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English 1114--Comp II

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1114 TEXTBOOKS, READINGS,

 
and other RESOURCES

               

This page lists the physical and online resources that are required or optional in this course.  It also shows a number of additional online resources that you can use for finding good research articles for your research papers, finding help with bibliographies and with editing, using films for extra or make-up credit, and other resources.  You may scroll down or click here on the following sections on this page:

PHYSICAL RESOURCES REQUIRED FOR 1114

ONLINE RESOURCES REQUIRED FOR 1114

ADDITIONAL ONLINE RESOURCES

THEORIES TO USE FOR YOUR "ANALYSIS PAPER"

GREENHAVEN PRESS BOOKS/ARTICLES RELATED TO 1114

RELATED FILMS

  

NOTE: If the IHCC Bookstore has run out of a book that it had ordered for the course, you may place an order with the Bookstore if you'd like to purchase from the Bookstore. This ensures that the Bookstore can get what you need as quickly as possible, hopefully withn a few days. While placing an order through the Bookstore's website is the most efficient way for you to get your book quickly, you can also fill out order forms in the store.

    

PHYSICAL RESOURCES REQUIRED FOR 1114


TEXTBOOK 1: Everyone must buy
The Transition to College Writing, 2nd ed., by Keith Hjortshoj. This book is in the bookstore, with enough copies for everyone. It also might be in the library, or online at a cheaper, used-book rate, at a place like Amazon.com (but if you get it from Amazon, order it quickly!!!).

You must also read two "reading books" (or the equivalent) this semester.  The first one, book "Reading Book A" below, is a book required of everyone--but you have your choice among eight possibilities.  The second book, "B" below, is required, but you have an even larger number of choices from which to pick.

NOTE #1: Theme for the Course Reading Books.
The theme for all reading books this semester is
"WOMEN WHO THRIVE." They are about women who have been victims, survived, and now most of whom, individually, are thriving--are doing very well.

NOTE #2: Changing Books. If you don't like any book you've chosen, you may switch to a different book for the following week.

NOTE #3: Disturbing Content.
Please be warned that some of the materials in this course may upset some people or be a trigger for those who have experienced a traumatic event or have a history of PTSD. The eight books listed below from which you are choosing to start the course, along with discussions about them, and also the occasional film in class may mention such topics as physical and emotional violence, especially against women or children; modern slavery; the Holocaust; sexuality; and/or war. You are always welcome to choose--or ask for--alternatives to readings that are emotionally too difficult for you to read. And if a class event is too emotionally difficult for you, you are always welcome to simply leave as if you already arranged to do so with me, your teacher. And you will be able to make up any such misses with a similar amount of extra credit time. If you are concerned about a possible trigger, please consult with me, your instructor, or contact Disability Services at Inver Hills College, for assistance in developing an appropriate alternative plan.
   

"READING BOOK A"

WEEKS 2-4, REQUIRED
 

Assignment: Choose a first reading book from among these eight books, listed in alphabetical order here. (All eight of these books are excellent books, but the ones marked with asterisks -- **** -- are the ones most highly recommended by critics and by me, and also are the ones most intellectually challenging.)

Five Chimneys by Olga Lengyel

Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein****

girl soldier by Faith J.H. McDonnell and Grace Akallo

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Cheryl WuDunn****

Lucky by Alice Sebold

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

"A Problem from Hell" - America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power****

Slave by Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis

(or choose any book from the 2nd Required Reading List)

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Details about these eight books, and the reading assignment for each one:

Choose one of these eight books, listed here in alphabetical order, for your first reading book (for early in the semester). And for your second reading book (for mid-semester), either see the "2nd Required Reading" list for more books, or choose another of the books in this list of eight. (Or you may use the "2nd Required Reading" list to choose your first book, instead of using the list below.)

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Five Chimneys by Olga Lengyel.  Reading Level: H.S./Early College.  Publisher: Academy Chicago.  The wide, tall paper-bound  ("trade") size  is cheapest.  Libraries and Bookstores in General: Some have it.   Amazon.com w/credit card: used copies may or may not be cheap; add $4 postage; allow 2 wks. 

