Anne Frank's Tales from the Secret Annex
Reviewer: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 22 May 2012
Of the millions perished in the Holocaust, Anne Frank was among the most recognized names, her tender age and innocence reflecting the indiscriminate horrors the Nazi German regime had brought upon occupied Europe. An aspiring writer, her only well-known piece of writing was her posthumously-published diary. To bring her other pieces of writing to light, editor Susan Massotty compiled Anne Frank's Tales from the Secret Annex, and I had picked it up in its audio book form as a diversion from the usual readings (or, "listenings") in military history. Perhaps because I had ventured so far out of my usual realm, I found this book to be rather boring. The short pieces of daily life in her hiding place spoke of minute inter-personal tensions that small personal spaces caused; most of us had already known this from her diary as well as third-person works such as Miep Gies' Anne Frank Remembered. Meanwhile, the pieces of fiction, while they might be well-written for the age group, were found to be full of fantastic creatures, school girls, and naïveté.
Kathe Mazur performed in the audio format of this title. She did a fine job with Frank's narration, voices for various characters in the stories, as well as the reading speed.
As a military history enthusiast, I could not help but to recommend against this book, but I would gladly mention Anne Frank's Tales from the Secret Annex to parents or teachers of young teens should the opportunity arise. Perhaps I should not venture so far off course next time when searching for a diversion!
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945