This collective biography of four jazz musicians from Brooklyn, Ghana, and South Africa demonstrates how modern Africa reshaped jazz, how modern jazz helped form a new African identity, and how musical convergences and crossings altered the politics and culture of both continents.
African Rhythms is the autobiography of the important jazz pianist, composer and band leader Randy Weston. He tells of his childhood in Brooklyn, his six decades long musical career, his time living in Morocco, and his lifelong quest to learn about the musical and cultural traditions of Africa.
To a great extent, Holocaust consciousness in the contemporary United States has become intertwined with American Jewish identity and with support for right-wing Israeli politics -- but this was not always the case. In this illuminating study, Kirsten Fermaglich demonstrates that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, many American Jewish writers and academics viewed the Nazi extermination of European Jewry as a subject of universal interest, with important lessons to be learned for the liberal reform of American politics. Fermaglich analyzes the lives and writings of Stanley M. Elkins, Betty Friedan, Stanley Milgram, and Robert Jay Lifton, four social scientific thinkers whose work was shaped by a liberal perspective. For them, the Holocaust served as a critical frame of reference for a particular issue: Elkins on slavery's legacy, Friedan on the oppressions of domesticity, Milgram on the willingness to obey, and Lifton on war's survivors. In each case, these thinkers were deeply influenced by their Jewish backgrounds, whether by early encounters with antisemitism or by the profound sense that only fate and an ocean had spared them death in Hitler's Europe. Thus, each chose imagery from the concentration camps, albeit utterly devoid of a particular Jewish association, to illuminate themes that advanced liberal politics, including civil rights, the nuclear test ban, feminism, and Vietnam veterans' rights. Rather than being offended by these authors' comparisons between American institutions and Nazi concentration camps, American audiences of all ethnic and religious backgrounds during the late 1950s and early 1960s generally cheered these authors' Nazi imagery and adopted it as part of their own political ideology. Fermaglich demonstrates that liberalism in the United States in the 1960s was more substantially shaped by the Holocaust than we have previously recognized.
For a lot of people, thoughts about the sexual politics of Playboy run along the lines of what Gloria Steinem reportedly once told Hugh Hefner: “A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.” Hefner’s magazine celebrates men as swinging bachelors and women as objects of desire; ergo, it’s sexist.
Not so fast, says Carrie Pitzulo. With Bachelors and Bunnies, she delves into the history of the magazine to reveal its surprisingly strong record of support for women’s rights and the modernization of sexual and gender roles. Taking readers behind the scenes of Playboy’s heyday, Pitzulo shows how Hefner’s own complicated but thoughtful perspective on modern manhood, sexual liberation, and feminism played into debates—both in the editorial offices and on the magazine’s pages—about how Playboy’s trademark “girl next door” appeal could accommodate, acknowledge, and even honor the changing roles and new aspirations of women in postwar America. Revealing interviews with Hugh Hefner and his daughter (and later Playboy CEO) Christie Hefner, as well as with a number of editors and even Playmates, show that even as the magazine continued to present a romanticized notion of gender difference, it again and again demonstrated a commitment to equality and expanded opportunities for women.
Offering a surprising new take on a twentieth-century icon, Bachelors and Bunnies goes beyond the smoking jacket and the centerfold to uncover an unlikely ally for the feminist cause.
How much did "making it new" have to do with "making it"? For the four "outsider poets" considered in this book—Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Louis Zukofsky, and Ted Berrigan—the connection was everything. At once a social history of literary ambition in America in the fifties and sixties and a uniquely collective form of literary biography, Career Moves offers an intimate account of the postwar poetry underground.
Making the controversial claim that anti-Establishment poets were at least as "careerist" as their mainstream peers, Libbie Rifkin shows how the nature of these poets’ ambition actually defined postwar avant-garde identity. In doing so, she clarifies the complicated link between the crafting of a literary career and the defining of a literary canon.
Bonsal combines his memoirs of his experiences in Havana with an analysis of the relationship between Cuba and the United States both during the Batista and Castro regimes and during the earlier history of the Cuban Republic.
His discussion of Castro's personality is incisive, portraying the Maximum Leader's increasing animosity toward the United States until the final break-off of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Bonsal's observations of Castro and the sociopolitical climate in Cuba are perhaps the most incisive and accurate of any to date on the subject.
All the events from the Revolution to the termination of diplomatic relations are discussed. Of particular interest are Bonsal's accounts of his attempt to find a basis for a rational relationship between the United States and Castro's Revolution, the rejection of that attempt by Castro, and the abandonment by Washington of the policy of nonintervention in Cuban affairs which the Ambassador had advocated.