Description: Lengyel’s book, subtitled “A Woman Survivor’s True Story of Auschwitz,” is about how she, a young, beautiful wife of a hospital director, survived after her family was killed and she was interned in Birchenau and Auschwitz, two of the most famous Nazi concentration camps.  The New Yorker calls it a surprisingly dispassionate account of life in the Nazi murder camps…and the mentality of the persons who administered it.”  Other reviewers on the cover call the book “a stark account…vividly articulated,” “a picture of utter hell,” and “passionate, tormenting.”

Reading Assignment: Before starting, look at the “Glossary” in the very back.  Then read as follows.  First Reading: Chapters I-II.  Second Reading: Chapters III-VI.  Third Reading: Chapters VII-X.  Fourth Reading: Chapters XI-XV.

AND/OR

****Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein. Reading Level: Early College. Amazon.com w/credit card: used copies may or may not be cheap; add $4 postage; allow 2 wks. IHCC Bookstore: Some copies available. If there is a paper-bound version now available, it will be cheaper than the hardbound. Libraries and Bookstores in General: Most have it.

This book was a Time magazine Top-Ten Book of the Year. It is at a  college level of reading, and perhaps is the most difficult of the books on this list to read--primarily because it is research oriented. However, it does also have a great many stories of young women in it. If the subject interests you, it's worth the work. Amazon.com says, "Drawing on in-depth interviews with over seventy young women and a wide range of psychologists, academics, and experts, renowned journalist Peggy Orenstein goes where most others fear to tread, pulling back the curtain on the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important possibilities of girls’ sex lives in the modern world. While the media has focused—often to sensational effect—on the rise of casual sex and the prevalence of rape on campus, in Girls and Sex Peggy Orenstein brings much more to the table. She examines the ways in which porn and all its sexual myths have seeped into young people’s lives; what it means to be the “the perfect slut” and why many girls scorn virginity; the complicated terrain of hookup culture and the unfortunate realities surrounding assault."  (See beginning at Girls and Sex.)

Reading Assignment: This requires concentration, so read about 25-30 pp. per week. Choose any chapter or chapters that interest you--feel free to jump around in it.

AND/OR

girl soldier by Faith J.H. McDonnell and Grace Akallo. Reading Level: High School. Amazon.com w/credit card: used copies will be cheap; add $4 postage; allow 2 wks. IHCC Bookstore: Some copies available. Buy the cheaper paper-bound (trade) version. Libraries and Bookstores in General: Many have it.

This is a 8th-9th gr. reading-level true story of an African girl kidnapped from a convent and forced to become a child soldier in Africa, told from a Christian perspective. The chapters alternate, in turn, between background info of the political situation in Uganda (in Africa) at that time, and the story as told by the girl herself, Grace, when she is older and has escaped her captors.  There is Christian commentary in places; however, whether readers are Christian or not, the background and Grace's stories are accurate retellings of the horribly violent and infamous Congolese-Ugandan "Lord's Resistance Army" (LRA) of mostly child soldiers led by its insane commander, Joseph Kony.  Kony, for close to two decades, has variously styled himself a spokesperson for God, the reincarnation of Jesus, and a medium for thirteen spirits.  He has been responsible for creating over 60,000 child soldiers and sex slaves and the displacement of over a million Africans from their villages. (See beginning at girl soldier.)

Reading Assignment: This is very easy reading, and about 15% of the book is pictures and white space on pages. This needs to be read in order, so start at the beginning. Read the following: 1st wk.: pp. 5-51 and carefully examine the map; 2nd wk.:, pp. 52-100; 3rd wk.: 100-148; 4th wk.: 148-195. (Pp. 196-226 are call-to-action/advocacy pages that are not required but may be read as extra credit.

AND/OR

****Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Cheryl WuDunn. Reading Level: College. Amazon.com w/credit card: used copies will be cheaper; add $4 postage; allow 2 wks. IHCC Bookstore: Some copies available. Buy the cheaper paper-bound (trade) version. Libraries and Bookstores in General: Most have it.

