Not My Country by Winfred Peppinck

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Synopsis

Peppinck fleshes out the bones of the bare events to create a living world of fictional characters that s bursting with minutely observed detail and all the sights and sounds of wartime Europe... Although this is loosely based on the true story of the author s father and the events recounted are therefore historically accurate, Winfred Peppinck fleshes out the bones of the bare events to create a living world of fictional characters that s bursting with minutely observed detail and all the sights and sounds of wartime Europe. You can almost smell the sulphurous taint of war and desperation hanging in the air... The scene is the Hunger Winter of 1944/45 - one of the coldest winters on record. The Netherlands are still crushed under the boot of Nazi occupation and on the brink of total collapse. With the canals frozen over and the German controlling the railways after the Dutch government in exile called for a rail strike, the cities food supplies are running out fast and, with cruel symbolism, Dutchmen - even wealthy collaborators such as the Heemstra family - are forced to eat the tulip bulbs that are an emblem of their nation even as the parents pray with increasing desperation for a favourable peace... Meaning one in which they might escape the unthinkable consequences of their collaboration with the enemy. In stark contrast, Peppinck juxtaposes their privations with flashbacks to happier times - when the protagonist s father s status as a director of the mighty Royal Dutch Shell oil company and membership of the NSB (Dutch Nazi party) brought them a life of rare privilege, travelling in the Dutch East Indies, India and Singapore, a grand house in an elite suburb of The Hague and finally, a softer job for Guus Heemstra as a driver for the Reich when most of his countrymen were condemned to hard labour. Together with his girlfriend Frieda, Guus begins to realise that there will be a terrible price to pay for his cushioned existence - and when finally the Germans retreat and an armistice is brokered, the patriotic Dutch turn on collaborators such as the Heemstras and exact vengeance. Not My Country is a fascinating true to life story of life during wartime on the other side that s made all the more vivid by the ingenious way in which the author weaves authentic local and historical colour into the narrative. Compelling and absorbing and rich in intriguing historical detail, it s a highly enjoyable and thought-provoking read that casts the usual stark black and white picture of the war years in complex shades of grey that show there s more than one way to look at human history.
 

About Winfred Peppinck

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Published November 14, 2009 by M-Y Books. 488 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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