Finally, in an evaluation of future relations between the two countries, Bonsal analyzes some of the major problems of the coming years.
When the United States entered the Second World War, eighteen-year-old enlistees were routinely assigned temporary duties and not sent into battle until they turned nineteen. But as the fighting dragged on, America was eventually forced to draft younger men into combat to replace wounded troops—and following the Battle of the Bulge, more than 300,000 eighteen-year-olds were sent as replacements to the army’s decimated divisions.
In The Eighteen-Year-Old Replacement, Richard Kingsbury brings an often-overlooked perspective to the annals of World War II. Torn from an ordinary teenager’s life in the Midwest, young Dick was drafted six weeks after D-Day and rushed with other eighteen-year-olds to the Siegfried Line to bolster Patton’s 94th Infantry Division. His reminiscence provides a moving, diarylike account of what he endured both physically and emotionally—and tells how he went from boyhood to manhood almost overnight.
In prose that is both succinct and evocative, Kingsbury recounts his experiences as a rifleman during the final bloody battles in Germany, giving readers a real feel for what combat was like for a raw recruit. He recalls his first night in a foxhole on the front line and the “unbelievable luxury” of sleeping in a barn’s hayloft. He relives freezing cold at the Bulge, which permanently damaged his legs, and the pounding of enemy artillery during Patton’s breakthrough of the German West Wall, which affected his hearing for life.
More poignantly, Kingsbury shares his anxieties over killing—as well as the distinct possibility of being killed as Wehrmacht tanks mercilessly blasted individual foxholes at Bannholz Woods. He vividly recalls Patton’s attack on Ludwigshafen, on the west bank of the Rhine, where he took a German bullet in his chest—and where three of the six newly arrived eighteen-year-olds were killed.
Interspersed with the accounts of battle are letters between Dick and Mary Jo, his sweetheart back home, capturing the blossoming of romance that transcended both distance and bloodshed. His book casts a new light on war—and courtship—in an era when boys were rushed from the home front to the front lines. By showing how crucial the contribution of these young men was to the war effort, this book gives the eighteen-year-old replacements the recognition they have long deserved.
Farm Girl: A Wisconsin Memoir
Beuna Coburn Carlson University of Wisconsin Press, 2020 Library of Congress F587.P6C37 2020 | Dewey Decimal 977.542042092
When Bunny Coburn was growing up, neighbors came together in times of hardship. No matter the trouble, they faced it with determination, camaraderie, and resourcefulness. In the midst of the Great Depression, despite record-breaking heat and crop failure, growing up on the family farm was nevertheless filled with bucolic pleasures. Farm Girl is Beuna "Bunny" Coburn Carlson's loving tribute to the gently rolling hills of western Wisconsin. With an inviting and fluid voice, she shares intimate moments of happinesses from her childhood: collecting butternuts for homemade maple candy, watching her father read by the flickering light of a kerosene lamp, and the joy of finding a juicy orange at the bottom of a Christmas stocking. Underlying each vignette is the courage of a strong family surviving adversity and finding comfort in one another. Hers is a memoir that readers can dip in and out of with pleasure.
What does philosophy have to do with the human voice? Has contemporary philosophy banished the "voice" from the field of legitimate investigation? Timothy Gould examines these questions through the philosopher most responsible for formulating them, Stanley Cavell. Hearing Things is the first work to treat systematically the relation between Cavell's pervasive authorial voice and his equally powerful, though less discernible, impulse to produce a set of usable philosophical methods.
Gould argues that a tension between voice and method unites Cavell's broad and often perplexing range of interests. From Wittgenstein to Thoreau, from Shakespeare to the movies, and from opera to Freud, Gould reveals the connection between the voice within Cavell's writing and the voices Cavell appeals to through the methods of ordinary language philosophy. Within Cavell's extraordinary productivity lies a new sense of philosophical method based on elements of the act of reading. Hearing Things is both an important study of Cavell's work and a major contribution to the construction of American philosophy.
Sweig shatters the mythology surrounding the Cuban Revolution in a compelling revisionist history that reconsiders the revolutionary roles of Castro and Guevara and restores to a central position the leadership of the Llano. Granted unprecedented access to the classified records of Castro's 26th of July Movement's underground operatives--the only scholar inside or outside of Cuba allowed access to the complete collection in the Cuban Council of State's Office of Historic Affairs--she details the debates between Castro's mountain-based guerrilla movement and the urban revolutionaries in Havana, Santiago, and other cities.
