Pub Date 30 Jan 2018
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“One of the best books, certainly the best nonfiction book, that I've read recently.” —Nancy Pearl on NPR’s Morning Edition
“An extraordinary achievement.” —New York Times Book Review
An award-winning writer captures a year that defined the modern world, intertwining historical events around the globe with key moments from her personal history.
The year 1947 marks a turning point in the twentieth century. Peace with Germany becomes a tool to fortify the West against the threats of the Cold War. The CIA is created, Israel is about to be born, Simone de Beauvoir experiences the love of her life, an ill George Orwell is writing his last book, and Christian Dior creates the hyper-feminine New Look as women are forced out of jobs and back into the home.
In the midst of it all, a ten-year-old Hungarian-Jewish boy resides in a refugee camp for children of parents murdered by the Nazis. This year he has to make the decision of a lifetime, one that will determine his own fate and that of his daughter yet to be born, Elisabeth.
“Among innumerable turning points in history, 1947, just two years after World War II ended, is a year worth review. Åsbrink's book, translated from the Swedish, makes some of that year's neglected history and high drama tangible and meaningful. With a technique reminiscent of John Dos Passos' "newsreels," the author records events from across the world (Paris, Palestine, New York, Los Angeles, Budapest, Berlin, Delhi, etc.), using the present tense to create a sense of immediacy…Throughout the book, Åsbrink artfully selects her narratives…A skillful and illuminating way of presenting, to wonderful effect, the cultural, political, and personal history of a year that changed the world.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
“An intriguing account of a number of significant events which occurred in a year when the world was beginning to come to terms with the fallout from the Second World War…Åsbrink deftly brings together the tangle, the mess, the aspirations, and the disappointments which characterized the period and which for her resonate personally through her family history.” —Rosemary Ashton, author of One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858