The Man Who Swam into History: The (Mostly) True Story of My Jewish Family

Paperback | September 1, 2005

byRobert A. Rosenstone

not yet rated|write a review

The story begins with a grandfather who heroically escaped from Russia by swimming the Pruth River to Romania—or did he? Then there are stories of another grandfather who kept a lifelong mistress; grandmothers who were ignored except in the kitchen; migrations legal and illegal from Eastern Europe to Canada to California; racketeers on one side of the family and Communists on the other; and a West Coast adolescence in the McCarthy years. All of these (mostly true) stories form a Jewish family's history, a tale of dislocation and assimilation. But in the hands of award-winning historian Robert Rosenstone, they become much more. The fragments of memory so beautifully preserved in The Man Who Swam into History add unforgettable, human characters to the now familiar story of the Jewish diaspora in the twentieth century.

This combination memoir/short story collection recounts the Rosenstone family's passage from Romania to America. Robert Rosenstone tells the story not as a single, linear narrative, but through "tales, sequences, windows, moments, and fragments resurrected from the lives of three generations in my two parental families, set in five countries on two continents over the period of almost a century." This more literary and personal approach allows Rosenstone's relatives to emerge as distinct personalities, voices who quarrel and gossip, share their dreams and fears, and maintain the ties of a loving, if eccentric, family. Among the genre of "coming to America" tales, The Man Who Swam into History is a work of unique vision, one that both records and reconstructs the past even as it continuously—and humorously—questions the truth of its own assertions.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$32.50

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

The story begins with a grandfather who heroically escaped from Russia by swimming the Pruth River to Romania—or did he? Then there are stories of another grandfather who kept a lifelong mistress; grandmothers who were ignored except in the kitchen; migrations legal and illegal from Eastern Europe to Canada to California; racketeers on...

ROBERT A. ROSENSTONE is Professor of History at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. His previous books include Romantic Revolutionary: A Biography of John Reed; Mirror in the Shrine: American Encounters in Meiji Japan; Visions of the Past: The Challenge of Film to Our Idea of History; and King of Odessa, a novel based o...

other books by Robert A. Rosenstone

History on Film/Film on History
History on Film/Film on History

Kobo ebook|Jan 14 2014

$57.68

Experiments in Rethinking History
Experiments in Rethinking History

Kobo ebook|Aug 2 2004

$55.05

see all books by Robert A. Rosenstone
Format:PaperbackDimensions:215 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.5 inPublished:September 1, 2005Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292709501

ISBN - 13:9780292709508

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Man Who Swam into History: The (Mostly) True Story of My Jewish Family

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction Prologue: Romania, Rumania, RoumaniaOne. The Man Who SwamTwo. Far from Hasenpoth Three. Lazarus West Four. Wild Hannah Five. The Afterthought Six. Transylvania Sank Seven. Lower California, Here We Come Eight. Hannah's Lament Nine. Mixed-up Bobby Ten. Izzy the Red Eleven. Café Odessa Epilogue: Sunday in Montreal

Editorial Reviews

One of our most imaginative living historians takes us into the midst of his own past and makes us part of his family, even as he becomes part of our own. This book stands as a triumph of new scholarship and narrative. - Alan Cheuse, writer and book commentator for National Public Radio