It All Began in Nuremberg is a translation of Rita Thalmann’s moving memoir, Tout Commença à Nuremberg, originally published in France in 2004. Thalmann’s memoir represents one of the last voices to witness personally the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust. The author, a scholar of significance in France, died on August 18, 2013.
Rita Thalmann was born in Nuremberg in 1926 and lived there until 1933, when anti-Semitic events made life intolerable. Her father abandoned his successful business and moved the family to Switzerland, where they were unwelcome, and then to France. After settling in Dijon, Rita attended public school until Jews were no longer allowed to pursue an education. At age fourteen, she took private lessons in English at the home of her teacher, Henriette Connes, who saved Rita from deportation and death by providing her with false identification papers and passing her to the Free Zone with a group of students going on a field trip. Although Rita and her brother managed to escape to Switzerland during the war, most of her family died in the Holocaust.
After the war, Rita Thalmann was determined to continue her education and participate in the struggle against anti-Semitism and discrimination of all types. She achieved the highest level of university teaching in France while publishing seven books. This memoir relates her personal experience of the historical events she spent most of her adult life researching.
Chris Fujiwara University of Illinois Press, 2009 Library of Congress PN1998.3.L46825F85 2009 | Dewey Decimal 791.43028092
Well known for his slapstick comedic style, Jerry Lewis has also delighted worldwide movie audiences with a directing career spanning five decades. One of American cinema's great innovators, Lewis made unmistakably personal films that often focused on an ideal masculine image and an anarchic, manic acting out of the inability to assume this image. Films such as The Bellboy, The Errand Boy, Three on a Couch, and The Big Mouth present a series of thematic variations on this tension, in which such questions as how to be a man, how to be popular, and how to maintain relationships are posed within frameworks that set up a liberating and exhilarating confusion of roles and norms. The Nutty Professor and The Patsy are especially profound and painful examinations of the difficulty experienced by Lewis's character in reconciling loving himself and being loved by others.
With sharp, concise observations, Chris Fujiwara examines this visionary director of self-referential comedic masterpieces. The book also includes an enlightening interview with Lewis that offers unique commentary on the creation and study of comedy.
The Land Was Theirs is a bout Farmingdale, New Jersey, a community of Jewish farming communities in the United States established with the help of the Jewish Agricultural Society. The 50 year history of Farmingdale provides a perspective on the pressures, problems, and satisfactions of rural Jewish life as experienced in one community.
Beginning in 1919, the community grew around the small town of Farmingdale, when two Jewish families pooled their resources to establish a farm. The community evolved gradually as unrelated individuals with no previous farm experience settled and then created the institutions and organizations they needed to sustain their Jewish life. By 1945 Farmingdale was one of the leading egg-producing communities in the United States, and contributed in large measure to New Jersey’s reputation as the “egg basket of America.”
The Land Was Theirs draws from life-history interviews with 120 farmers, from the author’s personal experiences, and from a variety of private and community papers and documents. They are the pieces from which a full picture of a single Jewish farm community emerges.
Eugene Gendlin's contribution to the theory of language is the focus of this collection of essays edited by David Michael Levin. This compilation of critical studies--each followed by a comment from Gendlin himself--investigates how concepts grow out of experience, and explores relations between Gendlin's philosophy of language and experience and the philosophies of Wittgenstein, Dilthey, and Heidegger.
When Fay Ajzenberg-Selove became a nuclear physicist, the number of women in the field could be counted on one hand. In this engaging memoir, Fay Ajzenberg-Selove writes candidly about her difficult journey to international recognition in physics. She is frank about the ways being a woman has made a difference in her opportunities and choices as a scientist--and how, by being a woman, she has made a difference in the world of physics.
Ajzenberg-Selove came to America at the age of 15 after narrowly escaping the Nazi takeover of France. She had planned to become an engineer like her father, but switched to physics after she was told the only engineering jobs open to women were in drafting: Marie Curie's example proved to her that women could do physics. Her first attempt at graduate work at Columbia University was a disaster, but she was sturck with the intellectual beauty of the field. After taking a Ph.D. in physics at University of Wisconsin, she did post-doctoral work with Thomas Lauritsen at the California Institute of Technology, where she began writing the first of a series of major review papers on the nuclear spectroscopy of the light nuclei, a subject of fundamental importance to nuclear physics, astrophysics, and applied physics. She continued this work and experimental research for thirty-eight years while teaching at Boston University, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania.
