WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
Home · Articles · Arts & Culture · Lit · Zlata Filipovic and Melanie Challenger -- Stolen Voices (Penguin)

Zlata Filipovic and Melanie Challenger -- Stolen Voices (Penguin)

By Gregory Flannery · April 11th, 2007 · Lit
0 Comments
     
Tags:
  Zlata Filipovic and Melanie Challenger --Stolen Voices
Zlata Filipovic and Melanie Challenger --Stolen Voices



The title of Stolen Voices: Young People's War Diaries from World War I to Iraq is nonsensical; these aren't stolen voices but rather voices preserved.

But the rest of the book is surprisingly effective. I expected a collection of childish pacifist treacle but instead heard a chorus of hard-won observations about the toll war takes on soldiers and civilians alike. Some of the writing sears the conscience, such as a 16-year-old Russian girl's resolve in 1937 to forsake all for the motherland: "If my father also turns out to be a Trotskyite and an enemy of his country, I shall not be sorry for him!" So, too, the daily notation of a 20-year-old woman starving in a Japanese internment camp in Singapore in 1944: "Did a dreadful thing today -- thoroughly disgusted with myself -- I swallowed a baby mouse!" The excerpts of diaries sometimes take incredible turns, as when Gunner William Wilson of New Zealand dies in combat in the North African desert and his diary is found by a German soldier, who then continues it on his own. It was more than half a century later that the German, trying to find the original diarist, learned he'd been killed in the war. More modern accounts, such as an Iraqi girl describing the 2003 U.S. invasion, serve to reinforce what every generation seems to learn on its own: War is hell. But one young Israeli writer's conclusion stands out for something that her own words prove untrue: "I am sorry if you find me cold, diary. This is what happens after seeing so much of bodies and bloodshed." This book is anything but cold. (Gregory Flannery) Grade: A-

 
 
 
 

 

comments powered by Disqus
 
Close
Close
Close