SWIMMING ACROSS: A Memoir
"Jesus Christ was killed by the Jews, and because of that, all of the Jews will be thrown into the Danube," says a playmate to four-year-old Andris Grof—Grove's original name. Born to a middle-class Jewish family in 1936, Grove, chairman of Intel, grew up in Budapest during his country's most tempestuous era. Despite avoiding deportation and death, Grove's family lived in fear during Nazi occupation and lost some rights and property. Afterwards, they lived under Soviet control. Curiously, Grove's memoir charts the routinized mundanities of his teen years—seeing his teacher at the opera, being afraid to meet young women at the local public pool, the success of a short story he wrote—more than life in war-torn Europe. But his discussion of contemporary politics is astute and personal—"I had mixed feelings about the Communists... they had saved my mother's life and my own.... On the other hand... they increasingly interfered with our daily life." Never didactic, he remains focused on his own intellectual growth. Grove continued his education in New York after the 1956 revolution failed. The intelligence, dedication and ingenuity that earned him fame and fortune (he was Time's Man of the Year in 1997) are evident early on. He deftly balances humor—e.g., subversive anti-Communist jokes from Hungary—with insight into overcoming endless obstacles (from hostile foreign invasions to New York's City University system). Though lacking in drama, Grove's story stands smartly amid inspirational literature by self-made Americans. B&w photos. (Nov. 12)
Forecast:Warner's fanfare—pre-pub bookseller luncheons, Jewish Book Fair appearances, publication events in New York and San Francisco and concerted media campaigns will bring this book to readers' attention despite it not being the sort of business-oriented book most would expect from Grove. Its unexpected subject matter will mean that, despite the Grove name, it won't come near to matching Welch-size sales, but still, it should thrive.
Release date: 11/01/2001