It’s Monday! What are you reading?/ posted in: Reading
Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman
This is the true story of Peggielene Bartels. She was born in Ghana, was educated in London, and worked as a secretary in the Ghanian embassy in Washington D.C. Then she was chosen to be king of her home village.
Being a King in Ghana is sort of like being a mayor. Peggy left Ghana 30 years ago. After her mother died, she decided that there was nothing left for her in Africa. She became an American citizen. Then the call came that the spirits had chosen her to be King after her uncle died. It isn’t a paid position so she can’t afford to give up her job. She goes to Africa to try to modernize a village with no running water, no high school, a crumbling palace, and an amazingly corrupt government system.
This story is so unusual that you wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t true. The spirits (and vast quantities of alcohol) rule everything in Africa so while she is there she needs to take curses and offended local spirits as seriously as disputes between fishermen. King Peggy tries to rein in the corruption that is keeping her village from making progress into the 21st century.
In the small Polish town of Wadowice, Jerzy Kluger met “Lolek” Wojtyla when they started school. They were inseparable until high school graduation after which they moved to different cities for college. When war came to Poland in 1939, Kluger went to sign up with his father who was a reserve officer in the Polish Army. He didn’t know that he’d never see the rest of his family again. They were all killed at Auschwitz.
In 1965 Kluger was living in Rome because he couldn’t bear to go back to Poland. Vatican II was happening and he heard a story about a Polish bishop named Wojtyla. He called the priest and the rest is history.
After Karol Wojtyla was selected as Pope John Paul II, he met with his friend at least once a week. Before the Vatican recognized Israel, he sent Kruger to negotiate with Israeli leaders. This is the story of a friendship that influenced history.
As I was reading this book I kept thinking about what it would be like if my childhood best friend was President and wanted me to advise her. That’s the situation Jerzy Kruger found himself in. As kids it didn’t matter that one was Jewish and one was Catholic. That’s just how things were in small town Poland.
The book tells Kruger’s story during the war when he was sent to a prison camp in Russia. It talks of his mother and grandmother and sister, who considered Lolek part of the family, who died in the Holocaust.
A lot of Catholic/Jewish history is discussed. So much of it seems so stupid to me. There is so much violence and condemnation in the name of God but actually due to the arrogance of man.