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"Blood in the Forest: The End of the Second World War..." Topic

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459 hits since 28 Nov 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2018 9:33 p.m. PST

…. in the Courland Pocket.

"From October 1944 to May 1945, the Soviet Union's Red Army and the German armed forces fought six major battles in the small area of Courland (Kurzeme in Latvian) in modern-day Latvia.[1] Commonly known as the Battle of the Courland Pocket, two Soviet fronts attempted to destroy the German Army Group Courland and seize the vital port of Liep‚ja on the Baltic coast. The local Latvian population was caught in the middle of the fighting, and suffered horrifically. Even the end of the Cold War did not bring an end to the divisiveness of this period that was otherwise a footnote in the history of the war. Vincent Hunt's Blood in the Forest: The End of the Second World War in the Courland Pocket recounts the struggles of the participants through those cataclysmic days and their aftermath, which echo into the present. The author is no stranger to conflict, having covered the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the Rwandan genocide as a reporter for the BBC, in addition to writing Fire and Ice: The Nazis' Scorched Earth Campaign in Norway. Hunt challenges his readers with moral and ethical questions about the nature of armed conflict, the role of civilians in combat, and the nature of occupation. While not intending to serve as a parable for modern events, Blood in the Forest raised many parallels between 1945 and 2018.

Blood in the Forest is "a book of social memory, an oral history" of the end of the war and its aftermath.[2] Hunt uses his travels and encounters throughout Courland to frame the history of the battles in an easy, journalistic tone. His prose wanders across time and place, from village to village, forest to forest, horror to horror. Its twenty-five vignettes are short, most averaging about ten pages, covering different areas, different stories, and different perspectives within the small pocket. Hunt shares the reminiscences of former combatantsómostly members of the Waffen-SS Latvian Legionórefugees, museum curators, and modern explosive-ordnance disposal technicians, each bringing a different perspective to the narrative of the war's end and aftermath….."
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