The authors interview a number of women throughout poor areas of the world. The result is an award-winning series of true stories, chapter by chapter, mixed with discussion about them. The book has an early- to mid-college reading-level. The stories are about injustices that poor, third-world women have had done to them, and how they have survived, recovered, and built new lives helping other women. The authors, who are married, are among the top journalists in the U.S. They have traveled to several countries to find these true-life examples of various women in poverty who have pulled themselves up by their own efforts and with just a little help from outsiders to start. Each chapter tells the story of one to three new women in a different country or continent. (See beginning at Half the Sky.)

Reading Assignment: This is perhaps the second-most-difficult book to read of these six listed here, but it's not that hard. However, it's stories and discussion are "episodic," meaning the book doesn't have a continuous story like four of the others listed here: each chapter goes to a new location in the world, and new people. Feel free to jump around in it, choosing whatever chapters most interest you: read about 25-30 pages per week.
  

AND/OR

Lucky by Alice Sebold. Reading Level: Upper High School/Lower College. Amazon.com w/credit card: used copies will be cheap; add $4 postage; allow 2 wks. IHCC Bookstore: Some copies available. Buy the cheapest paper-bound version. Libraries and Bookstores in General: Most have it.

In this relatively easy-to-read (but sometimes painful, sad, and angry) nonfiction book, Sebold describes her own rape and recovery.  Reviewers call it "inspirational," even "exhilarating," "ironic" and "nervy" (Francine Prose, Elle magazine); "stunningly crafted and unsparing" (Kirkus Reviews); and "gruesome and strangely enchanting" (Newsday).  Newsday adds, "The quiet achievement of Sebold's memoir of her rape as a college freshman is that she handles her subject with the integrity of a journalist and the care of a survivor." (See the beginning at Lucky.)

Warning: If you have gone through something like this yourself, you may not want to read this book—reading it may be too painful or depressing, and/or you may find it too difficult to work with it repeatedly by researching the subject and book.

Reading Assignment: This book is 243 pp. long and reads easily, like a story.  Simply choose any 35-40 pp. each week.
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AND/OR

Nickel and Dimed—On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Reading Level: Upper High School/Lower College. Amazon.com w/credit card: used copies will be cheap; add $4 postage; allow 2 wks. IHCC Bookstore: Some copies available. Buy the cheaper paper-bound (trade) version. Libraries and Bookstores in General: Most have it.

This nonfiction book is about a female journalist trying to live on low-paying jobs across America to see what it is like. It highlights how America’s poor are not getting by on their low-paying jobs, especially when it comes to poor women--of any color. The author “moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson” and “soon discovered that even the lowliest” occupations require exhaustive mental and physical efforts.  And one job is not enough…if you intend to live indoors.”  The book “reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity.”  The New York Times Book Review says, We have [this author] to thank for bringing us the news of America’s working poor so clearly…” (Back cover of book). See the beginning at Nickel and Dimed.)

Reading Assignment: Read the introduction. Then simply choose any 30-35 pp. each week of reading.  (If you wish, you are welcome to start with the introduction and then read part or all of the Minnesota section first, pp. 121-191). 

AND/OR

****"A Problem from Hell" - America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power.  Reading Level: Higher College/Grad. School.  620 pp. with an Index.  Publisher: Harper Perennial.  The wide, tall paperbound  ("trade") size is cheapest.  IHCC Bookstore: 1-2 copies available.  Open circulation at IHCC Library: 2 copies. Libraries and Bookstores in General: Almost all have it.   Amazon.com w/credit card: used copies may be cheap; add $4 postage; allow 2 wks. 

Description (Strongly Recommended): This 2002 book has won so many awards that just listing them would take too much space.  The most prestigious is the Pulitzer Prize (the top U.S. journalism award) for the best nonfiction book of the year.  The author, Power, a foreign policy columnist at Time magazine and a professor at Harvard, traveled the world researching how genocide develops and why the United States has chosen not to intervene in the early parts of every single genocide in the past 100 years.  Her prose is vivid, her style insistent, and her facts overwhelming.  

