Master Wings Publishing recently released The Other Side of the Wire by Harold Coyle, a thought-provoking fictional novel that not only tells an empathetic transgender story, but also delivers on Coyle’s thorough research of the time period.
The book is available for purchase here.
With an extensive glossary and sixteen pages of historical notes included, The Other Side of the Wire and Master Wings Publishing work hard to be a resource and spark varied interests. And beyond that, we are happy to share now five titles that provide valuable accompanying material for anyone reading The Other Side of the Wire, or for anyone interested in its subjects of WWII, coming-of-age stories, Jewish heritage, and gender identity.
- The Mascot: Unraveling The Mystery Of My Jewish Father’s Nazi Boyhood by Mark Kurzem
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
When a Nazi death squad raided his Latvian village, Jewish five-year-old Alex escaped. After surviving the winter by foraging for food and stealing clothes off dead soldiers, he was discovered by a Latvian SS unit. Not knowing he was Jewish, they made him their mascot, dressing the little “corporal” in uniform and toting him from massacre to massacre.
If, after reading Hannah’s tale in The Other Side of the Wire, you wanted to know more about the struggle and conflict that comes from the effort to survive as a Jewish child amongst Nazis in WWII, Mark Kuzem’s The Mascot is the choice for you. Its publisher describes it as “a survival story, a grim fairy-tale, and a psychological drama” that “asks provocative questions about identity, complicity, and forgiveness.”
- The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith Hahn-Beer
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Edith Hahn was a law student and outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith’s protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret. In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear.
It is, as Publishers Weekly notes, “important both as a personal testament and as an inspiring example of perseverance in the face of terrible adversity. Edith Hahn-Beer’s gripping memoirs offer a true glimpse of the particular internal conflict that formed the basis for TheOther Side of the Wire’s characters.
- When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation 1940-1944 by Ronald C. Rosbottom
On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. When Paris Went Dark evokes with precision the detail of daily life in a city under occupation, and the brave people who fought against the darkness. It relies on a range of resources–memoirs, diaries, letters, archives, interviews, personal histories, flyers and posters, fiction, photographs, film, and historical studies– to produce a vivid and haunting picture.
Hannah, the main character of The Other Side of the Wire, spends some critical time in occupied Paris and this title expands on that sphere, also illuminating the context of supporting character Madame Delome. With this work, Rosbottom offers the reader a more precise understanding of a world Coyle brushes up against and several of his characters are shaped by.
- Survival in Auschwitz and The Reawakening, Two Memoirs by Primo Levi translated by Stuart Woolf
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
The author describes his twenty month ordeal in the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in what one Amazon reviewer describes as a text “bereft of memory’s distorting fiction yet enriched by a compassion for suffering.” Through much of The Other Side of the Wire’s text, Hannah is ignorant of the horrors around her—this is a painful but necessary account of those horrors.
- The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and World War II by Howard Blum
This nonfiction title recounts the activities of three men known as the Brigade, who, amidst the turmoil of post-war Europe, eliminated Nazi officers in hiding and engineered the rescue and transportation of Holocaust survivors to Palestine.
If you wanted to know more about vengeance and activity immediately following the war, a topic that The Other Side of the Wire touches briefly on in its final chapters, this is the book you should read. A carefully researched work, The Brigade adds a harrowing but triumphant accounting.
There are many vital and important titles on this subject matter. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a list that will help any individual better understand the period and its implications. As Coyle writes, to ignore this past “is to condemn future generations to the horrors and suffering our forebears endured.” Read Coyle’s full interview on our blog here.
All of these titles and many more, including film and podcasts, are available for members to borrow at The Pritzker Military Museum and Library, which is now carefully reopening and offering express library service. Visit this link for more information!