The Family: A Journey into the Heart of the Twentieth Century

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9780143125891: The Family: A Journey into the Heart of the Twentieth Century

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.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2013: Every writer, established or aspiring, has at one time or another looked around and decided, “My life would make a great book.” Some of them are sadly mistaken. But journalist David Laskin’s life--or rather that of his forbears, three generations of a Russian Jewish family originally named HaKoen--has made a fantastic book. Despite its name, The Family is not about the Mafia, or the Mansons, but really about one particular, ordinary/extraordinary twentieth century shtetl clan. But you don’t have to be Jewish to be fascinated by the six children of a Torah scribe on the western fringe of the Russian empire; they, like people everywhere, were buffeted by political and social and economic upheavals of their times. One branch of the family ended up in America as the prosperous founders of Maidenform lingerie; another repatriated to Israel; the third suffered the Holocaust. While I tended to favor the stories about the American branch (how can you not love a 4’ 11” Russian revolutionary, who, with her husband Wolf, invented the brassiere in 1924 and got filthy rich in ladies underwear in the depression?), the other HaKoens-turned-Cohens provided plenty of educational entertainment as well. You think you know about the Russian revolution? Try seeing it through Laskin’s ancestors’ eyes. Likewise, WWII and Zionism. This is a great, big-hearted book about how time and place modifies family, whatever or wherever its roots. --Sara Nelson

About the Author:

David Laskin is the author of The Children’s Blizzard, which won the Washington State Book Award and Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award for nonfiction. The author of several other works of nonfiction, Laskin writes for The New York Times and The Washington Post. He and his wife, the parents of three grown daughters, live in Seattle.

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143125891

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143125891

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