The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century

David Laskin. Viking, $32 (400p) ISBN 978-0-670-02547-3
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Frequent newspaper contributor Laskin’s relatives provide ample material for a gripping epic narrative, beginning in 1875 and spanning over a century. This readable and absorbing book looks at the experiences of Jews—in this case all members of Laskin’s family—finding a fresh start in the United States, of those working to form a new country in Palestine, and of those trapped in Nazi-controlled Europe. His American ancestors’ experiences were highlighted by his great-aunt, Itel, who founded the Maidenform Bra Company in 1922. And that quintessential American success story of a hard-working immigrant who makes good contrasts well with the account of her cousin Chaim’s life in Palestine around the same time—he found disillusionment there, rather than a land of milk and honey. The sections dealing with the grim toll that the Holocaust took on the family don’t provide new insights into the Nazis’ inhumanity; the horrors of the time gain more impact when conveyed through the stories of individual lives. Laskin (The Children’s Blizzard) makes the most of the rich array of stories his research unearthed. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim, Williams, and Bloom Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/2013
Release date: 10/15/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-698-13647-2
Paperback - 383 pages - 978-0-14-312589-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4906-0216-5
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