Thursday, October 09, 2003

Wiped out. Just spent the day in Boston going to the Boston Athenaeum and the Boston Public Library. Right now I'm involved in the search for books relating to my current book project concerning the situation of German civilians at the end of World War II and during the occupation. I discovered a small, thin volume In Germany Now: The Diary of a Soldier by William Peters, published in London in 1946. It's jam-packed with details about life in Germany just after the war, beginning in August 1945. I was glad to find it because it offers the experiences and viewpoints of a British soldier recording his impressions at the time without the contamination of hindsight editing 20-50 years later. A little gem. I found that at the Athenaeum. I don't think the Athenaeum's collections are going to be helpful on this project, but I need them for my inter-library loans--it's so difficult and potentially expensive to get all the books and articles I need through a public library. Problem is the Athenaeum's membership is going up to $200. Gulp. Help!

I'm excited about what the BPL has to offer, but 85% is in German. Too bad there's not a faster way to learn a language. I still haven't exhausted all the possibilities yet and I don't have a complete grasp on what's available, so I shouldn't get worried yet. Found a volume of letters written by a major in the U.S. Army who was the officer in charge of a displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany, where 80% of the inmates were Jewish survivors of the concentration camps, Dachau mostly. Can't wait to get more into that, but unfortunately that book doesn't circulate. Have to get back to the Research Library as soon as I can.

On the lighter side, just for fun, I borrowed Mameve Medwed's An End of an Error, a newish novel.

Had lunch with Steve at Scoozi, a charming little cafe and restaurant on the corner of Newbury and Fairfield Streets. Steve ordered the pizza, which looked terrific. I had a salad, but I'll have to take Ken to try out the pizza sometime. Last night at the Westwood Public Library twenty people attended his booktalk on his latest, Transatlantic. That's a good turnout for a small town. I'm speaking there about my new book Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia on Thursday, November 6 at 2:30 p.m.


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