About the book
This book encompasses the world of pre-war Polish Jewry, particularly the socialist and Yiddishist world of the Bund, the Jewish socialist party born in Tsarist Russia, and then striking firm roots in independent post- World-War Poland. It further depicts the war years in Poland, the Soviet Union, and Japan; the world of a young immigrant in California, in New York, and in the American army, and finally the world of a Sovietologist, a profession the author practiced while working for the United States government in several capacities and in the retirement years. This book is a chronicle of vanishing worlds, yet worlds that left an indelible imprint on the world and that comprise a story worth telling.
“A vivid impression of the atmosphere, both the personal life in the foreground and the great events rumbling on in the background–an essential (but rarely achieved) element in this kind of autobiography.
—Bernard Wasserstein, historian, author of Divided Jerusalem: Struggle for the Holy City, The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln and other books.
“Of interest to all specialists in modern East European history, politics and culture, it should also appeal to non-specialists, some of whom will read it as a good yarn while others will recognize themselves or their ancestors…”
—Istvan Deak, historian, author of Essays on Hitler’s Europe and other books; regular contributor, The New York Review of Books
“This is a fascinating memoir, recounting the author’s traverse of multiple cultures and languages, from Palestine and Poland to America, and an outstanding career in government and Sovietology. Abraham Brumberg vividly evokes the whole ghostly atmosphere of the years just before and during World War II, as well as the anomaly of a liberal Sovietologist in Cold War America. The real hero of the tale is the Jewish-Socialist Bund, which gave Brumberg an amazingly sunny childhood in Poland even as Europe hurtled toward 1939 and Armageddon, and thereafter provided the support of an international fraternal organization. Brumberg came through all this as a man combining objectivity and conviction, rising above rancor but fearless in his judgments both of people and regimes.”
—Robert V. Daniels, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Vermont, author of The Conscience of the Revolution, The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia and other books.