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3 War Books - Real Life Experiences of Innocent Humans : Book Reviews & Book Recommendations

Updated: Apr 17

Given below are 3 war books and real life experiences of Innocent Humans:

1. ‘The Pianist of Yarmouk’ by Aeham Ahmad: Book Review & Book Recommendation

Photograph of the Book - 'The Pianist of Yarmouk' by Aeham Ahmad

This is just not a book, it’s a story of a Pianist and the struggles of millions of Refugees in Syria as the civil war made life wretched in those days. The book has the details of Mr. Aeham Ahmad and his father, who has unfortunately lost his vision and his struggle to make Aeham Ahmad a musician. Life was better before 2010 but unfortunately the problem started from 17 December 2010, when a Tunisian vegetable merchant Mohamed Bouazizi poured petrol over himself and set himself on fire. His death created an uproar in Tunisia and mass protest started gripping the country. In those times, people in Syria started saying that ‘Syria is not Tunisia’ and that thought that what happened in Egypt and Tunisia will have no effect in Syria.

Later most educated middle class in those times started chanting ‘God, Syria, Freedom and nothing else’ whereas the then Government followers chanted the slogan ‘God, Syria, Bashar and nothing else’. Yarmouk was a place where most refugees from Palestine used to live. People residing in Yarmouk initially did not want to take any sides, since in times of conflict as per the author Ahmad, the refugees would have been the scapegoats.

Later this Yarmouk was completely sealed off and due to the seize and other tortures, Yarmouk slowly became a ghost town. In the words of the author Aeham Ahmad,

‘The shouting of the salesman, the laughter of children, the joyous cries of mothers, the boys whistling after the girls, the girls – seemingly annoyed – speeding up their steps, Abu Mohammed smoking his shisha at the corner, Abu Balila, hawking his chickpeas – all gone.
… Yesterday, a half a million people lived here. And now? There were maybe 50,000 people left, at most. It was as if a deadly virus has decimated the population.’

As per the author, there were snippers everywhere and slight movements which seemed suspicious made them to shoot and the reason left several innocents dead. There was an incident when a man tried to collect some radish and crouched down to pick. Then everyone heard a shot. The man felt to the ground lying in the grass, covered in blood. This is just one of an instances among several such incident.

With no food and water, the remaining surviving people in Yarmouk shuffled morosely through the deserted street. As per the author, people were aging very fast. Even the author who weighed 65 kilos was only 49. There was no food or ration.

The fighting between rebels and Government forces made the life of ordinary human miserable. As per the author, in late August 2014, with Yarmouk still sealed off from the rest of the world, the bombs continued to fall, and snipers were hiding on the rooftops. These made impossible for the local residents to leave, and their supplies were also cut off.

In all these conditions, even Ahem was hurt with a grenade splinter once, but he recovered. He still played the piano sometimes in the ramshackle streets, sometimes near some person’s house, sometimes inside his musical shop, so as to sing and forget the pain the war has brought into their lives.

Later Ahem started singing with small children. It brought happiness in their mind. But one day a great tragedy happened. In the words of the author.

‘We pushed the piano into the middle of the street. The children waited near the building, where it was safer. I opened the piano lid. Marwan was ready and nodded. I closed my eyes and started to play a song….I nodded at the kids, giving them their clue to start singing. Their clear, bright voices echoed through the street. It felt good, and I closed my eyes for a moment.
...Then I heard a shot. I opened my eyes – and saw Zeinab lying on the ground, to my right. Blood was seeping from her head.

Finally, when Zeinab was taken to the hospital, Zeinab was declared dead.

Ahem was completely broken and finally after many struggles when he finally reached Germany through Turkey, he could tell his story about his life, his struggles, his suffering of his family Tahani, his wife and his two sons, Ahmad and Kinan to the world. Later he was joined by his family, father and mother to Germany.

