Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004
The author must have run short of material. The first half of this book is beyond excellent, recounting the personal background and experiences of a group of War refugees who, in 1948, were emmigrating from various parts of Europe to Australia. Parts are especially interesting because the author, as a child, was one of the passengers herself, as we her own parents. Many scenes are memorable, eg,on Yom Kippur, services were held for the Jews. Her parents, for reasons of survival, had hid their Jewishness and because there was a Jewish quota, were traveling as non-Jews. The tension over the question of whether they should reveal themselves so they could observe the day is just one of the tiny points in this book that make it so interesting. Today, it's easy to forget all the "little" rules that existed at the time -- such as the Derma's 25% limit on Jewish passenbers.
All of the stories of the passengers on the voyage, the tensions among the several Germans -- some of them former Nazis -- and the surviving Jews; how a group of refugee children fared; the stress of the terribly overcrowed conditions, lost luggage, poor food, lack of water, all make it an engrossing 'how it was' book, and supremely interesting and worthwhile.
Unfortunately, a little over half through, the author apparently ran out of material and decided to fill in with contemporary accounts of what several former passengers are doing now. At this point, it becomes a tedious recital of success after success. Nice that they all did so well, but the endless accolades get seriously boring. She even goes so far as to quote the verbatim language on a placque of recognition one of the men had received from his community. Yikes!
Again, how wonderful he did so well. But it's too bad this is an audiobook, and you can't skip over it very easily, as you would in a regular book.
It's still worth listening to -- the narrator is good, and the book is a valuable contribution to existing knowledge.
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