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Lindell's List: Saving American and British Women at Ravensbrück - Peter Hore

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley. People always talk about the need to remember World War II, implying, perhaps correctly, that society is in danger of forgetting the deeds of the greatest generation. Yet, the truth is, that much of what the Greatest Generation did, we didn’t need to forgot because we were never told about the deeds to begin with. This isn’t so much a charge against the various school systems, though it could be. Schools do teach about the Second World War and the Holocaust, if anything the Korean war is more glossed over. Students, however, are not really taught about most aspects of the War. Certain key details get left out. Like, for instance, Ravensbruck prison. Historians are doing their best to remedy that, but there seems to be some issues. Part of this, as always, is Hollywood that portrays any woman who does something during the war as using sex as part of it. While this was true of some women (and some of men), it couldn’t have been true of every woman. The second issue is the question of sources – women not talking about or downplaying what they did because of the time. This is something that several writers, most recently Anne - - - have mentioned in their books. Peter Hore is another in much needed list of writers who his trying to bring the forgotten history to light. Hore’s book details the war time activities of Mary Lindell, who composed a list of British and American prisoners in Ravensbruck and petitioned successfully for their freedom. Lindell has been written about before, perhaps most recently in Helms’ work on Ravensbruck. Part of Hore’s book also seems to be an attempt to present alternate view of Lindell than that which appeared in other works. He does make Lindell into more than a work on player, though to say that he makes her likable would be an overstatement. It should be noted however, that Lindell’s pushy behavior which can make her unlikable was undoubted what saved her and others’ lives. Hore does an excellent job of bring Lindell out of the shadows, and to a degree de-romanticizing her. While Hore does this to a great degree, he does at times seem to be a little overcome by admiration for his subject. At times, he slips and does to other women who worked with Lindell what he accuses other writers of doing to Lindell – repeating of gossip that may or may not be true or simply a comment or two about the woman’s looks. Hore is hardly the only writer to be guilty of this charge, and he does it far less than most. It is also important to note that he does make a clear distinction between rumor and fact. Hore’s book is a welcome addition to the volumes about women and heroes in wartime.