Radio Readers, Meet the 2018 Spring Read!

Jan 24, 2018

So what does HPPR Radio Readers Book Club's 2018 Spring Read have in store? 

Here's more info about all four books! 

War Horse (Michael Morpurgo) Through the narration of Joey, an English farm horse, this novel depicts unspeakable slaughter of soldiers on all sides of a brutal war. Readers explore the battles through the words in many languages of men overheard by this valiant animal by doing so, understand the conflict from the front lines. The book is categorized as young adult fiction in that it is set against the strong connection between Albert, the son of the farmer who is forced to sell Joey to the army. Some have suggested that the book is sentimental, but even so, set against the noise and fury of guns and battles, the book holds an eloquent message about peace.    Burning Beethoven (Erik Kirschbaum) The full title of this nonfiction book is Burning Beethoven – The Eradication of German Culture in World War I.  Given the fact that Russian and German immigrants had revolutionized wheat production in the southern plains, and that the substantial reservoir of their labor contributed significantly to the settlement of the Great Plains, this exposé on a dark chapter of American history is particularly interesting.  During World War I, what had been a flourishing German culture in the United States was wiped out by a fury of anti-German hysteria during which the German language, schools, churches, and newspapers were eradicated and immigrants and citizens became targets of hate, persecution, and even lynchings and vigilante hangings.  A Son at the Front (Edith Wharton) Wharton portrays those left behind during war, the devastated parents who are forced to go on living at the cost of their own flesh and blood. The novel chronicles the effects of WWI on painter John Campton and his only child, George. Despite his parents’ efforts to keep him away from battle, to keep him safe, son George has his own ideas about serving.  By understanding the son against his father and parents, Campton learns the value of his son and the empathy and sensitivity of one who cares about more than himself and his immediate family.   Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry & Comics (Chris Duffy, ed.) As the catastrophic death toll of World War I rose, the Trench Poets emerged. Soldier-poets dispatched verse from the front line rejecting war as a romantic or noble enterprise. Paired with drawings from notable cartoonists working today, this work is a tribute to those who fought and died in World War I. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Now meet our BookByte contributors for the 2018 Spring Read!  Daniel Helbert, after attaining advanced degrees from Virginia Tech and the University of British Columbia, now hales from Canyon, Texas, where he explores the literature of an historical era in which war and battles played a major role --  medieval Britain.  He’s published on the Middle Ages as well as Environmental Humanities.  As book leader for War Horse, Daniel promises to compare battle practices and perspectives of turn-of-the-century warfare to knighthood and battles of yore. Kip Wedel spent approximately 15 years in business before joining the faculty at Bethel College. He teaches all of Bethel's American history courses and several courses in its Peace, Justice, and Conflict Resolution curriculum. His research focuses on American civil religion and popular culture from the 1930s through 1950s, and his articles have appeared in academic journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He also has published on Anabaptist topics. Courses taught include religion, race and ethnicity in American History, Kansas History. And U. S. History. Jonathan Baker recently returned to the High Plains from New York City, where he was the assistant to the editor-in-chief at W. W. Norton & Co. A former professional comedian, Baker has performed all over the United States and appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. He holds an undergraduate degree in English with a History minor from West Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in the humanities from the University of Chicago. Baker is the father of a 12-year-old boy, Inigo. They live in Canyon, Texas, in a tiny wooden house, where they watch a lot of cheesy old horror movies.    Denise Low’s grandfather is of Lenape (Delaware) Indian heritage. Her family was among the dislocated Eastern Natives who settled on the Kansas Plains of the 19th Century. A former poet laureate of Kansas, she has published more than 25 books.  She maintains a blog, writes reviews, and co-publishes Mammoth Publications as well as teaches professional workshops and classes for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Denise holds an MFA from Wichita St. Univ. and a PhD from the Univ. of Kansas.  We thank all of our listeners and scholars for making the Book Club a success!