During her early career, Ajzenberg-Selove was shielded by her male mentors from experiencing much of the discrimination directed against women in science. Her simultaneous battles to become a tenured professor and to overcome breast cancer opened her eyes and confirmed her as a feminist.
The lay reader and the scientist alike will be fascinated by Ajzenberg-Selove's clear portrayal of her interlinked lives as physicist, teacher, wife of particle physicist, Walter Selove, and a woman who relishes both competition and friendship in a male-dominated field. An invaluable book for anyone contemplating a career in science.
Since their publication, the works of Dostoevsky have provided rich fodder for adaptations to opera, film, and drama. While Dostoevsky gave his blessing to the idea of adapting his work to other forms, he believed that "each art form corresponds to a series of poetic thoughts, so that one idea cannot be expressed in another non-corresponding form." In Multi-Mediated Dostoevsky, Alexander Burry argues that twentieth-century adaptations (which he calls "transpositions") of four of Dostoevsky’s works—Sergei Prokofiev’s opera The Gambler, Leos Janacek’s opera From the Dead House, Akira Kurosawa’s film The Idiot, and Adrzej Wajda’s drama The Devils—follow Dostoevsky’s precept by bringing to light underdeveloped or unappreciated aspects of Dostoevsky’s texts rather than by slavishly attempting to recreate their sources. Burry’s interdisciplinary approach gives his study broad appeal to scholars as well as to students of Russian, comparative literature, music, film, drama, and cultural studies.
My Fathers Testament
Edward Gastfriend Temple University Press, 1999 Library of Congress DS135.P62S65693 2000 | Dewey Decimal 940.5318092
This first-person account, by the youngest of eight children of a pious Jewish family from Sosnoviec in Poland, is remarkable for the faith shown by a teenager faced with the horrifying realities of the Holocaust. Edward Gastfriend, known as Lolek as a boy, remembers in heart-wrenching detail the seven years he survived in German-occupied Poland.
The accelerating Nazi assault on the Jews abruptly shattered Lolek's life. Jews were randomly beaten and arrested, forced out of their homes, deported to slave labor camps, and shot on the streets. During this time, Lolek lost his family, friends, and neighbors, the whole while struggling to hold onto a promise he made to his father before his father was deported. Lolek pledged never to denounce God and to maintain his faith. This covenant proved to be the key to his remarkable survival in several slave labor camps including Auschwitz and several satellite camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
My Father's Testament is an intimate portrayal of a teenage boy trying to stay alive without losing his humanity - in hiding, in the camps, and during the death marches at the end of the war.
Embedded in this unique memoir are two other stories of fathers and sons. One lies in the moving Foreword by David R. Gastfriend, Ed's son, now a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. The other lies in Bjorn Krondorfer's Afterword. Years after he met Edward Gastfriend, Krondorfer was startled to hear his father mention Blechhammer as one of the places where he was stationed as a young German soldier. Blechhammer was where Lolek was held in a slave labor camp. The coincidence led this German father and son to travel back to the site to confront the Holocaust.
My Father's Testament will engage readers interested in history, the Holocaust, and religion.
Marking a return of literary study from the remote reaches of abstraction to the realm of the immediate, the particular, and the real in which language and literature truly live, the essays in this volume articulate a productive, new critical approach: ordinary language criticism. With roots in the ordinary language philosophy derived especially from Wittgenstein in the early twentieth century, and in the ideas of American pragmatic philosophy propounded and extended by Stanley Cavell, this approach seeks to return criticism to its grounds in the natural language we all speak; to expose the terms of our engagement with narratives, arguments, and concepts-what Wittgenstein and Cavell call the "criteria" of our writing and reading.
Resisting master formulations and overarching theories, Ordinary Language Criticism does not so much dismiss the excitement of the last two decades of literary theorizing as it reminds us of the excitement of the shared common enterprises to which theory may still contribute. In this, the volume and the model it offers have wide implications for the academy, in which a widespread ersatz-sophistication has shorted the circuit between literary works and the real lives of those reading and teaching them.
With a definitive introduction by editors Kenneth Dauber and Walter Jost, and elaborations and practical examples by major figures such as Cavell himself, Martha Nussbaum, Marjorie Perloff, Anthony Cascardi, and Charles Altieri, among others, this volume clearly shows and explains how ordinary language criticism differs from current trends and what it exactly it can accomplish in theory and practice. These essays prove that by attending more faithfully to what we actually do when we read, we can make reading more productive--can reveal how extraordinary and rich, how really sophisticated, the ordinary actually is.