Reading Assignment: Start with the 11-page "Preface."  Each chapter is about a different genocide in history and in various parts of the world.  It is okay to skip around, choosing different chapters in any order you want.  Read a total of about 20-25 pp. per week. 

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AND/OR Reading Level: High School. Amazon.com w/credit card: used copies will be cheap; add $4 postage; allow 2 wks. IHCC Bookstore: Some copies available. Buy the cheaper paper-bound (trade) version. Libraries and Bookstores in General: Many have it.

Slave Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis.

This is a true story of a recent, very poor, third-world, African child, Mende Nazer, who tells her story to Lewis. Nazer was, as a young teenager, stolen from her North African mountain village and sold as a slave, all in very recent times. This all happens in today's Middle East, and Nazer even was a slave for the last few years in the very modern, major European city of London. She proves she is bright and resourceful by finally escaping her slave-owning family and finding some justice--and the need for a lot of growth--after her many years of captivity. (See beginning at Slave.)

Reading Assignment: This is easy reading, so read about 35-40 pages a week. Start at the very beginning, but feel free to skip forward to the slave raiders' raid on the village, if you wish, to get to the "good parts" sooner.  You may also skip/skim forward to other parts that you find more interesting, as the book is too long to finish in three-four weeks at 40 pp./wk.

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"READING BOOK B"

WEEKS 5-7, REQUIRED

 

Assignment: For Weeks 5-7, choose a second reading book. You may either choose it from the above "A" list (choose a 2nd bk. from it), or you may choose this 2nd book from the "2nd Required Reading" options list.

Click here on  "2nd Required Reading" to see this additional list. 

Notes about the books on this "2nd Required Reading" list:

The Library will have one or two copies of some of these books,  and the bookstore will have one or a few copies of some others.  Not all will be available in the Library or the bookstore. So, look early, be prepared to order online if necessary, and be ready by Week 5 to start the second-book readings.  (Note: the bookstore will not have copies available until the beginning of Week 3 of classes.)

 

Please look over all of the directions --and see the titles on the entire list--before you choose.  

                                 

Special Notes:

Note 1, AMAZON.COM purchases can be useful. 

Note 2, A BOOK OF YOUR OWN: Sometimes this is okay with my permission.  

Note 4, EXTRA CREDIT: Extra reading from below is allowed for extra credit.  

Note 5, USING ANOTHER  LIBRARY:  See below, "Find in a Library."

   

ONLINE RESOURCES REQUIRED FOR 1114
    

"Course Packet for Eng 1114":  This is a required resource, and it is free online.  You'll need it right away.  It must be printed out.  Clicking on the link just above, right here, will take you to a page that explains how to print it.  Do not use MS Works to print it out.  You must use MS Word.  If you do not have MS Word at home, then buy and install it, or use the school's computers.  All of the IHCC computer labs have MS Word.  You may print it free in the IHCC computer labs.  (In addition to the main open computer lab, there is a smaller one in the back of the Writing Center, which is in the middle of the 2nd floor of the "Library" building) with perhaps 15 or 20 computers and a printer.)


Email and Use of School Computers: (1) Have you activated your StarID system?  You'll need to do this in order to get into computers at Inver.  If you have not activated it, please go to
www.inverhills.edu/starid/index.aspx.

(2) Please be sure the school has your most recent personal email address that you use for receiving email!  I will collect these from an automated system the school keeps in D2L, and I will send you emails about class or school matters once or twice a week, on average.  If you need me to use a different email address than the school has listed for you, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!  I'll be glad to change it in my own email lists.  (However, I cannot change it for you in the college's email lists--only you can do that.)  If you need to change your officially IHCC-listed email address, go to www.inverhills.edu/starid/index.aspx.

