What They Saved by Nancy K. Miller
Pieces of a Jewish Past

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Winner of the 2012 Jewish Journal Book Prize
After her father’s death, Nancy K. Miller discovered a minuscule family archive: a handful of photographs, an unexplained land deed, a postcard from Argentina, unidentified locks of hair. These items had been passed down again and again, but what did they mean? Miller follows their traces from one distant relative to another, across the country, and across an ocean. Her story, unlike the many family memoirs focused on the Holocaust, takes us back earlier in history to the world of pogroms and mass emigrations at the turn of the twentieth century.
Searching for roots as a middle-aged orphan and an assimilated Jewish New Yorker, Miller finds herself asking unexpected questions: Why do I know so little about my family? How can I understand myself when I don’t know my past? The answers lead her to a carpenter in the Ukraine, a stationery peddler on the Lower East Side, and a gangster hanger-on in the Bronx. As a third-generation descendant of Eastern European Jews, Miller learns that the hidden lives of her ancestors reveal as much about the present as they do about the past. In the end, an odyssey to uncover the origins of her lost family becomes a memoir of renewal.

About Nancy K. Miller

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Nancy K. Miller is distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of "Bequest and Betrayal, Getting Personal, " and other books.
Published September 1, 2011 by University of Nebraska Press. 248 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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After her father died, Miller discovered a stash of old photographs and letters that piqued her curiosity: Who were the Kipnises, and why were they not a part of her life?

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Publishers Weekly

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Miller, professor of English and comparative literature at CUNY's Graduate Center, traces the history of her father Louis's family, to solve the mystery of why, when Louis's older brother, Sam, moved to Arizona in 1934, the two brothers largely lost contact and never met again.

Jul 04 2011 | Read Full Review of What They Saved: Pieces of a ...

New York Journal of Books

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Miller fewer physical artifacts than did the Kipnises, perhaps because the Miller possessions had to be divided among a greater number of cousins.When Ms.

Sep 01 2011 | Read Full Review of What They Saved: Pieces of a ...

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