Summer Reading Book Reviews 2012

The perfect Nazi : uncovering my grandfather's secret past by Martin P. Davidson
Submitted by Grace Cordial at the Beaufort Branch Library on Thursday, July 5, 2012

I think that genealogists have to be brave. A prime example of how family historians sometime learn things about their ancestors that perhaps they did not want to know is found in an awfully absorbing book, The Perfect Nazi. Historical documentary film-maker for the BBC, A&E and the History Channel, Martin P. Davidson, traces the life and times of his mysterious German grandfather, a Prussian dentist named Dr. Bruno Langbehn. Using surviving archives from the Reich to investigate little snatches of family lore, Davidson uncovers a fascinating, but sordid, story that intimately ties Langbehn to Nazism from its birth pangs in 1922 until the Reich's collapse in 1945 when he was a SS Obersturmfuhrer assigned to Prague, Czechoslovakia. Much to the discomfort of his descendants, Langbehn remained a committed and unrepentent Nazi until his death in 1984. If you like history, archives and genealogy, I highly recommend that you read this engaging book about the role that willing agents, the factotums, and the managers, - like Dr. Langbehn - played in the rise of and the horror that became The Third Reich.

Four of a Kind by Valerie Frankel
Submitted by Grace Cordial at the Beaufort Branch Library on Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Life is a poker game" according to Frankel in this book is about forging friendships among women. Each week, the Brownstone School Diversity Committee is supposed to discuss how to create a more diverse student body at the exclusive New York City school, but the meetings quickly become a women's only weekly poker game. Of course, there are the usual thoughts and/or acts of adultery, brittle marriages, cancer, divorce, and parenting problems to work through to keep the novel contemporary. This is not great literature, includes mature themes, sex, and profanity, but it was entertaining.

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill
Submitted by Linda Sutton at the Hilton Head Branch Library on Thursday, July 5, 2012

For four years Clint Hill was the secret service agent assigned to protecting Jacqueline Kennedy. He called her Mrs. Kennedy, and she called him Mr. Hill. During this time he went from being petulant about this assignment to a loyal guardian and friend. He is quickly swept up by her beauty and vulnerability, and often speaks reverently about her courage and spirit. He was there for her when President Kennedy himself could not be. They traveled the world together, and he tried to give her the private life she craved, but inevitably he could not. This book is filled with unforgettable moments with Jackie Kennedy which ended all too soon with the tragic death of the President that still haunts Clint Hill today. If you love history and the Camelot era, you will thoroughly enjoy this book.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Submitted by Barbara Mancini at the Bluffton Branch Library on Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A thought provoking look into the future after the world as we know it has been destroyed. The author leaves the source of destruction to the imagination, but one wonders if it is the effect of war. An elite class has risen to rule over the nation, and keeps the people subdued through separation, starvation, and humiliation. The battle to survive is sensationalized yearly through "The Hunger Games," in which teenagers are forced to fight for their lives. The protagonists draw the readers' sympathy and fast paced action makes the novel hard to put down. I can't wait to read the sequels!

Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally
Submitted by Theresa Osborne at the Lobeco Branch Library on Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In our day there is so much peer pressure for teens and even children to have boyfriends or girlfriends. Being brought up in that culture I have to wonder if this is really a good thing. Knowing all the unnecessary heartache I went through playingthe dating game, I wanted better for my kids. After all, it wasn't until I gave up and quit that I met my husband. Through the combination of storytelling, informal speaking, and real life testimonies, Sarah Mally paints a glorious picture, fully supported with Biblical references, of courtship. The most difficult time one endures is in the pain of waiting patiently. It all pays off in the end with a beautiful, fulfilling marriage where the two truly become one as there are no lingering ties to partners past. Each chapter has a self-study application and thought question making it ideal for someone seriously looking to combat today's immoral, self-indulgent culture and stay pure for her Prince Charming. Although written for girls, I am using this book with my boys as they too should remain untainted while they grow and work toward building a strong foundation for life with their future bride and this book will still provide some help to them as well.