I want to take the chance of plugging two books which I have just finished and I absolutely adored.
The first is by my colleague Dr. Elmos Konis. It is a novel called "Magnette: a Cyprus odyssey." A wonderfully told age of 40 something persons facing a re-evaluation of their lives through mysterious yet charming recollections of the islands' (as represented to me by the octogenarian leading character) past. An overall great read, I am looking forward to the next one Elmo!
The second is Mark Mazowers "Hitler's empire: Nazi rule in occupied europe". Mazower is the most internationally respected expert of Greece from 1921 to 1945 and he has turned his sights now to a broader issue that of ideas within the Nazi rule. What I love about this book is that is discards all descriptive narrative of what happened during the dark times of WWII in occupied Europe, and instead focusses on how half baked and poorly thought out ideas can take root in existing prejudices and produce the horrific results of Nazi rule, particularly the Jewish genocide.
It has changed my outlook of the Jewish genocide --> nothing has ever (thankfully) reached the stage of systematic prosecution and extermination of the Jews in Europe, but such a humanitarian disaster was perpetrated by men already holding prejudices routed in history that society felt they were not important enough to stamp out. This, I think, is a very important lesson for the rising (almost casual) racism I see around me every day