A memoir that offers a rare, underrepresented perspective on World War II.


Why Can't Somebody Just Die Around Here?

Maroscher (Short Stories: German 1.1 Reader, 2011, etc.) recounts the challenges of being a young boy in Europe during World War II and growing up in America in its aftermath.

The author’s parents met in Romania and wed in 1939, the same year that Germany invaded Poland, igniting World War II. He was born in 1943, after his brother, Gunter. His father—a Lutheran minister, schoolteacher, and “reluctant warrior”—was called to join the Hungarian army to fight the encroaching Russian forces. The Russians’ reputation for brutality was well- known, so Maroscher’s mother decided to flee with her two boys before traveling to her sister’s house in Weimar, Germany. She took them aboard a train that was evacuating wounded German soldiers, and she braved numerous hardships, including the constant threat of air raids. They stopped in Herzogenburg, Austria, and lived at a refugee camp, formerly a monastery. The conditions were cramped and deplorable, and food was so scarce the author’s mother had to threaten the director with a gun to have access to it; her boys were all but starving. They finally made it to Weimar and lived under American occupation when the war ended, which was relatively tolerable, despite the family’s reasonable suspicions of the conquering force. Things took a turn for the worse, though, when the Americans were replaced by Russians. Maroscher’s father had been gone for two years by that point, and his mother secretly sent a note to their old home, hoping to discover whether he was alive. The family was eventually reunited and, in the face of economic hardship, immigrated to the United States. Over the years, the family gradually realized the American dream, improving their lot and achieving impressive social mobility. Maroscher’s research, while reliant upon informal interviews with family members, is impressively meticulous and thorough. The author controls the narrative like an orchestra conductor, allowing each player’s contribution to have its part within the piece as a whole. Also, he’s refreshingly candid about his own life, particularly his sometimes-troubled teenage years, and he writes with wit and compassion. The memoir’s length and detail may be challenging for readers who aren’t familiar with the Maroscher family, but students of history will be engaged by this unusual story of World War II survivors.

A memoir that offers a rare, underrepresented perspective on World War II.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9816079-6-2

Page Count: 361

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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