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Publisher's Summary

Alex's Wake is a tale of two parallel journeys undertaken seven decades apart. In the spring of 1939, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt were two of more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the St. Louis, the saddest ship afloat (New York Times). Turned away from Cuba, the United States, and Canada, the St. Louis returned to Europe, a stark symbol of the world's indifference to the gathering Holocaust. The Goldschmidts disembarked in France, where they spent the next three years in six different camps before being shipped to their deaths in Auschwitz.
In the spring of 2011, Alex's grandson, Martin Goldsmith, followed in his relatives' footsteps on a six-week journey of remembrance and hope, an irrational quest to reverse their fate and bring himself peace. Alex's Wake movingly recounts the detailed histories of the two journeys, the witnesses Martin encounters for whom the events of the past are a vivid part of a living present, and an intimate, honest attempt to overcome a tormented family legacy.
©2014 Original material Martin Goldsmith. Recorded by arrangement with Da Capo Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group. (P)2014 HighBridge Company.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Meggan (Tom) on 07-01-14


What did you love best about Alex's Wake?

It was a truely wonderful journey.

What did you like best about this story?

The author was able to find out about his ancestors even though it had been many years since their deaths.

What does Martin Goldsmith bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

As a fellow Jew, the authors unending challenge to be outraged or forgiving. This was the first author I read that spoke to my own feelings of hatred and understanding. It is the single thing that makes this book unforgettable every step of the way.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was on an emotional rollercoaster as the author worked through his own reactions. But it furthered my own journey.

Any additional comments?

I am so glad that I heard the author on NPR. I will be looking into his other books.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By E. J. Zell on 11-27-15

Home Again

The perfect read at this time of national concern over immigration. The author as narrator adds a deeper connection to this sad, but necessary story about one family's experience facing death at the hands of Nazis and their sympathizers.

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