THE HYPHENATED FAMILY by Hermann Hagedorn
Kirkus Star

THE HYPHENATED FAMILY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this charmingly written book the 79-year-old author -- poet, biographer, novelist, author of The Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill, etc. -- tells of his ""hyphenated"" German-American family, and how he himself managed to escape its hyphenation and become a complete American. The author's father, also named Hermann, was reared in Gottingen, Germany, under the domination of an iron-willed mother and two interfering spinster sisters; coming to America as a young man, he settled in Brooklyn and to his mother's fury married a delightful German-American girl, Annie Schwedler; the author, born in 1881, was the youngest of their five children. Living a German existence in New York, knowing only things German, the elder Hagedorn sent his two older sons to be educated in Germany and each year returned to Gottingen with his wife and other children; in 1905, a rich man, he went back to Germany to live -- and to discover that the real Germany was not the country of his dreams. Beset with his elderly sisters, betrayed by his own sentimentality and ruined by the first War, he died, mourning his dead wife, in the great house he had built for himself. At the insistence of his mother the author escaped a German fate; declaring that he must be an American, she sent him to American schools, where he discovered an unknown country and made new friends, and at last married an American wife; this story of the making of an American is particularly touching. Written with humor, sympathy and occasional exasperation, these memoirs of a long-vanished American life will appeal to members of hybrid families of all kinds; devotees of good social biography should also enjoy it.

Publisher: Macmillan