Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Spiral Shell and Braided in Fire: BOOK BEGINNINGS


As we head into this long Independence Day weekend here in the US, I have two books to share on Book Beginnings on Friday. Please join me to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are featuring this week.

Add the link to your post in the Linky below. If you share your post on social media come up please use the #bookbeginnings so we can find each other.


Both books I have are new World War II histories described as memoirs. I get the idea they are “memoirs” because the authors inserted themselves into the narratives, describing the way they investigated the histories they wanted to write about and how they interacted with the people whose stories they told. But I will understand more when I read the books. They both look excellent.

The Spiral Shell: A French Village Reveals Its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II by Sandell Morse

I knew so little of my own history. On my father's side, I had two names: Henriette Ducas and Jacques Hirsch, my great-grandparents, both born in Héricourt, France, a commune in the Alsace that used to go back and forth between France and Germany, a spoil of war.

The Spiral Shell: A French Village Reveals Its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II by Sandell Morse.

When Sandell Morse was 71 years old, she got a writer's grant to go to France. The result is The Spiral Shell in which she explores her inward journey to find her own identity as a Jew, and her outward journey as she pieces together the history of French Jews under the Vichy government.

Braided in Fire: Black GIS and Tuscan Villagers on the Gothic Line by Solace Wales

I stood in dappled shade on a small hilltop in northern Tuscany, somewhat perplexed. How had I, despite walking daily past this monument to World War II heroes, missed seeing this name before?

Braided in Fire: Black GIS and Tuscan Villagers on the Gothic Line by Solace Wales.

Solace Wales tells the story of Sommocolonia and the Black 366th Infantry Regiment that defended the village in WWII during the Battle of Garfagnana. At the center of her story are Lieutenant John Fox, who won the Medal of Honor for his heroism and the brave Biondi family.


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Freda at Freda's Voice hosts a weekly event where participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of their book of the week. Please visit her blog to share your post on The Friday 56.


From The Spiral Shell:

"This is important to me, that he became a gendarme afterward."

Important to me, too. His father was not involved in round-ups and deportations.

From Braided in Fire:

Most of the students at Ft. Benning were white. Apart from having separate sleeping quarters, Ft. Benning was not segregated.


  1. These look good! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Braided in Fire sounds particularly interesting to me!

  3. I hope you enjoy both books. Happy Independence day weekend! I added you to the linky.

  4. These books both look good! I love World War II novels, and I think it sounds interesting to be able to journey with the author as they uncover things.

  5. This sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. Interesting selection of books. Have a great weekend!

  7. Both of these do sound good, Gillion. I'll be curious to know the memoir angle to. Have a great weekend and stay safe and well.


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