    

WritingforCollege.org (or WforC.org), our main textbook:  It is a fully-online, complete composition textbook.  This is a textbook that I have written and placed on the Web.  One of the reasons I have placed it on the Web is so that you can save money.  Similar textbooks can cost $50-120, but this textbook is free.   

     

Online Discussion Boards/D2L: Click here or access them on the home page by clicking on the "Bull. Boards" box. You will not need this link if this section of our class is not having class meetings/discussions on D2L. 

     

Online Grammar Handbook, an alternative grammar handbook that lists grammar links.  You also can find a link to this grammar handbook in WritingforCollege.org.  (Other online grammar books with actual lessons in them that you may want to try include Elements of Style by Strunk, Grammar, Punctuation, and Capitalization by Mary McCaskill (NASA), and the Purdue University Writing Center grammar guides.) 

  
ADDITIONAL ONLINE RESOURCES
    

(1) An automated Web bibliography-entry maker called NoodleTools.  Use of this is required. IHCC has a schoolwide subscription to this bibliography-making service. It is free for you to use.  You simply type in the author's names, titles, publisher, etc., and it will create a perfect bibliography entry (in MLA or APA) for you.  Correct bibliography entries will be required in your Draft 3 papers.  Just click here on NoodleTools to start.  We will spend part of a class period in a computer lab allowing you to sign up for it and learning how to use it.

(2) Google Scholar: Go to http://scholar.google.com to find online scholarly and professional articles.

(3) "Find in a Library": You can go to Google or Yahoo to find your choice of books in a library.  Follow these simple steps (which worked the last time I tried a year or two ago):

  1. Go to www.Google.com or www.Yahoo.com.

  2. Use its search engine as normal, except start with the words "find in a library."  For example, if you were trying to find Shakepeare's Romeo and Juliet in this way, you would type the following into the search engine box:
        
         find in a library romeo and juliet shakespeare

  3. When when the name of the play comes up, click on "Find a Library."

  4. And then, in the new window, add your zip code.  You'll get a list of libraries having your book (including the Inver Hills Community College Library).  More details are available at http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/open/about.htm

(4) The IHCC English Dept. Web Site, inverhills.edu/departments/EnglishThis Web site not only tells you a lot about the English Department, its courses, and its teachers, but also helps you find a number of other English and writing resources.

(5) Online Libraries:  

www.inverhills.mnscu.edu/Library (IHCC) 
http://composition.cla.umn.edu/student_web/libraries_research.htm

(6) Online Tutorial in Researching Using Libraries:

http://www.inverhills.edu/library/searchPathClassic/index.html

(7) Online Reference Books and Other Research Links:

http://www.inverhills.mnscu.edu/Library/resource.htm 
http://composition.cla.umn.edu/student_web/libraries_research.htm 

(8) Online Help with Bibliographies & Quotations Using MLA, APA, and Other Styles:

Online Grammar Handbook 
www.inverhills.mnscu.edu/Library/MLA%20handout.htm 
www.bedfordstmartins.com/online/citex.html 
Online Guide to Writing and Research 
Purdue University Writing Center research guides 

(9) Online resources about Sierra Leone and Africa: www.richard.jewell.net/SierraLeone.    A list of Web sites, books, articles, films, and other resources about Sierra Leone and Africa, many very useful for research and study in this course. 

(10) Web Links: 

http://www.yale.edu/gsp/: Yale University Genocide Studies Web site.

http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/deadlymedicine/: "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race" [Macromedia Flash Player].  "Over its twelve-year history, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has certainly never avoided tackling immensely controversial and important subjects, and this latest online feature is certainly no exception to this trend. Designed to complement a current exhibition at the Museum, this site looks at the ways in which the Nazi regime attempted to transform the genetic makeup of the population through the use of eugenics. Legitimized by numerous trained scientists, these ideas surrounding “racial hygiene” were tested through experiments on “imperfect” human beings who were perceived as biological threats. Within the site, visitors can view a video introduction by the Museum’s curator, Dr. Susan Bachrach, and a number of rather interesting video testimonies on the subjects of genetics and eugenics by various experts. Additionally, visitors can also view profiles of the physicians and scientists involved in these activities. It should be noted that there is a remark on the site’s homepage that states that the exhibition is “…recommended for visitors of 11 years and older.”

