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Review: ‘Storming the Tulips’ by Hannie J. Voyles and Ronald Sanders

Review: ‘Storming the Tulips’ by Hannie J. Voyles and Ronald Sanders post image

Title: Storming the Tulips
Author: Hannie J. Voyles, compiled by Ronald Sanders
Genre: Nonfiction/Essays
Year: 2011
Acquired: From the publisher for review consideration
Rating: ★★★☆☆

One Sentence Summary: A collection of essays from children who attended the same school as Anne Frank, the 1st Montessori School in Amsterdam.

One Sentence Review: As a stand-alone book, Storming the Tulips feels incomplete; in conjunction with other WWII stories, the essays offer a new perspective.

Long Review: Readers are familiar with the story of Anne Frank. Her diary, recorded while while she was hiding from the Nazi’s, is practically required reading for elementary and high school students.

Storming the Tulips by Ronald Sanders, translated by Hannie J. Voyles, is a companion to this story — a collection of essays from other students at the school Frank attended before she went into hiding. These stories are stories from the outside, what life was like for children as the world they knew was gradually taken over.

Like most essay collections, some of these stories were more vivid and interesting than others. I was fascinated by one story by a child who joined the Nazi Youth Party, if only because it seems impossible, in retrospect, to understand how a person could be taken in by that movement.

I also struggled a bit with the editing of the book. It was hard for me to tell where comments from the author ended and a personal story began. Some also had introductions and others didn’t, giving the book a bit of inconsistency. There’s also a bit of context for life in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation given near the beginning, but not enough to make this book one to read on it’s own.

Storming the Tulips is a nice addition to the canon of WWII essays and personal accounts, but should definitely read in conjunction with a more comprehensive history of this time.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm September 26, 2011, 5:11 pm

    An interesting premise! Too bad that it sounds like it wasn’t very well edited.

    • Kim September 27, 2011, 8:47 am

      Yes, it really was, but clarity when reading (especially nonfiction) is really important to me and early parts of this book were confusing.

  • Kailana September 26, 2011, 7:32 pm

    This sounds like it would have been really good, but unfortunately I don’t think I really need to read it…

    • Kim September 27, 2011, 8:48 am

      This is a book I’d maybe recommend for people with a strong background or interest in WWII stories — it’s just not quite full enough to stand on its own, I guess.

  • Trisha September 26, 2011, 8:35 pm

    That cover really captures my imagination! This does sound like a good addition for someone’s WWII story collection.

    • Kim September 27, 2011, 8:48 am

      Yes, the cover is beautiful, isn’t it!

  • softdrink September 26, 2011, 9:02 pm

    Do they talk about how they found/collected the essays? I mean, I know someone wasn’t saying “Anne is going to have a very famous diary one day, so let’s see what the others have to say.”

    • Kim September 27, 2011, 8:49 am

      If I remember correctly, the original author/essay collector was a teacher or student at the school who got in touch with classmates after the war was over and collected their stories. I might be wrong on that though — I read this one awhile ago.

  • Sheila (Book Journey) September 27, 2011, 9:21 am

    Oh too bad, it really looks like it would have been better.

    • Kim September 29, 2011, 8:43 pm

      Yeah, I was a little disappointed, but I may also have been expecting too much.

  • Jenny September 27, 2011, 4:50 pm

    Did not everybody have to join the Hitler Youth if they were living in Germany and of the appropriate age? That maybe is not the case, but that’s the impression I have.

    • Kim September 29, 2011, 8:44 pm

      I honestly am not sure on that one. I know only one of the essays in the book was from a student who had joined the Hitler Youth, but I’m not sure if that’s because the others chose not to or because they were not allowed to because of their race.