BIOGRAPHY

The Survivors: A Story of War, Inheritance, and Healing

Harper. Oct. 2019. 288p. illus. ISBN 9780062258588. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062258601. MEMOIR
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Frankel, an adviser to the Emerson Collective and former speechwriter for Barack Obama, debuts with a distinct account that is part history of the Holocaust, part memoir of a parent living with mental illness, and a behind-the-scenes look at the first Obama campaign and administration. Frankel’s maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Family stories and research in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum archives detail their horrific experiences. The trauma of surviving the Holocaust negatively affected his American-born mother’s long-term mental health. Though his mother and father divorced when he was young, he remained close to both parents and both sets of grandparents. When he finished college, he began to ask his mother hard questions about his parentage. What he learned left him reeling just as he was embarking on an outwardly successful professional and personal life. Here, he honestly recounts this difficult journey of relearning identity and belonging.
VERDICT Readers of biography, history, and politics, and those interested in the effects of trauma on subsequent generations, will appreciate this thoughtful book.

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