Privilege and Prejudice is a stereotype-defying autobiography. It reveals a Black man whose good fortune in birth and heritage and opportunity of time and place helped him to forge breakthroughs in four separate careers. Clifton R. Wharton Jr. entered Harvard at age 16. The first Black student accepted to the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, he went on to receive a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago—another first. For twenty-two years he promoted agricultural development in Latin America and Southeast Asia, earning a post as chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. He again pioneered higher education firsts as president of Michigan State University and chancellor of the sixty-four-campus State University of New York system. As chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, he was the first Black CEO of a Fortune 500 company. His commitment to excellence culminated in his appointment as deputy secretary of state during the Clinton administration. A remarkable story of persistence and courage, Privilege and Prejudice also documents the challenges of competing in a society where obstacles, negative expectations, and stereotypical thinking remained stubbornly in place. An absorbing and candid narrative, it describes a most unusual childhood, a remarkable family, and a historic career.
A tribute to Jane C. Goodale, Pulling the Right Threads discusses the vibrant ethnographer and teacher’s principles for mentoring, collaborating, and performing fieldwork. Known for her ethnographic research in the Pacific, development of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania, and influence in the anthropology department at Bryn Mawr College, Goodale and other contributors renew the debate in anthropology over the authenticity of field data and representations of other cultures. Together, they take aim at those who claim ethnography is outmoded or false.
Given the tensions and demands of medicine, highly successful physicians and surgeons rarely achieve equal success as prose writers. It is truly extraordinary that a major, international pioneer in the controversial field of transplant surgery should have written a spellbinding, and heart-wrenching, autobiography.
Thomas Starzl grew up in LeMars, Iowa, the son of a newspaper publisher and a nurse. His father also wrote science fiction and was acquainted with the writer Ray Bradbury. Starzl left the family business to enter Northwestern University Medical School where he earned both and M.D. and a PhD. While he was a student, and later during his surgical internship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, he began the series of animal experiments that led eventually to the world’s first transplantation of the human liver in 1963.
Throughout his career, first at the University of Colorado and then at the University of Pittsburgh, he has aroused both worldwide admiration and controversy. His technical innovations and medical genius have revolutionized the field, but Starzl has not hesitated to address the moral and ethical issues raised by transplantation. In this book he clearly states his position on many hotly debated issues including brain death, randomized trials for experimental drugs, the costs of transplant operations, and the system for selecting organ recipients from among scores of desperately ill patients.
There are many heroes in the story of transplantation, and many “puzzle people,” the patients who, as one journalist suggested, might one day be made entirely of various transplanted parts. They are old and young, obscure and world famous. Some have been taken into the hearts of America, like Stormie Jones, the brave and beautiful child from Texas. Every patient who receives someone else’s organ - and Starzl remembers each one - is a puzzle. “It was not just the acquisition of a new part,” he writes. “The rest of the body had to change in many ways before the gift could be accepted. It was necessary for the mind to see the world in a different way.” The surgeons and physicians who pioneered transplantation were also changed: they too became puzzle people. “Some were corroded or destroyed by the experience, some were sublimated, and none remained the same.”
Set in Motion collects for the first time the prose writings of A. R. Ammons, one of our most important and enduring contemporary poets. Hailed as a major force in American poetry by such redoubtable critics as Harold Bloom and Helen Vendler, Ammons has reflected upon the influences of luminaries like Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Frost, Stevens, and Williams while creating a compelling style and an artistic vision uniquely his own.
Set in Motion includes essays, reviews, and interviews as well as a selection of Ammons's poems, with commentary from the author about their inspiration and effects. He takes up the questions that have been central to American poetry over the last forty years and connects them to the larger enterprise of living in a difficult, changing world. At a moment when the arts are under attack, Ammons reminds us of the crucial role poetry plays in teaching us to recognize and use sources of understanding that are irreducible to statement.
A. R. Ammons is the author of Sphere, A Coast of Trees, and Garbage and was recently the editor of The Best American Poetry 1994. His awards include the MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, the Bollingen Prize, two National Book Awards, and prizes from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Book Critics Circle. He is Goldwin Smith Professor of Poetry, Cornell University.