THEORIES TO USE FOR YOUR "ANALYSIS PAPER"

Directions: Your best bet is to look for theories that you already know, either from reading about them and/or, better yet, from living or experiencing them.   While you are free to play with these theories, be sure that you do understand what they mean before you try to use them.
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Find Your Own: Use www.Google.com and write "_____ theory" with the name or type of theory written in the blank.

General List of Theories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_theories

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Creation: www.crystalinks.com/creation.html

Criminology: www.crimetheory.com/explorations.htm

Feminism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_theory

Literary Criticism (advanced): www.kristisiegel.com/theory.htm#phenom

Nursing: http://healthsci.clayton.edu/eichelberger/nursing.htm

Political Science: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_science

Psychology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Psychological_theories, www.psy.pdx.edu/PsiCafe/KeyTheorists, http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/perscontents.html (personality theories)

Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/contents.html, www.rep.routledge.com/signpost-articles, www.iep.utm.edu,

Religion/s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_religious_groups

    

GREENHAVEN PRESS BOOKS/ARTICLES RELATED TO THIS COURSE

You also may go to the IHCC Library (or any large library) and find numerous articles within books on subjects used in this course from the following series, below.  Just ask a librarian to help you if you can't find them easily using a library computer search: 

Opposing Viewpoints Books/Pamphlets

"At Issue in History" Books/Pamphlets.

"At Issue" Series, Books/Pamphlets

 

RELATED FILMS

You may watch any documentary films (real, true-life films, not made up stories.  To watch story films--films "based on" true stories but not actual documentaries--see only those from the approved lists below (or get permission from me). 
 

NOTE: If you watch related fiction (made up) films, they will be worth only a fraction of the usual extra credit, and they still must be related to the course and on the list below, or watched with permission from me. for the usual amount of extra credit, remember that you must watch documentary (true) films.

Some of the ways you can write are as follows (choose one method or several):

  1. Simply summarize the film and/or comment on it in such a way that I can tell you watched as much of it as you say you did.

  2. And/or write a crtiical review or evaluation of it using one of those two chapters in www.WritingforCollege.org.  

  3. And/or answer any or all of the following general questions:

    • What was the basic story line, plot, or narrative line of the film (in a sentence or a paragraph)?

    • Who were the main people?

    • When and where did it happen?  Are the times and places significant?

    • How or why did the main event the film discusses happen?  What are some causes and effects?

    • What was the high point of the film for you?  Why/how?

    • What was the low point of it for you?  Why/how?

    • Who would be the best audience for this film (and/or the worst audience)?

    • What do you think is the "moral of the story" of this film - what should people get out of it or take home from it?  Why?

FILMS ABOUT SIERRA LEONE AND AFRICA:

Cry Freetown, 2000, 27 min. Sorious Samura, Director. www.bmetv.net/video/1495/cry-freetown-a-shocking-documentary.
First produced for CNN, it shows the violence and victims of the 1990s war in Sierra Leone. It has won Emmy, Peabody, and other awards. Non-rated, it would receive an X rating on broadcast TV for brief images of killing and torture.

See also (click on) Sierra Leone Resources - Films
  

FILMS ABOUT WOMEN AS VICTIMS:

Half the Sky is also a series of films.  There are three two-hour segments, with each segment in two parts.  In other words, there are six segments of one hour each.  Each segment talks about two to four women in a particular part of the world or involved in a particular type of discrimination or maltreatment.  The films are not only excellent on their own but also absolutely suburb as an introduction and aid to understanding the book.

A Very Long Engagement, 2004, French (English subtitles).  ***.  Though this is fiction--an action/romance/drama--it is an excellent introduction to how world wars affected women.  It stars Emilie Tatou.  World War I battlefield "No-Man's Land" scenes are interspersed with a young woman's attempt to find her missing soldier fiancé.  Starts slowly and gently, builds to painful intensity, has heart-aching ending.  

