The Book Thief (movie)

The Book Thief

(Five stars out of five)

One of the dubious benefits of economy transcontinental air travel is the opportunity to watch “free” movies. I spent so much time with my knees in my face that I viewed several I wanted to see and a couple I tried (and quit) out of boredom.

The Book Thief was the best of the lot. Based on the book by the same name (which I also rated five stars). The movie evokes the same childlike—not to be confused with childish—innocence as the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust develop around Leisel, the “book thief.” The movie follows the book closely enough, but what sets it apart is the cinematography and the performances by Sophie Nélisse and Geoffrey Rush. Nélisse performs the magic of aging half a dozen adolescent years. Rush, as usual, steals every scene he’s in. The man is chameleon and a wonder.

Recently released on DVD and Blu-Ray, it’s worth watching.

The Politics of Tyrannies

What do Vladimir Putin, American “progressives” and the Tea Party have in common?

Tactics.

All seek to dissuade opposition by bullying. Shouting, ad hominem attacks and dirty tricks replace discourse and tolerance. People with a poor sense of history don’t know that before the Holocaust, Hitler honed his bullying tactics on his political opposition before turning on the Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies and the church.

They’re even trying to change the definition of “tolerance” into “you must support my position or you’re intolerant.” This is how liberal democracies—old and new—are turned into tyrannies.

Whatever happened to “Think and let think”?

Book Review: The Eighth-Grade History Class Visits the Hebrew Home for the Aging by Turtledove

The Eighth-Grade History Class Visits the Hebrew Home for the Aging by Harry Turtledove

4 out of 5 stars

Excellent. A well-conceived and well-written contemporary tale bringing the experience of European Jews under the Nazis into today. The title outlines the setup. The point of view is that of the elderly Jewish survivor.

If I tell you the spoiler, it . . . well, it’d spoil the story. Perhaps I’m telling too much by telling you there is a spoiler.

Read and enjoy. It’s only seventeen pages.