Spectator in Hell

Spectator in Hell

Spectator in Hell: A British Soldier's Story of Imprisonment in Auschwitz by Colin Rushton
2007 | PDF | 4.02MB

In 1942 the young soldier Arthur Dodd was taken prisoner by the German Army and transported to Oswiecim in Polish Upper Silesia. The German name for the place was 'Auschwitz': a name now synonymous with man's darkest hour.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most infamous German death-camp of the Second World War, functioned for the incarceration and extermination of those that the third Reich deemed "undesirables": Jews, homosexuals, Communists. What is less known is that it was the fate of hundreds of British POWs to find it their prison, and to behold the atrocities meted out by Hitler’s SS.

This is the true story of one of those witnesses. Forced to do hard labour, starved and savagely beaten, Arthur thought his life would end in Auschwitz. Determined to go down fighting, he sabotaged Nazi industrial work, risked his life to alleviate the suffering of the Jewish prisoners, and aided a partisan group planning a mass break-out.

Stalin: A Biography

Stalin: A Biography

Stalin: A Biography by Robert Service
2006 | EPUB | 2.13MB

Overthrowing the conventional image of Stalin as an uneducated political administrator inexplicably transformed into a pathological killer, Robert Service reveals a more complex and fascinating story behind this notorious twentieth-century figure. Drawing on unexplored archives and personal testimonies gathered from across Russia and Georgia, this is the first full-scale biography of the Soviet dictator in twenty years.

Service describes in unprecedented detail the first half of Stalin's life--his childhood in Georgia as the son of a violent, drunkard father and a devoted mother; his education and religious training; and his political activity as a young revolutionary. No mere messenger for Lenin, Stalin was a prominent activist long before the Russian Revolution. Equally compelling is the depiction of Stalin as Soviet leader. Service recasts the image of Stalin as unimpeded despot; his control was not limitless. And his conviction that enemies surrounded him was not entirely unfounded.

Stalin was not just a vengeful dictator but also a man fascinated by ideas and a voracious reader of Marxist doctrine and Russian and Georgian literature as well as an internationalist committed to seeing Russia assume a powerful role on the world stage. In examining the multidimensional legacy of Stalin, Service helps explain why later would-be reformers--such as Khrushchev and Gorbachev--found the Stalinist legacy surprisingly hard to dislodge.

Rather than diminishing the horrors of Stalinism, this is an account all the more disturbing for presenting a believable human portrait. Service's lifetime engagement with Soviet Russia has resulted in the most comprehensive and compelling portrayal of Stalin to date.

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails

Mr Lincoln's T-Mails: How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War by Tom Wheeler
2008 | EPUB | 1.71MB

The Civil War was the first "modern war." Because of the rapid changes in American society, Abraham Lincoln became president of a divided United States during a period of technological and social revolution. Among the many modern marvels that gave the North an advantage was the telegraph, which Lincoln used to stay connected to the forces in the field in almost real time.

No leader in history had ever possessed such a powerful tool to gain control over a fractious situation. An eager student of technology, Lincoln (the only president to hold a patent) had to learn to use the power of electronic messages. Without precedent to guide him, Lincoln began by reading the telegraph traffic among his generals. Then he used the telegraph to supplement his preferred form of communication—meetings and letters. He did not replace those face-to-face interactions. Through this experience, Lincoln crafted the best way to guide, reprimand, praise, reward, and encourage his commanders in the field.

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails tells a big story within a small compass. By paying close attention to Lincoln's "lightning messages," we see a great leader adapt to a new medium. No reader of this work of history will be able to miss the contemporary parallels. Watching Lincoln carefully word his messages—and follow up on those words with the right actions—offers a striking example for those who spend their days tapping out notes on computers and BlackBerrys.

An elegant work of history, Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails is an instructive example of timeless leadership lessons.