 

FILMS ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST (by Vicky Knickerbocker)
Click here on "Holocaust Films," or scroll down  to the next section, immediately below, for additional films about the Holocaust.
  
FILMS ABOUT NON-AFRICAN WAR AND VICTIMS OF WAR

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State. ***½.-****.  563 min.  1985.   Documentary.  This PBS documentary goes inside one of the very largest and worst holocaust concentration camps to examine its day to day workings.  While slow moving at times and showing only interviews of holocaust survivors,  some people have called this the greatest documentary film ever made.  This is because the film is "a carefully constructed collection of memories that are as moving, as vivid, and as meaningful as any other work of art dealing with the Holocaust" (www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/shoah.php).  It is an excellent introduction to the subject, though it is perhaps not as compelling or original as Memory of the Camps and Night and Fog.

              

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  ***½.  About 1½ hrs.  2008.  Fiction.  I just got home from seeing this powerful drama with a tragic ending.  An 8-year old boy moves with his family to a house near a concentration camp in WW II Germany because his father becomes the new officer in charge of the camp.  The film is seen from the boy's point of view as he secretly befriends another boy the same age in the camp, with the two of them meeting each day at the barbed wire fence between them.  The film is excellent in reflecting the times and cultures of German middle-class officialdom and the camp itself.  Be ready for a shock at the end. 

       

Fog of War ***½.  About 1½ hrs.  2003.  Documentary.  This award-winning documentary is an interview of Robert McNamara, chief architect of the Vietnam War for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, interspersed with authentic battle scenes.  Both intellectual and dramatic, this "ten lessons about war" is a good overall view of how--and how not--to wage war, physically and politically.  (See also Why We Fight below.) 

     

Genocide.  ***½.  83 min.  1981.  Documentary.  This is the first Holocaust film to win an Oscar: it received the 1981 Academy Award for best feature-length documentary.  It is an excellent, well-told film that provides strong historical narrative summary of how the Holocaust developed and what it entailed.  Excellent still and moving photography captures brilliant and terrible moments.  Produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and introduced by Wiesenthal himself, it is narrated by Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Welles.  Newsweek called it "unforgettable...an unabashed assault on the emotions," and The New York Times described it as chilling and forceful, profoundly harrowing."

            

The Genocide Factor, 4-part series, 57 minutes each: (1) "Genocide: From Biblical Times Through the Ages"; (2) "Genocide in the First Half of the 20th Century"; (3) "Never Again? Genocide Since the Holocaust"; and (4) "Genocide: The Horror Continues."  Films Media Group, their producer, describes them as follows: "Massacres and brutality riddle humankind’s past. Introduced by Academy Award-winning actor John Voight, this series presents the definitive, most comprehensive overview of the history of genocide. With the aid of an impressive array of scholars, experts, eyewitnesses, and survivors from around the world, the programs examine the complex dimensions of human nature’s darkest side. Viewer discretion is advised."  To see a preview clip of this series, go to http://www.films.com/id/4106/The_Genocide_Factor.htm.  These four films are on reserve in the Inver Hills College Library; you may watch any one or more.  

             

The Last Days.  ***½.  87 min.  1998.  Documentary.  This film won the 1998 Academy Award Oscar for "Best Documentary Feature."  It was made by Steven Spielberg and the Shoah Foundation.  The DVD jacket says that "this powerful film traces the compelling experiences of five Hungarian Holocaust survivors who fell victim to Hitler's brutal war agains the Jews during the final days of World War II" and includes "historical footage and a rare interview with a former Nazi doctor at Auschwitz."  The DVD also has additional photos..  

    

Life Is Beautiful***½.  2 hrs., 1998.  Fiction.  Stars Roberto Benigni.  This is a tale of a man who keeps his young son miraculously alive in a concentration camp through the father's heroic efforts and his ability to turn hiding into a game.  While the setting and the supposition that a child could be hidden for years seem at first fanciful, the acting more than makes up for it.  Benigni won an Academy Award Oscar for this.  

