrictions of the Nazis and avoid being thrown in the camps or shot. Her struggle to maintain any sense of hope in her everyday life under impossible conditions is inspiring.
Her story speaks volumes to the creativity and elasticity of the human spirit.
Sometimes humorous and other times devastatingly painful, the diary is a peek into her sorrows, secrets, loves and fears. I also found it interesting to see life from the perspective of an average person who is not one of the unfortunate victims of the Jewish holocaust. This is another side to the horrors of war not often exposed.
Better than any history class, we learn the truth of how political decisions can destroy not only lives but precious possessions, governments, businesses, antiquities and livelihoods. But also we learn that despite all that, the human spirit, religion, hope, humor and love survive.
This book is honest, real and very moving. I recommend it to everyone!