Book: Looking for two types of war memoir
September 12, 2016 9:09 AM   Subscribe

I's interested in war memoirs that were written from the point of view of a child. Also, I'm more interested in the defeated side POV.

And especially if the author, despite being defeated in that conflict, is from a wealthy/privileged class.

Clarifying the first request, the author is now an adult reminiscing about the war time, when s/he was a child.

If there's anything that crosses the three features, ie, a war memoir of individual who was a) A child at the time of the war; b) In a privileged position in society; c) Their side lost the war, then great!

But any war memoir that has one of the three features is also cool.

posted by TheGoodBlood to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's out of print, but I read Children of the A-Bomb growing up and it's very good. (First person descriptions from children who lived in Hiroshima.)
posted by Melismata at 9:13 AM on September 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not sure if you're ok with graphic novels or manga, but Barefoot Gen fits the bill, I think.
posted by holborne at 9:27 AM on September 12, 2016

(I should clarify: Barefoot Gen only hits two of your points; the family of the protagonist is poor.)
posted by holborne at 9:29 AM on September 12, 2016

German Boy seems to fit your description to a T.
posted by anastasiav at 9:56 AM on September 12, 2016

Yes, graphic novels are good too!
posted by TheGoodBlood at 10:09 AM on September 12, 2016

Ishmeal Beah, Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
posted by praemunire at 10:20 AM on September 12, 2016

A Woman in Berlin is a memoir of the fall of Berlin to the Soviet army, featuring multiple stories of the mass rapes of German women by Soviet soldiers. She wasn't a child and I don't remember her class, so it might only fall into only one of your categories.

Frauen is a book of interviews with German women of the Third Reich. Again, the women are adults, but various classes are covered.
posted by FencingGal at 11:04 AM on September 12, 2016

Also: memoirs, not interviews, the more literary the best!
posted by TheGoodBlood at 11:19 AM on September 12, 2016

The Endless Steppe: Growing up in Siberia is wonderful.
posted by cyndigo at 11:30 AM on September 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Leaf In A Bitter Wind by Ting-Xing Ye. Summary taken from WP: "Ting-Xing Ye was the fourth daughter of a factory owner, and she and her siblings were branded as the children of capitalists and persecuted during the [Chinese] Cultural Revolution. By the age of thirteen, both Ye's parents had died. The Cultural Revolution then tore the remaining family members apart."

It's a wrenching story.
posted by fraula at 11:34 AM on September 12, 2016

Empire of the Sun, by J. G. Ballard.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:23 PM on September 12, 2016

Allah is not obliged is a novel by Ahmadou Kourouma, a writer from Ivory Coast.

Also, Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, kind of.

Not sure if they fit your requirements.
posted by Kwadeng at 12:33 PM on September 12, 2016

"The Forgotten Soldier" by Guy Sajer:
posted by My Dad at 12:49 PM on September 12, 2016

By Hans-Georg Behr, Almost a Childhood; Growing up Among the Nazis: here.
posted by cool breeze at 12:55 PM on September 12, 2016

Totto-Chan by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, for all categories.
posted by Ashenmote at 2:41 PM on September 12, 2016

The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski meets all your requirements (since you didn't necessarily specify a true memoir, nor one actually written by the 'author').
posted by Rash at 3:36 PM on September 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Die Brucke is a 1959 film from the point of view of youth militia in Germany at the end of WWII. It's vivid.
posted by ovvl at 6:40 PM on September 12, 2016

Berlin Diaries Marie Vassiltchikoff

Tatiana Metternich (her sister) Tatiana: Five Passports in a Shifting Europe

Christabel Bielenberg The Past is Myself

Not all points hit, but worth reading.

You might be able to dig something out of the bibliography of The Children's Civil War
posted by BWA at 7:41 PM on September 12, 2016

In the Shadow of the Banyan is written from the point of view of a privileged seven year old girl during the Khmer Rouge regime in the Cambodian killing fields between 1975 and 1979. It is a beautifully written fiction novel, but it is based on the author's, Vaddey Ratner, real life experiences over 4 years going from a royal family to work camps to eventual safety. It is on eight lists of best books for 2012.
posted by maxg94 at 8:06 AM on September 13, 2016

Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger is a classic memoir from the German side of WWI.

Based on your other requirements, it may or may not hit for you; Junger does very little reminiscing about loss; he barely even discusses that they are losing. But it's beautiful written and very powerful.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 2:03 PM on September 13, 2016

Alexandra Fuller's memoirs are all about being on the losing side of the Rhodesian Bush War. "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" is primarily about her childhood, while "Leaving Before the Rains Come" and "Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness" alternate between childhood and adulthood.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:36 AM on October 7, 2016

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