At the end, the author mentions the story behind the photo that went around the world, of a man in a green shirt playing the piano amid the rubble. And, as anyone who sees it will know, the photo can never tell you what happened before or what came after.

Aeham Ahmad, born in Damascus in 1988, grew up in Yarmouk, a suburb of Damascus. He studied music education in Homs and worked as a music teacher. In 2015, he was forced to flee to Germany because of the war in Syria. Today he lives with his family in Wiesbaden and does concerts all over Europe. In December 2015, Ahmad was awarded the International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights.

War does not do any good to anyone. It creates extreme hardships for ordinary human beings and many people and children dies due to starvation. Sometimes, I feel, is War a solution to any problem? Why cannot we stay in peace? Every time a War starts, it creates huge number of refugees and ordinary people have to leave their own homes. It’s suffering everywhere. I only hope that the world never has to take this extreme step as it leads to nowhere except suffering for millions. I only pray that let Peace be established in the world.

I read the book and if I have to rate the book on 10 Stars and 10 being the highest, I will give the book 9 stars.

(Please Note: The above are my own personal thoughts after going through the book. Your views, facts, and opinions after reading the book may differ)

This is all from me in this short article. Hope you have liked my personal thoughts and opinions. Please share your thoughts or comments on the Book Review and Book Recommendation of the book 'The Pianist of Yarmouk' by Aeham Ahmad.

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2. ‘The Happiest Man on Earth’ by Eddie Jaku: Book Review & Book Recommendation

Photo Credit: Amazon Kindle Book (Photo of the book taken from Kindle Books

It took me almost a week to read the book, ‘The Happiest Man on Earth’. It’s just not a book to read, it’s a collection of a story of an individual, his struggle to live in this world and his love for all human beings. As I write, I do not have any words to express my emotions, my feelings, my thoughts after I completed the book. I learnt a lot and the necessity to live a happy and joyful life. Our lives are magnificent, if we only think that it’s wonderful. The story of Eddie and his horrible experiences during World War II and the way he survived is sure to bring all humans emotions from the deep fathom of one’s heart.

Eddie was born in 1920 in a city called Leipzig, in the eastern part of Germany and his name was Abraham Salomon Jakubowicz. Eddie was closely connected to his mother, Lina and his father Isidore. Eddie’s father was a German Citizen and could be an immigrant from Poland as mentioned by him in this book. From Eddie’s book, I came to know that Eddie had a very happy family and virtuous father. However World War II changed everything in their life. Hate and Evil took over humans and friends became enemies. Smiling neighbours took vouch to destroy other neighbourhoods. The Jews were the targets. Eddie; a Jew did not escape the wrath and what happened with him was something which words will fail to describe in words.

Evil started torturing Eddie and he mentioned about the worst nature of humankind, the horrors of the death camps and struggle each moment to save from the atrocities of human worst emotions — HATE.

It was on 9 November, 1938 when Eddie made his mistake to visit his hometown. It was here he was beaten, dragged to the street and witnessed destruction of his 200 year old family house, where generations of his family have grown-up. It was that moment he lost his dignity, his freedom and his lack of faith in humanity. All these, done by those who harboured hate. This feeling destroyed the human consciousness and the fact that we all are human beings, under the same sky. Eddie mentions in his book about the tremendous hate Nazis had on the Jews and it just poured on Eddie and million other Jews.

In the words of Eddie, that night atrocities were committed by civilised people powered with hate at Leipzig and all over the country. Eddie recollects in his memory that nearly every Jewish home and business in the city was vandalized. Before taking Eddie to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, he was beaten up badly. He was bruised and bloodied and he had to be taken to the nearest hospital. Eddie mentions in his book about the Buchenwald, which was the largest concentration camp within the German borders during World War II and that it was named after the beech forests that stood nearby, which was also known as the Singing forests for the screams which rang out from the tortured prisoners. The life at the concentration camp was very horrible. The torture was pathetic and many prisoners quickly saw death as an alternative to life.

