Decoda’s Summer Reading: Trish Weatherall

Join us every Wednesday in July and August and learn about the Decoda staff’s summer reading picks. Today Trish Weatherall, Decoda’s Communications Specialist, shares her interest in historical fiction.

Historical fiction helps us learn, acknowledge, heal and recover.

Historical fiction and memoirs are my favourite way to learn about history. It’s the personal stories that really give you a sense of what it was like and how it felt to live during a different time.

The Berlin Girl by Mandy Robotham reads like an action-packed mystery, although you already know how it ends. The story reveals the dark world of Hitler’s pre-World War II Germany as witnessed by international journalists – long before world leaders were ready to acknowledge it. I love the main character’s point of view as a British female reporter working in Germany – under the pseudonym “George”. Through her eyes we see the rights of German Jews gradually taken away and the growing abuse and violence against them. Through Georgie, we meet a Jewish family struggling to stay together and we meet a deceptively charming Nazi soldier for bone-chilling insight into how a generation was swept away by Nazi propaganda. She struggles to outwit Nazi censorship with her ‘Postcards from Berlin’ and yet paints a picture that implores readers to see the reality.

We learn about history so that we do not repeat past mistakes. Germany acknowledges its genocidal past and it teaches the truth about the horrific consequences of Nazi ideology to its young people. Today, Canada faces its own historical pain and shame of Indigenous genocide and marginalization, and we too must acknowledge and teach the truth.

These are six books by Indigenous authors that can help us learn, acknowledge, heal and recover:

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