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The Dream: A Memoir Kindle Edition

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Length: 281 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

"In A Dark Wood"
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Having mined his English upbringing in The Invisible Wall, Bernstein resumes a nine-decade reckoning in this gently observed memoir of a Jewish immigrant family riven from within. Eager to escape English mill town life, his mother promises her brood a better life in America-a dream providentially fulfilled with steamship tickets. But even after reuniting with family in Chicago, his father's "bloody 'ell" bellows and monstrous rage continue to smite. The author takes in his new surroundings with a keen adolescent eye, observing "back porches all piled on top of one another like egg crates," belying celluloid America-as do his ragamuffin elders, with his grandfather reduced to begging in secret. At school he confounds Midwestern types with his Lancashire accent, comically mistaken for an Egyptian named "Arry." Engulfed in the Roaring '20s, the Bernsteins revel in the luxuries of telephones and parlor rooms, only to feel the wallop of the Depression as the decade wanes. Uprooted to New York, Bernstein ekes out a living and falls quietly, desperately in love, achieving a joyful 67-year marriage. Coming on the heels of his first book, this one will delight readers eager for more of Bernstein's distinctive voice and gift for character. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

In 2007, when he was 96, Bernstein wrote his first memoir, The Invisible Wall. Now he continues the story of his life. He writes about his early days in England, where his mother strived to raise her six children, and their coming to America, where they met relatives in Chicago during the Depression. Bernstein also describes the poor section of a Lancashire mill town where he lived, “an invisible wall, the imaginary barrier that separated the Christians and the Jews,” and the warm welcome the family received in Chicago, where they were unprepared for the freezing weather. He worked as a clerk in the main Chicago post office after graduating from high school and then moved to Brooklyn, “a huge ghetto composed largely of Jewish immigrants who had fled the anti-Semitism of Poland and Russia.” This coherent account of Bernstein’s life is a fascinating and well-written book. --George Cohen

Product Details

  • File Size: 1578 KB
  • Print Length: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (September 23, 2008)
  • Publication Date: September 23, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00164X2AO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,885 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ninety-six-year-old Harry Bernstein emigrated to the United States with his family after World War I. He has written all his life but started writing The Invisible Wall only after the death of his wife, Ruby. He has been published in 'My Turn' in Newsweek. Bernstein lives in Brick, New Jersey, where he is working on another book.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading his moving and evocative first memoir, The Invisible Wall, about his life till age 12 living in Manchester as a child of Polish Jewish immigrants, I had eagerly awaited the possible sequel. This new book is as good as the first. Mr. Bernstein, now 98 years old, continues his story, covering the time of the family move to the USA, their experiences in Chicago and New York, their life during good times and then the depression. This book fits into several genera: 1. It is an autobiography, 2. It is a case study in parental abuse and general dysfunctional family members, and 3. It is a pesonal memoir of how this boy, and then man, responded to the various situations. To be honest, while I loved the writing and the story, something I cannot forget is the beautiful picture of Mr. Bernstein's wife, in her later years, looking up at him. The love is just so clear in her face.

Read this book, after reading the Invisible Wall, and be swept into this remarkable family history.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By MC reader on September 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have read many memoirs, since those are what I prefere to read. Now that I have read this beautiful memoir, The Dream, writen by Harry Bernstien, all the others pale in comparison. I first picked up The Invisible Wall by Mr. Bernstein, I liked it from the first page. I was glued to that book and absolutley could not put it down. While reading it I was thinking, Oh please let there be many many more of his books continuing the tale of his very interesting family. As soon as I finished The Invisible Wall and found there to be a sequel, I ordered it from Amazon and was so impatient, could barley wait for its arrival. I just finished it. It took about 18 hours, non stop, except to sleep. It was just as good as the first.
He tells his story so vividly. I felt that I was there with these people, that I knew them personally. I cringed when I knew some thing that was said or done was going to make the father angry. For I had "known" how his father was by now. I felt sad for Harrys mother. I cried, deep rib racking cries at the end of The Dream.
I know Harry is 98 now, but I selfishly want him to keep producing books. But, I know in reality..... But the grapevine says he started another. Wow, this man is something else. I don't remember what happen in my life nine years ago let alone 90 years ago. I will never forget these stories of how it was for this family in those days. Very interesting to see it through a mind of a child all the way through to his adulthood. The story was so easy to read, well told and written beautifully, by this beautiful man and his heart wrenching account of what took place.
Oh "Arry", my only regret is that you didn't start to write this sooner. Thank you for bringing readers this unforgettable story. It will stay in my mind and heart forever!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Beth A. Wegbreit on April 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could not wait until this book arrived and it was even better than Bernstein's first book. He really describes his family members so that the reader can understand who and why they are. His devotion to both his mother who was the inspiration for his dreams and his wife who was the love of his life is very touching. I cried when I finished the book. My only solace is the note at the end which indicates that he is planning a third book. What a feat for a man of 98!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Cowell VINE VOICE on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As soon as I heard that Harry Bernstein had written a second memoir dealing with his early life America, I ordered it at once and devoured it. God bless this writer! He is 98 years old and hopes to give us a third memoir of his life with his beloved wife Ruby. I will buy it the day it is printed.

Young Harry and his brothers and sisters, devoted mother and rather despicable, drunken and despotic father, leave their Liverpool poverty and travel to America in the early twentieth century. As Harry grows, the first of his family to complete high school (his mother cannot read or write), he takes on the role of the man in the house, eventually managing to work even during the Depression (though nearly killed by a band of thugs), trying to get his mother away from his father who has always made their life miserable. The strength, charm and humor of young Harry is wonderful and when he at last falls in love with a girl he meets in a dance hall, he begins a romance and marriage which will last him almost three quarters of a century.

So many people are lovingly and fascinatingly portrayed, none less than his grandfather who in a strange, lonely, almost unbelievable profession, supports them all.

Please write the next book quickly, Mr. Bernstein!

Stephanie Cowell (author of the novel MARRYING MOZART)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By June Miles on October 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading "The Invisible Wall" I knew that I had to purchase "The Dream." Not only is Mr. Bernstein an effective writer--he just happens to live in the town next-door! Mr. Bernstein's account of his early years in England, living on a street comprised of both Christians and Jews and of the "invisible wall" between the two cultures was so moving that I immediately started on "The Dream." This book does not disappoint. The 98-year old author continues his story, now in the United States. But the realization of his mother's dream of living in the USA does not make life easier for this family. They say that truth is stranger than fiction and Mr. Bernstein's history certainly proves the old maxim to be true. Unusual characters, from mobsters to rabbis, many of them relatives, abound. Poignant but never maudlin, his books are reminiscent of those of Frank McCourt and tell of an age long past. Replete with sorrow and deep sadness we are reminded in the end of the triumph of the human spirit and of our shared humanity. In telling his own tale Mr. Bernstein has managed to tell the story of us all and to tear down the walls that separate us. This book is a must-read!!
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