In his intimate and profoundly moving Jewish family history—a memoir of displacement, prejudice, hope, despair, and love—award-winning New York Times columnist Roger Cohen turns a compassionate and discerning eye on the legacy of his own forebears. Beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing through to the present day, Cohen tracks his family’s story of repeated upheaval, four generations of wandering from pre-Shoah Lithuania to apartheid-era South Africa, and then to England, the United States, and Israel.
At the heart of Cohen’s story is the powerful bond he had with his mother, the “girl” forced to travel far from home. Tormented by a deep depression yet stoic in her struggle, she embodied her son’s complex inheritance. Graceful, honest, and sweeping, The Girl from Human Street is a remarkable chronicle of the quest for belonging across generations, a gripping saga, and a resonant portrait of identity and memory in the modern age.