The Family by David Laskin
Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century

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An ambitious, experimental look at exodus, acclimatization and culture with a cast as diverse as any family photo album.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The author of the The Children’s Blizzard delivers an epic work of twentieth century history through the riveting story of one extraordinary Jewish family

In tracing the roots of this family—his own family—Laskin captures the epic sweep of the twentieth century. A modern-day scribe, Laskin honors the traditions, the lives, and the choices of his ancestors: revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, scholars and farmers, tycoons and truck drivers. The Family is a deeply personal, dramatic, and emotional account of people caught in a cataclysmic time in world history.

A century and a half ago, a Torah scribe and his wife raised six children in a yeshivatown at the western fringe of the Russian empire. Bound by their customs and ancient faith, the pious couple expected their sons and daughter to carry family traditions into future generations. But the social and political crises of our time decreed otherwise.

The torrent of history took the scribe’s family down three very different roads. One branch immigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; another went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the onslaught of the Nazi occupation.

With cinematic power and beauty, bestselling author David Laskin brings to life the upheavals of the twentieth century through the story of one family, three continents, two world wars, and the rise and fall of nations.
 

About David Laskin

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David Laskin is the author of The Children’s Blizzard, which won the Washington State Book Award and Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award for nonfiction. He is the author of several other books of nonfiction and also writes for The New York Times and The Washington Post. He lives in Seattle.
 
Published October 15, 2013 by Penguin Books. 401 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Family
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Jul 07 2013

An ambitious, experimental look at exodus, acclimatization and culture with a cast as diverse as any family photo album.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jul 29 2013

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...Laskin...makes the most of the rich array of stories his research unearthed.

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Edward Kosner on Oct 13 2013

The unspeakable tragedies and improbable triumphs of the European Jewish diaspora in the 20th century have been told many times but rarely quite so compellingly as in David Laskin's "The Family." Mr. Laskin's chronicle could have been written in tears—of torment and scarce joy—and it is at once anguishing and inspiring.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Stephen Lyons on Dec 21 2013

Laskin’s deft handling of historical narrative is evident from the first pages, when he commences his ancestral quest in the late 1800s with his great-great grandfather, Shimon Dov HaKohen, a renowned Russian Torah scribe.

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