I have listed below a collection of resources that I have found useful, informative, or moving. It is not meant to be comprehensive. It is heavily weighted with books about World War II and the Nazi Holocaust, since I am a Jew and have taught courses on this subject. If you have any resources you would like to add, send them to me with a short description.
(in order of date of establishment)
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is an international non-governmental organization with National Sections covering every continent. Established in 1915, it brings together women from around the world who are united in working for peace by non-violent means and promoting political, economic and social justice for all.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists established in 1945 informs the public about threats to the survival and development of humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences. In 1947, the Bulletin first displayed the Doomsday Clock on its magazine cover to convey, through a simple design, the perils posed by nuclear weapons.
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, founded in 1982, advocates for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons.
Another Mother for Peace was founded in 1967 “to educate women to take an active role in eliminating war as a means of solving disputes between nations, people and ideologies.”
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) established in 2007 is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. ICAN won the 2107 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in this area.
Millennials need new movies about nuclear war, a ninth-grader says by Cassandra Williams
Starving to death in Nigeria. This tells the story of how Boko Haram is threatening the lives of thousands.
Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear War
Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation edited by Helen Caldicott
Hiroshima by John Hersey. A classic. WWII correspondent interviews survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima and writes the story of six people
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. A biography of the scientific director of the Manhattan project.
Genocide and Resistance
The Holocaust: A New History by Laurence Rees
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. Primo Levi is one of the most articulate writers about the Holocaust. He spent a year as a 25 -year old in Auschwitz.
Night by Elie Wiesel. A moving memoir of the death camps.
Fatelessness by Imre Kertész. This novel tells what it is like to encounter the death camps through the eyes of a 14-year old. The author (a Nobel Prize winner) was imprisoned at Auschwitz as a youth. The best novel about the Nazi led Holocaust that I have read.
Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra by Shareen Blair Brysac. This is the story of the only U.S. woman executed by the Nazis and her involvement with the German resistance to the Nazis.
In Hitler’s Germany: Everyday life in the Third Reich by Bernt Engelmann. The author was a radio operator in the Luftwaffe during WWII, joined the anti-Nazi resistance, and was arrested.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
See also Imperial Reckoning below.
War in Africa
My schooling about Africa was almost non-existent. The following have helped fill the gaps but I still have lots to learn.
King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild A history of the exploitation of and the atrocities committed in the Congo Free State under the rule of King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908
Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins. An account of the British empires genocide of the Kikuyu people in Kenya
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela
There Was a Country: A Memoir by Chinua Achebe. This is a personal history of Nigeria and the Biafran civil war.
- Translation into Japanese of the Nobel presentation speech by Berit Reiss-Andersen
- ICAN lecture (pdf) by Beatrice Fihn and Setsuko Thurlow
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days and The White Rose are two movies about a small group of students at Munich University who form a resistance cell that they name the “White Rose”.
Night and Fog. Filmed in 1955 at Auschwitz, this ½ hour documentary is a classic
Fateless. This is a movie based on the novel Fatelessness (see above). Excellent.
The Nazi Officer’s Wife. A documentary of a wife of a notorious Nazi war criminal who has Jewish ancestry.
Rosenstrasse. Based upon the true story of the German women who, during World War II, protested the internment of their Jewish husbands in a building located on Rosenstrasse, a street in Berlin.
The Sorrow and the Pity; Marcel Ophul’s acclaimed documentary chronicles how residents of a small French industrial city coped under Nazi occupation.
Blind spot: Hitler’s Secretary; Traudl Junge, who served as Adolf Hitler’s secretary from 1942 to 1945, speaks about life in the Third Reich and the days leading up to Hitler’s death.
Downfall. This movie recreates Hitler’s last days in his bunker.
Shoa. A famous 9 1/2 hour documentary directed by Claude Lanzmann.
Image Before My Eyes: A History of Jewish Life in Poland before the Holocaust
The Last Days. Winner of the 1998 Academy Award for Best Documentary focuses on the lives of five Hungarian Holocaust survivors