Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gripped Again

     About two years ago I read a book called, "The Perfect Nazi" and the book gripped me. Couldn't put it down.  The writer, Martin Davidson,  researched his grandfather's past to try to determine why his grandfather would have been involved with the vicious Nazi Party. His grandfather would not talk about his experiences after the war so it took thorough investigative work to create a perspective of his grandfather's life in post WWI Germany and how his grandfather willingly joined and thrived in the infamous military regime with his coming to manhood in lock step with the origin and growth of the Nazis.  It was the research that pulled me in. The book inspired me to write my own investigation of my grandfather. I had some unanswered questions about my father's father that I wanted to study as closely as I could in search of answers.  In five installments on this blog from April to June 2012 I posted "My Grandfather's (Sort Of) Secret Past." 

     Now I've been gripped by another book, "The Lost" by Daniel Mendelsohn. I've only gotten through one chapter but I can tell already I'm going to lose a lot of sleep with this one. Mendelsohn describes his Jewish family history as it relates to their origination in the Ukraine centuries earlier and specifically researches the deaths of one family, that of his grandfather's brother, in the Holocaust. The writer's interest was peaked at an early age when older relatives would cry upon seeing him because he resembled his grand uncle so closely. 

         Mendelsohn weaves his research with his childhood observations, interaction with his grandfather,  documents and photos in family files, through a  detailed  historical explanation of Jewish history, holidays, and beliefs. A tapestry of mystery, history, and tragedy. Like Davidson, Mendelsohn hides nothing.  Even family secrets and rivalries, some of which contributed to the circumstances in which family members died, are laid bare. 

     I don't see this one inspiring any blog research of my own. So my searching will go on...right after I finish this book.

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