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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Great potential, but doesn't quite make it
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!
The early immigrant experience in new York, Sonya's risky venture to Palestine, the horrors of the Holocaust...
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.