“The war has changed me in ways that will take the better part of my life to understand, let alone make peace with,” Roger Boas writes in the opening of “Battle Rattle: A Last Memoir of World War II.” At age 94, the first-time author has had plenty of time to reflect on the experience.
“I’m a dinosaur,” he writes, “one of the last men left standing in the last war we had any business fighting.”
A field artillery forward observer in the 4th Armored Division of the Third Army, better known as Patton’s Army, Boas was at the spearhead of the Allied thrust into France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Czechoslovakia. A native San Franciscan, Boas, who is Jewish, was one of the first American soldiers to enter a Nazi concentration camp. He joined the Army a day after graduating from Stanford University and spent nearly four years in service, earning both silver and bronze stars for his bravery in combat.
After the war, Boas entered his family’s automobile business, but he is best known locally for his years of service on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (1961–1973), and as chief administrative officer of the city of San Francisco (1977–1986).
“Battle Rattle” was the term formerly used for post-traumatic stress disorder — a syndrome with which Boas struggled and gradually overcame after returning to civilian life.
Boas will give a talk about his book at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Books Inc., 601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco.
“Battle Rattle: A Last Memoir of World War II” by Roger Boas (Stinson Publishing, 264 pages)
Decades after Harvey Schwartz interviewed workers who built the Golden Gate Bridge, the labor historian finally found the time to bring their stories to the page in his new book, “Building the Golden Gate Bridge.” Schwartz recorded workers’ oral histories for the 50th anniversary of the span in 1987, in a project for the Labor Archive and Research Center at San Francisco State University.
He was long fascinated by their stories and wanted to put them in writing, “but I had other things to do,” says the El Cerrito resident, a Stanford grad and lecturer at area universities who was involved with and worked for the Longshoremen’s union for more than 40 years.
His book sheds light on the lives of nine working-class people in a bygone era.
Schwartz will discuss “Building the Golden Gate Bridge” at 12 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6 at Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real, in Menlo Park; also 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., in Sacramento.
“Building the Golden Gate Bridge” by Harvey Schwartz (University of Washington Press, 195 pages)
In “What To Do With Your Stuff,” Lois Tager tackles an issue that many of us don’t even contemplate until it’s too late and we’ve left ourselves — or our heirs — with a mess. A primer especially useful for older adults, Tager’s book provides practical steps people can take to make sure cherished heirlooms or favorite items make their way through the family chain without being a source of contention.
Described as “a guide to decisions about personal possessions and life choices,” the book addresses how to organize your possessions, make decisions about who gets what, the importance of sharing stories about precious family heirlooms, end-of-life decisions and more.
The director of geriatric care management at a Campbell law firm specializing in estate planning, Tager assists families dealing with a variety of senior issues including living situations, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Tager lives in Saratoga with her husband and is a member of Congregation Shir Hadash iin Los Gatos.
“What To Do With Your Stuff: A Guide to Decisions About Life” by Lois G. Tager (self-published, 106 pages)