A historically valuable and emotionally affecting collection of wartime letters.




In this debut book, a writer compiles letters from two Jewish parents—desperately trying to flee the Nazis in Europe—to their daughter. 

Rosi Baczewski (nee Mosbacher) was born in Nuremberg, Germany, but left for England in 1939 as Nazi rule became increasingly intolerable for Jews, eventually making her way to the United States. Her parents—Hugo and Clemy Mosbacher—intended to reunite with her in New York after fleeing Germany for the Netherlands but were confronted with an entangled skein of bureaucratic challenges trying to secure the necessary documents. They never obtained a visa to enter the Netherlands but decided the deteriorating conditions in Germany made crossing the border illegally unavoidable. They were arrested in early 1940 in the Netherlands and spent two months in detention in Amsterdam, the first time they were separated since they married in 1911. They were released, but a few months later the Nazis invaded the country. Hugo and Clemy sent hundreds of letters to Rosi from 1940 to 1943, right up until they were seized by the Nazis in Amsterdam and ultimately sent to Auschwitz to die. Vasos, Baczewski’s daughter-in-law, assembled those letters in this moving collection, translated by various experts and coupled with a running historical commentary. The volume clearly chronicles not only the efforts of the Mosbachers to escape the Netherlands, but also the general plight of the Jews in Europe. Baczewski held onto those letters for 70 years before she gave them to the author. The correspondence covers a broad spectrum of issues, including the Mosbachers’ attempts to hack their way through a thicket of logistical issues that kept them stranded in the Netherlands and their heroic work to remain optimistic. The epistles are both historically edifying and profoundly moving—Hugo writes of the “immeasurable joy” he experienced each time he received a communication from his daughter. Still, both Hugo and Clemy were entirely aware of the precariousness of their situation and often expressed disconsolateness in response to their troubles. One letter ends with a sober aphorism: “What cannot be cured must be endured.” Vasos astutely situates the letters historically, ultimately producing a loving tribute to Hugo and Clemy as well as a treasure trove of historical insights and moral testimony.

A historically valuable and emotionally affecting collection of wartime letters. 

Pub Date: May 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997425-2-5

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Pen Stroke Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2019

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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