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Ian Buruma
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history
Judaica

Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War

 
 
Author
Ian Buruma.
Publisher Penguin  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
ISBN 9780143109952
Pages/Publication Date 305/2017
Daedalus Item Code 79111
List Price: $17.00
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Throughout a 60-year marriage that spanned the fear and separation of two world wars, Bernard (Bun) and Winifred (Win) Schlesinger remained each other's closest confidants. From the thousands of letters between Bun at war and Win at home, Ian Buruma weaves a story not just of his grandparents' devotion, but also how a turbulent era brought into stark relief conflicting notions of class, culture, and nationality. Born in England to prosperous German-Jewish immigrant families, the Schlesingers strove to become more English than the English; the problems of being Jewish and facing anti-Semitism even in the country they loved were met with a kind of stoic discretion. But as the Nazi threat became more apparent, the Schlesingers mounted a remarkable effort—which Buruma describes movingly—to rescue 12 Jewish children from the Nazis and see to their upkeep in England.

"A wholly understanding, moving account of what it meant to be Jewish and English in one of the most troubled times of the last century.... The Schlesingers chose to be English and Jewish, both insiders and outsiders, a choice that was possible in a liberal, relatively tolerant Britain. But there is a dark side to this sunlit story. Buruma's voyage into the past is a warning as well as a celebration of lost lives. Somehow we must ensure that our societies allow outsiders to flourish, however they choose to do it."—NYTBR

"A beautiful and complex love story that lasted through triumphs and disasters, years of separation, anti-Semitic microaggressions, and social and family pressures. Buruma's work is well-paced, absorbing, and gives a human face to some of the darkest eras of contemporary European history. Readers interested in biography, Judaism, social history, European history, the history of both World Wars, and/or a good old-fashioned love story will find much here to appreciate."—Library Journal (starred review)

 
 
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