The Family

  • by David Laskin
  • Narrated by Geoffrey Cantor
  • 13 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The author of the The Children's Blizzard delivers an epic work of 20th-century history through the riveting story of one extraordinary Jewish family.
With cinematic power and beauty, best-selling author David Laskin limns his own genealogy to tell the spellbinding tale of the three drastically different paths that his family members took across the span of 150 years.
In the latter half of the 19th century Laskin's great-great-grandfather, a Torah scribe named Shimon Dov HaKohen, raised six children with his wife, Beyle, in a yeshiva town at the western fringe of the Russian empire. The pious couple expected their sons and daughters to carry the family tradition into future generations. But the social and political upheavals of the 20th century decreed otherwise.
The HaKohen family split off into three branches. One branch emigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; one branch went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; and the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the Holocaust.
In tracing the roots of his own family, Laskin captures the epic sweep of 20th-century history. 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 an eloquent masterwork of true grandeur - a deeply personal, dramatic, and universal account of a people caught in a cataclysmic time in world history.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great potential, but doesn't quite make it

This book looks at three branches of the same Jewish family from pre-WWII Europe and the three routes they take--emigrating to America, Palestine, and staying in Europe. Each branch had a different outcome. The book is the result of the author's research into his own family. I liked, but didn't love, the book. I had a hard time tracking some of the family members and their stories, and I felt the writing was, at times, cumbersome.
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- Elizabeth "A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!"

Unforgetable!

What made the experience of listening to The Family the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the author's look into his family background with a riveting eye to detail. He displayed his sense of humor and his penchant for fantastic research, compiling a compulsively readable account of three branches of his ancestry. There are many players on this stage, and with such a large canvas it is occasionally hard to keep track, but what a wonderful chronicle!


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Family?

The early immigrant experience in new York, Sonya's risky venture to Palestine, the horrors of the Holocaust...


Any additional comments?

This book and performance were fantastic! My only quibble about the audio is related more to post-production than the narrator himself. There were several passages - only a sentence or two - where the narrator's voice was pitched low, and the sound quality was quite obviously different.. It throws one for an auditory loop.

This aside, The Family is a wonderful performance and ancestry.

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- Daryl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-15-2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio