Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:
A Slice of History, Musing on Religion
by Frans Koning
Publisher: Outskirts Press
A View of the World from Three Continents. . . From a farm in The Netherlands to poverty-stricken Sierra Leone…from the brief peace after the Great War to the horrors of World War II…from Europe to America…this extraordinary book of anecdotal essays ranges through the life of a man who has lived broadly and deeply.
Author Frans Koning shares his observations and impressions on topics ranging from what it was like to be a teenager in a Nazi-occupied country, to his experiences in Africa with the Peace Corps, and his move to the United States. He has experienced the effects of brutality and fear and lived to tell about man’s inhumanity to man. With a perspective gained from three continents, he can see how human experience is both diverse and similar…and how patterns in human behavior emerge, from the Waffen SS to ISIS. Immediately engaging, loosely structured, and retaining a piquant flavor of his native land in a Dutchman’s English, A Slice of History is a uniquely personal yet immediately accessible memoir of life during the most turbulent decades of our time.
Most Americans know World War II from secondary sources like books, documentaries, etc. or from people they know who were alive at that time. “A Slice of History: Musing on Religion” by Frans Koning is a delicious primary source on how a young man experienced the war in the Netherlands. The dominant theme coming so often from the US public on “How we saved Western Europe” misses the complexities involved for the Dutch and all other liberal minded youth in this part of Europe who lived through this period.
The book is written in the style of letters written to friends, or even a thoughtful diary, is a refreshing reading experience. Koning shares his religious and political thoughts and feelings as he tries to create meaning in the midst of the forces of the war around him. The author’s colorful descriptions of a few of his medical practice experiences at home and in West Africa will certainly raise the reader’s curiosity. His ancestors trace back to the Reformation, as he reflects on his own struggles to understand the Christianity he encountered from parents, country, and Americans when he moved to the US. His long, soul searching for religious meaning caused his involvement with a liberal church. The openness and critical thinking of that religion served his questioning mind well.
Finally the narrative is full of personal details that most Americans could never imagine. This includes discovering the proper placement of straw into his wooden shoes, and how his mother saved Koning’s life from a belligerent Nazi SS officer by bribing him with a ham and a half bottle of gin.
This book causes readers to imagine how they would have reacted to events if they had been there. Overall, anyone interested in WWII will find this to be an excellent excursion into understanding how WWII affected a thoughtful young man.
[ reviewed by Gary Gustafson of Midwest Book Review ]
Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:
A nice piece of personal contemporary history from early twentieth century Holland (with some WWII drama, also). There are also medical observations from his years as an doctor in the African bush, and thoughtful views on comparative religion. Enlightening and fun as well.
– Amazon Reviewer Aaron Stafford
A personal opinion of the author and his life experiences: Dr Koning is a friend, and has very cogent opinions about the world, based upon his eighty plus years of life and experiences. His observations, in my experience, are keen and penetrating.
– Amazon Reviewer Scott Chester
Thanks for reading! Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!
Self Publishing Advisor