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August 27, 2011
The Mining Journal

For Those I Loved by Martin Gray far surpasses any thriller novel. This is the amazing true story of a man who epitomizes the indomitable human spirit. When 14-year-old Martin Gray finds himself and his family looting their own Warsaw factory, scrambling out of the ruins carrying sackfuls of gloves after its bombing by the Germans, his talent for quietly observing what is going on around him becomes his secret weapon. He watches, brick by brick, as his beloved neighborhood is sealed off from the rest of Warsaw, imprisoning everyone inside. He watches who wears blue, who wears white arm bands, the Star of David; yellow armbands. He studies the streetcars passing through the ghetto gates to the outside. He creates a smuggling operation, hopping on and off streetcars, hiding his arm band in his shirt, knowing who to bribe, creating false papers, speaking German or Polish, flirting with death, in and out every day, all for those he loves. This story follows Martin as he is captured with his family and taken by train to the Treblinka concentration camp, and details his escape and heroic efforts to build a new life. This remarkable man is still living, and his riveting story speaks to the enduring triumph of the human spirit.

The Tunnels of Cu Chi: The Untold Story of Vietnam by Tom Mangold and John Penycate recreates a remarkable campaign in the Vietnam War, a unique battle fought inside a 200-mile labyrinth of underground tunnels and complex chambers that the Viet Cong dug just north of Saigon. It also tells for the first time the story of Americans, unsung heroes who fought this war - a small group of specially trained G.I.s known as tunnel rats, who volunteered to fight hand-to-hand, armed only with knives and pistols, against a dedicated and ingenious enemy inside the booby-trapped blackness of the tunnels. These tunnels, often dug just beneath the feet of the Americans, became the Viet Cong's sanctuaries; barracks, arms factories, theaters and hospitals, all built into a triple level maze of passageways with hidden trap doors. The tunnels of Cu Chi thwarted every attempt to occupy and hold this strategic area, despite weaponry such as earthquake bombs, napalm, gas phosphorous grenades and chemical defoliants. The tenacity and determination of the underground guerrillas earned the respect of their American enemies. One American colonel, as he lay dying in Cu Chi after a tunnel shootout, described them as "those incredible men in the tunnels."

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers is an unusual and uncommonly moving family memoir, with a twist that gives new meaning to hindsight, insight and forgiveness. The author is face blind; that is, she has prosopagnosia, a rare neurological condition that prevents her from recognizing people's faces. Growing up, unaware of the reason for her perpetual confusion and anxiety, she took what cues she could from speech and hairstyle. But she sometimes kissed a stranger thinking he was her boyfriend or failed to recognize even her own mother and father. She feared she must be crazy, yet it was her mother who nailed windows shut and covered them with blankets, made her daughter walk on her knees to spare the carpeting and had her practice secret words to use in the likely event of abduction. Her father went on weeklong "fishing trips" - aka benders - took in drifters and wore pantyhose and bras under his regular clothes. She clung to barely coherent stories of a "normal childhood" in order to survive the one she had. That fairy tale unraveled two decades later when she took the man she would marry home to meet her parents and began to discover the truth about her family and about herself. As she came at last to trust her own perceptions, she learned the gift of perspective, that embracing the past as it is allows us to let go, and illuminated a deeper truth that even in the most flawed circumstances love may be seen and felt.

The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes is the true story of the savage co-ed killings committed by the boy who could have lived next door. Southeastern Michigan was rocked in the late 1960s by the terrifying serial murders of young women whose bodies were dumped in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. In each case few clues were left at the scene, and six separate police agencies were unable to end the horror. Then, almost by accident, a break came. The suspect: John Norman Collins, a young, quiet all-American boy. Collins was caught, went to trial and on Aug. 9, 1970 was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole. He is now in his 60s and is serving his sentence in Marquette. Collins was one of the first serial killers exposed in the region, and his crimes had many in the area locking their doors for the first time. Keyes' harrowing "The Michigan Murders" covers every step of the case. It fell out of print for more than a decade before being revived for this special edition.

- Stanley Peterson

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