4 out of 4 stars
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Newcomers' Accomplishments II is a non-fiction book that portrays the successful lives of Holocaust survivors emigrated from present-day Slovakia after 1953. The author, A. Robert Neurath, Ph.D., makes a point to remember the lives of the survivors by celebrating their professional achievements instead of pitying them. The author makes use of comprehensive research to provide us with a book full of empowering biographies.
The book starts off with a brief history of Slovakia after the Holocaust. The author talks about an ethnic cleansing that took place between 1945 to 1950, driving out about 200,000 people and ending about 30,000 lives. After that, the book proceeds with biographies of survivors who excelled professionally in literature, science, arts, and business. Images of the survivors, as well as their works, are shown in the book.
The author intends to make the book celebratory through the survivors’ achievements. This is observed in the book cover, wherein the survivors who emigrated to other countries are still a part of a progressing world even with their traumatic past. The biographies are short, but enough to illustrate the joys, the struggles, and the successes of each survivor.
By taking a closer look, the biographies are standard. Most of them follow a format that starts with the survivor’s experience during the Holocaust or the Slovak National Uprising. This follows up with the survivor’s education, usually after emigration. Afterward, the book talks about the survivor’s works and how they became famous. This common format, I believe, is an effective way to show the lives of more than a hundred people in the book. The format is easy to read, and it follows a familiar narrative of struggle to success, a narrative that is fitting in this book. The format may seem repetitive, but this is hardly a problem if the reader is presented with the unique lives of more than a hundred people.
What I like most about the book is that it understands how narratives can shape people’s reality. What’s better is that the book applies this narrative to give us an empowering account of the lives of people, especially the Holocaust survivors. Overall, Newcomers' Accomplishments II is a worthy read full of life mixed with comprehensive research. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I can recommend this book to anyone, especially to people in the Jewish community who still feel traumatized from their past. Out of all the non-fiction books that I encountered, this book is one of the few who knows the true value of good storytelling.
Newcomers' Accomplishments II
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