The emotional toll of silence and victimhood, rendered through intimate detail and rich historical context.

SUCH GOOD GIRLS

THE JOURNEY OF THE HOLOCAUST'S HIDDEN CHILD SURVIVORS

Through the stories of three fortunate Jewish girls—one Polish, one French, one Dutch—the author reveals “hidden children” as an unexplored facet of Holocaust research.

A versatile writer known for his Harvey Blissberg mysteries and other offbeat works (A Buffalo in the House: A True Story of a Man, an Animal and the American West, 2007, etc.), Rosen enters the lives of these three girls and others hidden at enormous peril during World War II. The three made their getaway from Nazi persecution with the help of Christians, and they were instructed in how to be quiet, obedient and confused about their identities. Five-year-old Selma Schwarzwald and her mother, Laura, were able to escape the Lvov ghetto in 1942 after husband Daniel bought them Christian identification papers before he was taken away and never heard from again. The resourceful mother grilled her fair-haired daughter on their new identities, as well as on the Catholic catechism, and fled to Krakow, then to Leming, where Laura, with her fluent German, found work translating for an SS man. Six-year-old Flora Hillel, at school in Nice, France, did not raise her hand in class in September 1943 when the teacher asked which children were Jews. Her fearful mother promptly deposited her in a Catholic monastery, where she received rigorous religious training and later lived with and was adopted by a French-Swedish couple and became Flora Hogman; she never heard from her mother again. Carla Heijmans moved around from one safe house to another with some of the remaining family members, much like the family of Anne Frank—except the Heijmans were not found out, and thus Carla carried the guilt of surviving when two-thirds of Europe’s Jewry did not. Rosen examines how the lives of these hidden children turned out; many survivors went into “helping professions” and never spoke of their experiences.

The emotional toll of silence and victimhood, rendered through intimate detail and rich historical context.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-229710-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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