The story continued and Eddie was taken to different places as he was a tool maker and though similar painful experiences happened with him over the years, he says that the only reason he survived because they found him to be Economically Indispensable Jew. His experience in mechanical and precision engineering saved him in almost all cases.

In Eddie’s words,

‘On three separate occasions, I was taken to the Gas Chambers and maybe 20 meters before going in, the guard saw my name, number and profession and shouted, ‘Take out 172338! Three times!

Eddie’s experience through writings states that these situations and happenings that he had undergone was filled with tremendous pain, tribulations and things which even a human soul could not dream in one’s nightmare. The promoters of ‘Hate’ was successful but Eddie’s ‘hope’ to survive made him to tell his experiences to the world through this book at the age of hundred!

I personally feel that we all are humans but when our spirits takes on the negative side of life, we start ‘hating’ each other. To me this is one of the worst kind of low level human feeling, which need to be altered with the feeling of ‘love’ and ‘hope’. In the words of Eddie,

“Hate is the beginning of a disease, like cancer. It may kill your enemy, but it will destroy you in the process too. Don’t blame others for your misfortunes. No one has ever said that life is easy, but it is easier if you love it. If you hate your life, it becomes impossible to live. This is why I try to be kind. Even though I have suffered, I want to prove to the Nazis that they were wrong. I want to show the people who hate that they are wrong.”

After reading the book and after understanding through Eddie’s words the experiences he had undergone and his thoughts of a happening which occurred almost 75 years ago, this brought tears to my eyes. But Eddie is a happy man and this happiness came with a lot of struggle, overcoming so many near death situations that I feel that Eddie needs a ‘standing applause’ from all of us.

Eddie is survived by a beautiful family with his wife Flore, his two Children Michael and Andre and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I still remember the words in the book, which Eddie mentions,

“So, after you put this book down, please, remember to take time to appreciate every moment of your life — the good, the bad. Sometimes there will be tears. Sometimes there will be laughter. And if you are lucky, there will be friends to share it all with ……”

This is just not a book for me, but it’s a book which says why we need to be happy each day. This life is beautiful, when we feel the same with ‘love’ and do things for the betterment of humanity at large.

Eddie is no more in this world, but his thoughts and his words on ‘happiness’ and ‘hope’ will always be remembered. The news of his passing for heavenly abode may be read here:

If I have to rate the book on 10 stars and 10 being the highest, I will give the book 9.5 stars.

You may hear Eddie’s talk at YouTube. The web-link is:

(Please Note: The above are my own personal thoughts after going through the book. Your views and opinions after reading the book may differ)

Thanks for visiting the Book Review Website:

3. The Diary of Anne Frank: Book Review & Book Recommendation

This is a photograph of the Book Taken from Amazon Kindle. The Book is ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and written by Anne Frank

I read the book and though at times, I was surprised by the writing skills of the young girl, but I was really taken aback by the simple fact that we humans as mentioned in the book could go to any extent to win over our ambitions. It’s just not a book, but an experience shared by Anne as history unfolded itself through her writings.

Sometimes, I feel that in life, we complain so much, even if we have everything. Those years of World War II did not leave much choices for anyone. The victor has their own says and the captives had no option but to bow down and obey. Strange realities had been shown through this book — The Diary of Anne Frank and I feel this is just not a diary but experiences shared by an individual soul.

I feel I am not a human to judge the quality of the book through stars as I personally feel that stars cannot evaluate an experience.

If I have to rate the book on 10 Stars and 10 being the highest, I will give the book 9 Stars. A wonderful read, which unfolded many unknown events of yester-years. The above are my personal views.

(Please Note: The above are my own personal thoughts after going through the book. Your views and opinions after reading the book may differ)

Thanks for visiting the Book Review Website:

The above are my list of 3 War Books which are about real life experiences of innocent humans.

Thanks and Regards:

Mainak Majumdar, Book Critic


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