The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt
War Through a Woman's Eyes, 1939-1940
by Rulka Langer
During the opening months of World War II, Vassar-educated career woman Rulka Langer (1906-1993) risked her life and relied on her wits to keep her two small children and elderly mother out of harm's way.
The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt is a rare eyewitness account of the early, chaotic days of World War II—the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the Siege of Warsaw and the first few months of the Nazi occupation—written by a young working mother.
Langer's engaging, clear-eyed chronicle sparkles with fresh and lively storytelling and a brilliant eye for detail.
Weaving her story with a masterful use of humor, an occasional bite of sarcasm and a large dose of honesty, Langer paints a vivid picture of this virtually unknown aspect of World War II—and at the same time illuminates universal truths about average, ordinary people faced with war.
This new edition adds more than 100 black & white photos, maps and illustrations (some never before published), historical info to set this account in context, an Afterword from the author, an Epilogue from the author's son, and other supplemental material not included in original.
Winner of the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Best First Book (Nonfiction)
"It is absolutely one of the best eye-witness accounts of WWII Poland that I ever read."
~ Alan Furst, author of The Foreign Correspondent and The Spies of Warsaw
"I couldn't put the book down. Her story is riveting… utterly contemporary and compelling."
~ Fontayne Holmes, City Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library, 2004-2008
"A war has many dimensions… The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt is unusual because it provides the perspective of a helpless and young bystander."
~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, Center for Strategic and Internationals Studies
RULKA LANGER (1906-1993) came from a family of distinguished Polish intellectuals, writers and statesmen. A modern "career woman" before that concept was fashionable, following graduation from Vasser Collage Mrs. Langer worked in Warsaw as a copywriter and as a political and economic writer. Fleeing Nazi-occupied Poland with her son and daughter, ages 8 and 3, in early 1940, Mrs. Langer joined her husband, who was at the time a member of the Polish diplomatic corps posted in the United States. She soon became a popular lecturer, and wrote The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt in 1942 as part of her effort to explain to Americas the devastation of World War II for the average, ordinary human begins caught in it.
Publishing House: Aquila Polonica Publishing, Los Angeles 2010, 2nd Edition
HardCover book measuring 6.4" x 9.25" x 1.6"
468 pages, photographs, maps, illustrations
English Language Version
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