Shadows of Treblinka
Miriam Kuperhand and Saul Kuperhand University of Illinois Press, 1998 Library of Congress DS135.P62K31845 1998 | Dewey Decimal 940.5318094384
Unique and compelling, this husband-and-wife memoir of the Holocaust
will move and inform generations. As we lose eyewitnesses to this ultimate
horror, the Kuperhands present us with an elegantly restrained, yet hard-hitting,
Kaddish to Polish Jewry.
Miriam was the daughter of a prosperous furrier; Saul was the son of
a poor shoemaker. Miriam was sixteen when she and her brother roamed the
wild countryside of Poland, searching for food and shelter--and for their
parents. Saul was only a few years older when he watched the smoke rising
from the crematoria and knew that his parents, sister, and eight brothers
were gone forever. Miriam lived by hiding; Saul lived by escaping from
The authors emphasize the essential role that Polish Christians played
in their survival and stress that wit, courage, faith, luck, and even
a strong will to live were worthless without their help.
The travail of their survival is wrenching yet comforting, tragic yet
upbeat, cinematic yet intimate. Shadows of Treblinka will haunt
and inspire its readers.
Stanley Cavell's work is distinctive not only in its importance to philosophy but also for its remarkable interdisciplinary range. Cavell is read avidly by students of film, photography, painting, and music, but especially by students of literature, for whom Cavell offers major readings of Thoreau, Emerson, Shakespeare, and others. In this first book-length study of Cavell's writings, Michael Fischer examines Cavell's relevance to the controversies surrounding poststructuralist literary theory, particularly works by Jacques Derrida, J. Hillis Miller, Paul de Man, and Stanley Fish.
Throughout his study, Fischer focuses on skepticism, a central concern of Cavell's multifaceted work. Cavell, following J. L. Austin and Wittgenstein, does not refute the radical epistemological questioning of Descartes, Hume, and others, but rather characterizes skepticism as a significant human possibility or temptation. As presented by Fischer, Cavell's accounts of both external-world and other-minds skepticism share significant affinities with deconstruction, a connection overlooked by contemporary literary theorists.
Fischer follows Cavell's lead in examining how different genres address the problems raised by skepticism and goes on to show how Cavell draws on American and English romanticism in fashioning a response to it. He concludes by analyzing Cavell's remarks about current critical theory, focusing on Cavell's uneasiness with some of the conclusions reached by its practitioners. Fischer shows that Cavell's insights, grounded in powerful analyses of Descartes, Hume, and Wittgenstein, permit a fresh view of Derrida, Miller, de Man, and Fish. The result is not only a revealing characterization of deconstruction but a much-needed and insightful introduction to Cavell's rich but difficult oeuvre.
How does a young German who has been a member of the Hitler Youth and has competed in Nazi-organized athletic competitions become, over the span of two years, an eighty-pound, tuberculosis-stricken concentration camp escapee?
In this larger-than-life memoir, Walter Meyer leads readers from one harrowing moment to the next as he recounts his experiences during and after Hitler's reign. As a teenager, Meyer refused to conform to institutional rules. While serving in the Hitler Youth, he rebelled by joining a subversive group that focused its efforts on pranks against the youth organization. During World War II, Meyer was arrested, interrogated, and beaten for stealing shoes, but he received a sentence of one to four years, as opposed to the standard penalty for looting—death.
The sixteen-year-old Meyer's refusal to conform to prison regulations and his foiled escape attempts resulted in solitary confinement on several occasions. His fiery spirit eventually landed him in a Nazi work camp. Unbeknownst to his family, Meyer became a concentration camp prisoner. Transported to Ravensbrueck, he was forced to work under grueling conditions in a quarry. He struggled to reach his daily work quota so he could dine on watery broth and bits of bread. In these subhuman conditions, Meyer developed tuberculosis. Knowing he would soon die in the camp, he again plotted his escape. This time he succeeded.
Upon returning home to Duesseldorf, Meyer despaired at the destruction of his hometown. He lamented the pallor that had spread throughout the town and the country itself. After recovering his health, he regained his youthful lust for adventure. His postwar travels began with his infiltration of the Russian-occupied zone of Germany to retrieve his family's possessions. Meyer then began a whirlwind odyssey, ducking into train cars and stowing away on ships, occasionally landing in jail for traveling without a passport—from France to Spain, Belgium to Holland, and finally to South America--in pursuit of something other than the aftermath of war.
Meyer's memoir gives insight into the climate in Germany during World War II and in the defeated nation after the war. His experience as a non-Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camps provides an enlightening and varied perspective to the Holocaust dialogue.