Midwest Book Review calls Henry a “Top Must-Have” acquisition for any collection strong in Holocaust survival accounts. D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review also stated “the treasure trove of documents and images, from vintage photos from the Buchenwald Memorial to Henry’s letters (some 70 original photos and rare German documents) is just one more thing that sets Henry apart from any other survivor’s story.” And “an unusual perspective unequalled in Holocaust survival chronicles.” Keep reading for more exciting developments.
The “Official” Release Date is still November 1, 2017 – but a lot is happening NOW!
As the official release date of November 1, 2017 comes ever closer, a LOT is going on, all of it very exciting. A radio podcast has been recorded and will air on November 1, a second book trailer is under production, more book reviews are pending, and well, you’ll see soon. Thank you to everyone who has followed me on this journey of fifteen years, and welcome to all my new readers. I hope that you always take away something you didn’t know, are inspired by someone else’s actions, or consider one of my favorite quotes that hangs over my computer: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” When I said fifteen years ago, “Henry, let’s write a book,” trust me – I did not envision the time, effort, or years it would take to reach completion. Right now there is magic in the three words “I did it!”
I entered a contest: 50 Great Writers You Should be Reading (The Authors Show). I need your vote!
A GoodReads Book Giveway Begins October 11, 2017!
Beginning next week, I will be offering 10 free signed copies of Henry through a GoodReads giveway. The Giveway will begin on October 11, and run through November 11, Polish Independence Day. If you’re not familiar with GoodReads, it is a popular and free website for book lovers. I discovered it about five years ago, and it’s a fabulous way to connect with authors, find out what other people are reading, read book reviews, join discussions, and get ideas for new reads. Readers can also submit questions to their favorite authors. My TBR or “to-be-read” pile grows ever higher because of this site. I will post the link to enter next week. For now, Click here to view Henry on GoodReads.
Read the Full Text of the Review from Midwest Book Review below, or click to here to read on their website (You will need to scroll down a bit.)
Henry: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship From Auschwitz to America comes from a journalist who interviewed eighty-five-year-old Henry Zguda after receiving a phone tip, discovering that his memory contained a treasure trove of experiences about the Holocaust and his world which needed to be written down and exposed to a wider audience than just herself.
And so, she did – and Henry is the result: an unassuming title for what evolves into a momentous series of sharp recollections about tumultuous times. What began as a series of twice-weekly interviews soon became a growing friendship as Katrina Shawver endeavored to understand not only the mechanics of Henry’s transformations and survival, but his ability to live in the modern world without bitterness and anger about the past.
These are lessons and examples that could be employed by any survivor, revealing stories and encounters backed by images and newspaper accounts which are reproduced in this book for maximum impact, much as the author experienced in the course of her conversations with Henry.
Lest one think this singular experience was somehow inconsequential, given the bigger picture, it should be pointed out that not only did Henry possess a huge collection of original documents and images, but his encounters with others during his experience, paired with his struggles as a former champion swimmer turned political prisoner, make for an unusual perspective unequalled in Holocaust survival chronicles.
Henry’s original photos and some unique documents, such as his letters, form the foundation of this account; but many of the other photos and documents included were the result of Katrina Shawver’s substantial research. They come from multiple museums and other sources, many not seen elsewhere. The historical background that’s included adds significantly to the context and setting, something else that sets Henry apart from most Holocaust memoirs.
Underlying this survivor’s encounters is a sense of not just how he survived, but how he later lived his life; developing principles that continued to guide him long after the Holocaust was over.
It’s these facets that all coalesce to make for a unique series of stories that form a different kind of story: one that takes the macrocosm of the greater Holocaust experience, synthesizes it into one man’s life and perspective, and adds an overlay of life values that reflect a powerful saga filled with personal moments, vividly recalled: “We had a little freedom, not much, but we could walk outside the barracks. The Germans just watched as we gather a little wood, or catch a few frogs. I met my two good friends there Yost Slagboom and Hubert Lapailles. We have the nice frog legs, we cooked them in a small iron oven, cooked with wood from the forest. We take the frog legs, put them in red-hot oven, they are very nice piece of meat. So, I survived the quarry; I was strong from the milk and frog legs and bread.”
The treasure trove of documents and images, from vintage photos from the Buchenwald Memorial to Henry’s letters (some 70 original photos and rare German documents) is just one more thing that sets Henry apart from any other survivor’s story, making it a top ‘must have’ acquisition for any collection strong in Holocaust survival accounts. Henry is especially recommended for any holding strong in Polish community heritage, World War II history, and the world of competitive swimming.
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Click here to read more Advance Praise for Henry.