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Will The Real Albert Speer Please Stand Up? The Many Faces of Hitler’s Architect by Geetanjali Mukherjee

Length: 41 pages
Genre: History, Non-Fiction

Synopsis: The author takes us on a short trip through the life of Albert Speer, but focuses mainly on the Nuremberg Trial and later evidence of deceit during the trial. The third paragraph of the official blurb gives us an idea of where the author is going to take us on this journey.

“In the years since the trial, biographers have been fascinated with the life of Speer, and have attempted to understand the man behind the enigma. The reason for the fascination is as much for his proximity to Hitler and the regime as it is for his actions at the end of the war. Were they justifiable? Was Speer’s biggest flaw his ambition and his turning away from obviously inhumane acts? Or did Speer manage to pull off the ultimate conjuring trick, convincing the court of his unintentional involvement, all the while wholeheartedly supporting the Nazi regimes’ treatment of those they oppressed?” Continue reading

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Warrior Lore: Scandinavian Ballads by Ian Cumpstey

What a gem!

Length: 76 pages
Genre: Mythology/Folklore/History

Synopsis: When I first started writing this review, I was struggling with what all to include for the synopsis. I looked at the official blurb, again, and decided I would let it do the writing. So, here is the official blurb (which is better than what I had written):

“Thor resorts to cross-dressing in a bid to recover his stolen hammer. The hero Widrick Waylandsson comes face to face with a troll in the forest. A king’s daughter is abducted from a convent in rural Sweden. A young fighter has to show off his prowess in skiing and shooting for King Harald Hardrada. And more…

The medieval Scandinavian ballads in this collection tell stories of champions and fighters, vikings, and trolls, drawing on Norse mythology and heroic legend. There are riddles, and there are appearances from Thor, Loki, Sigurd, and other figures from the myths of the Edda and from history. Narrative ballads were part of an oral folk music tradition in Scandinavia, and were first written down around 1600, although the ballads themselves are older. These new English verse translations are mainly based on Swedish tradition.

The ballads transport the reader back in time into the fells and forests of the far north. These verse translations can also be sung, just as the ballads were in old Scandinavia.

All the ballads included are:
Widrick Waylandsson’s Fight with Long-Ben Reyser; Twelve Strong Fighters; Hilla-Lill; Sir Hjalmar; The Hammer Hunt; The Stablemates; Sven Swan-White; The Cloister Raid; Heming and the Mountain Troll; Heming and King Harald.” Continue reading