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The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century | [David Laskin]

The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century

In the latter half of the 19th century Laskin's great-great-grandfather, a Torah scribe named Shimon Dov HaKohen, raised six children with his wife, Beyle, at the western fringe of the Russian empire. The HaKohen family split off into three branches. One branch emigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; one branch went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; and the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the Holocaust.
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Publisher's Summary

The author of the The Children's Blizzard delivers an epic work of 20th-century history through the riveting story of one extraordinary Jewish family.

With cinematic power and beauty, best-selling author David Laskin limns his own genealogy to tell the spellbinding tale of the three drastically different paths that his family members took across the span of 150 years.

In the latter half of the 19th century Laskin's great-great-grandfather, a Torah scribe named Shimon Dov HaKohen, raised six children with his wife, Beyle, in a yeshiva town at the western fringe of the Russian empire. The pious couple expected their sons and daughters to carry the family tradition into future generations. But the social and political upheavals of the 20th century decreed otherwise.

The HaKohen family split off into three branches. One branch emigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; one branch went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; and the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the Holocaust.

In tracing the roots of his own family, Laskin captures the epic sweep of 20th-century history. A modern-day scribe, Laskin honors the traditions, the lives, and the choices of his ancestors: revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, scholars and farmers, tycoons and truck drivers. The Family is an eloquent masterwork of true grandeur - a deeply personal, dramatic, and universal account of a people caught in a cataclysmic time in world history.

©2013 David Laskin (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

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4.2 (19 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 06-18-14
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 06-18-14 Member Since 2007

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

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    "Great potential, but doesn't quite make it"

    This book looks at three branches of the same Jewish family from pre-WWII Europe and the three routes they take--emigrating to America, Palestine, and staying in Europe. Each branch had a different outcome. The book is the result of the author's research into his own family. I liked, but didn't love, the book. I had a hard time tracking some of the family members and their stories, and I felt the writing was, at times, cumbersome.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 05-13-14
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 05-13-14
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    "Unforgetable!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Family the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the author's look into his family background with a riveting eye to detail. He displayed his sense of humor and his penchant for fantastic research, compiling a compulsively readable account of three branches of his ancestry. There are many players on this stage, and with such a large canvas it is occasionally hard to keep track, but what a wonderful chronicle!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Family?

    The early immigrant experience in new York, Sonya's risky venture to Palestine, the horrors of the Holocaust...


    Any additional comments?

    This book and performance were fantastic! My only quibble about the audio is related more to post-production than the narrator himself. There were several passages - only a sentence or two - where the narrator's voice was pitched low, and the sound quality was quite obviously different.. It throws one for an auditory loop.

    This aside, The Family is a wonderful performance and ancestry.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan 12-07-13
    susan 12-07-13
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    "great telling,feeling,huge success,voice abit fast"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes, it's a must, hard to ignore either the voice or the content, masses of facts and reminders, impressive organisation


    What did you like best about this story?

    the dirth of adjectives and adverbs makes for a strong message


    Have you listened to any of Geoffrey Cantor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paulette ellicott city, MD, United States 11-11-13
    Paulette ellicott city, MD, United States 11-11-13 Member Since 2009
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    "A Must Read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Family the most enjoyable?

    David Lasken has written a saga of a family's hard work, enduring love, heartbreak and fate. This true story encompasses life's experiences that are relevant to every individual. The reader feels as though he has made the journey along with this family and one embraces each member and feels immersed in his or her story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The tone and the even-handedness of the author in telling the story.


    What about Geoffrey Cantor’s performance did you like?

    Was able to sweep you up and engage the listener as if this was really his story.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The epilogue was immensely moving.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Stern 11-24-14
    R. Stern 11-24-14
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    "Meaningfully woven story"
    If you could sum up The Family in three words, what would they be?

    Significant historical treasure


    What other book might you compare The Family to and why?

    Cain & Abel but I like nonfiction much better!


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    This is my only criticism. He should have stated "Chapter One," "Chapter Two," etc.
    between each branch of the story. I'm sure it would have been more understandable
    if it were on the page instead of listening. He went from one family to the next without a break and it took a lot of concentration to remember each name of each family member and what country they were in.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It warmed and tore my heart at the same time!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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