              

The Memory of the Camps.  ****.  60 min., 1945.  Documentary.  Alfred Hitchcock, treatment advisor. This short, British, film is a must-see experience for anyone who wants to know the true horrors of concentration camps.  It shows real scenes from the liberation of the concentration camps at the end of World War II.  Gruesome, journalistically accurate, and shocking views of corpses and of people whose bodies are so ravaged that they look like they should be dead.  (Do not watch with young children.)

Night and Fog, ***½, 31 min., 1955.  Documentary.  Alain Resnais, Director.  This multiple award-winning film, with stark realism and contrasts, was made of a combination of archival footage of two concentration camps, Auschwitz and Majdanek, and a later return to them.  (Do not watch with young children.)

    

The Pianist.  ***½.  Stars Adrienne Brody.  Fiction based on a true story.  This story about a top European classical pianist hiding for years from the Nazis in increasingly terrible conditions is, while it might be somewhat depressing to some, is a very emotionally rich and beautiful film, and the music in it is gorgeous.  Brody won an Academy Award Oscar for his portrayal.  

              

Prisoner of Paradise, 90 min., 2002. ***.  Fiction based on a true story.  This well received movie is a dramatic fictional recreation of how World War II Nazis forced real-life actor and filmmaker Kurt Gerron, incarcerated in a concentration camp, to make a propaganda movie portraying concentration camp life in positive images. 

     

Schindler's List, 195 min., 1993. Stephen Spielberg, Director.  ****.  Fiction based on a true story.  A dramatic and compelling fictional recreation of the real story of a German industrialist  who uses his hiring of prisoners from a concentration camp as a way of saving the prisoners.  It has some painfully real scenes about Nazi concentration camps and provides a good understanding of the camps from survivors' viewpoints. 

                       

Turtles Can Fly, 2005. 97 min.  ***.  Fiction.  English subtitles.  Turtles is "the first film shot in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein" (DVD cover).  It is a culturally and psychologically fascinating and ultimately heart-breaking story of a band of Kurdish youths orphaned by the many military skirmishes between the northern-Iraq ethnic Kurds and the southern-Iraq Sunnis under Hussein.  They make do by working hard under the leadership of an older boy known as "Satellite" because he knows how to install TV dishes.  Though fiction, it accurately reflects what many orphans throughout second- and third-world countries suffer.  TV Guide calls the movie a "timely masterpiece." 

              

Triumph of the Spirit, 1989.  116 min.  ***.  Fiction.  Stars Willem Dafoe and Edward James Olmos.  "Nazis force Greek boxer Salamo Arouch into fight-to-the-death bouts in the extermination camps at Auschwitz in Poland" (Warner Time Cable).  In the cut version, you don't actually see boxers dying, but the film--which apparently is based on a true story--has a good portrayal of what it was like for both men and women to live day to day in Auschwitz, one of the most infamous of the Nazi concentration camps.

     

A Very Long Engagement, 2004, French (English subtitles).  ***.  Fiction--action/romance/drama.  Stars Emilie Tatou.  The World War I battlefield "No-Man's Land" scenes are interspersed with a young woman's attempt to find her missing soldier fiancé.  Starts slowly and gently, builds to painful intensity, has heart-aching ending.

     

Why We Fight, Dir. Eugene Jarecki, 2006, ***½, PG-13.  Documentary.  This is styled in many ways like Fog of War, above, but is especially more relevant to those too young to remember the Vietnam War.  It interviews both high decision makers and individuals involved in making war, provides a background of General and President Dwight Eisenhower's concerns about the military-industrial complex, and uses this concern--and the 1990s-2009 "neo-con" movement (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al.) to wage first-strike wars--as themes.  It is the kind of film probably considered one-sided by some people now but is likely, given all the documentation, to be thought of as a factually accurate and moving documentary ten years from now. Action/romance/drama. 

        

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