Even though Cyndee Schaffer always knew her mother served during World War II, it was still a little hard to believe. “She was always a very quiet person,” says Schaffer, “and that she found the courage to join the military just amazed me.” In fact, Schaffer’s mother – Mollie Weinstein Schaffer – served as an enlistee in the newly-formed Women’s Army Corps from 1943 to 1945 during which time she sent home hundreds of letters describing bombings in England, landing in Normandy just weeks after the Allied invasion, and serving in Germany after VE Day. Her fascinating letters have been collected in the recent book Mollie’s War, and this Sunday, July 17th at 3 pm you can join Cyndee Schaffer when she visits EPL’s 1st Floor Community Meeting Room to read excerpts from the book and share Mollie’s WWII memorabilia. In anticipation of her visit, we recently spoke with Cyndee via email about her work editing and researching Mollie’s War, her favorite of her mother’s WAC experiences, the lost art of letter writing, and what she hopes readers take away from the book.
After a brief hiatus, the Book Trailer of the Week is back with this captivating clip for Laura Hillenbrand’s new biography Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Winner of the 2010 L.A. Times Book Prize for Biography, Unbroken tells the enthralling tale of Louie Zamperini, a 1936 Munich Olympics track star and a WWII Army Air Corps bombardier who endured 47 days in a life raft and two years in Japan’s most brutal POW camps after his B-24 crashed in the Pacific. Broken and haunted upon his repatriation, Zamperini eventually experienced a spiritual rebirth, and now at 93, he works with the Japanese to promote forgiveness and healing. Inspiring, heart-wrenching, and simply unforgettable, Unbroken is Seabiscuit-author Hillenbrand at her best. Don’t miss it.