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Two Rings: A Story of Love and War Hardcover – March 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review


Kirkus Review

“Werber's story is wholly engrossing, written with exceptional immediacy and attention to detail… A deeply affecting addition to Holocaust literature.”



Booklist

“Among all the shelves of Holocaust memoirs, this book stands out for the quality of the spare, honest, passionate narrative of survivor Millie Werber… A story certain to spark discussion.”


The Weekender

“Every now and then a book comes along that so clearly draws the line between catastrophic devastation and minor nuisance that it’s impossible to ignore… It is impossible to not be moved by the writing in this book, and it is impossible to not be awed by the fact that Werber’s survival was simply based on luck, chance and, often, the kindness of others.”


American Jewish World
“Charmingly told… Millie kept much of this private for 60 years, until a son persuaded her to tell it to Keller. The result keeps you turning the pages.”

Jewish Week

“While she’s decades younger than Alice Herz-Sommer, Millie Werber is also an inspiring figure. ‘Two Rings: A Story of Love and War,’ which she wrote with Eve Keller (Public Affairs) is a beautifully written memoir of surviving the Holocaust as a teenager. Werber, who now lives on Long Island, reveals the unlikely heroes of her life, and also a powerful and tragic wartime love story that she had kept hidden in the years since.”


Anton Newspapers

“Werber and Keller movingly convey the hopelessness of being a teenager, a widow, and a factory worker at a Nazi-operated facility, with no end to the casual cruelty and violent deaths in sight. In addition, Werber’s 1943 marriage, her time at Auschwitz in 1944, and subsequent relocation to Lippstadt, Germany in 1945 are covered in great detail and make for a compelling read.”


Sydney Morning Herald / The Age (Australia)
“A heartbreaking tale of lost love… These stories are tributes to those they loved and lost, and whom they want not to be forgotten…In between all of this are descriptions of the brutality in the camps. Ultimately, this will leave the biggest impression on readers, most of whom - like this one - will struggle to comprehend the evil that men and women are capable of perpetrating against others.”
 
Curled Up with a Good Book

“Aside from the appealing love story that gives this memoir its title, what sets apart the story of Millie Werber—a Jewish teen in Poland forced into the Radom ghetto, then a munitions factory, and finally Auschwitz—from the others is the incongruously poetic beauty of the writing, very similar to that found within the pages of I Have Lived a Thousand Years. While attempting to take notes for this review, I found myself instead copying down reams of quotes, one more stunning than the next… The power of Two Rings: A Story of Love and War is that, through this beautifully immediate writing, the reader observes the details of Hitler’s Final Solution in a new way, through the eyes of an innocent and perceptive young girl.”

Eloisa, James, NPR.org

“A memoir that reels between pain and joy… You will cry reading Two Rings, but despite its sorrow, this memoir is full of deep delight in the human condition, in our ability to love in the midst of war and in the face of death.”


About the Author

Millie Werber is today the matriarch of a close and loving family. After moving to the United States in 1946, she and her husband Jack raised their two sons in Queens, NY., where together they built a real estate business. They lived happily together until Jack’s death in 2006. Millie now lives on Long Island surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Eve Keller is a professor and director of graduate studies at Fordham University. She is the author of Generating Bodies and Gendered Selves: The Rhetoric of Reproduction in Early Modern England, and is a past president of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781610391221
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610391221
  • ASIN: 1610391225
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,375,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This extraordinary memoir, rich with the imagery of a young adolescent girl thrust into the horrors of the Holocaust, is a tribute to love, endurance, and the human spirit. Millie Werber's frank and often shocking story of the horrors of her 5+ years of hell are captured masterfully by Eve Keller's lyrical prose that somehow manages to ring true to an Eastern European sheltered teen-age girl's voice reflecting on that which she experienced 65 years ago. Millie is philosophical in her observations regarding the utter senselessness of hate, violence, and the inexplicable twists and turns in which some lived and far too many died. A must-read that is certain to become a classic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ok on April 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've never before written a review but this book was so evocative, thoughtful, powerful, and beautifully written that I must. My words won't do it justice but I want to share that I was humbled as a reader to be allowed into the private world of such experience. Ms. Werber shares perspective into injustice and inhumanity that is beyond explanation or understanding. Ms Keller beautifully captures her voice and story. I was moved and touched and inspired to be a better version of myself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Young on April 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a Jew in 1941 Poland, Millie made the difficult choice to survive by working in an armaments factory near the Radom Ghetto. Despite the horrendous circumstances and physically demanding labor, Millie managed to meet and fall in love with a Henreich, a Jewish policeman. Shortly after they were married he was betrayed and led out of the factory. Millie never saw him again. Left with a single photograph and their wedding rings, Millie survives a hellish time in Auschwitz and a second factory before she was liberated. Not only a story of love and family, this is also a story of hidden strength and a young girl coming-of-age. I thought the story was heart-breakingly beautiful. It is a monument to love and what one can endure. Overall, I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This heartfelt story takes you on the personal journey of a young and innocent Jewish girl, Millie Werber, as she steps from childhood to adult overnight in the midst and turmoil of World War II. Author Eve Keller gives readers a first hand perspective of what it was like to be a Jew under the German regime. From 12 hour days of factory work to Auschwitz, Millie shares with readers her own horrors of watching her friends and families torn apart, starved, beaten, and even murdered.

Even in all of the darkness the world shed upon Millie, she was able to find love, survive, and share her story with the world.

I highly recommend this book. This would be a profound historical asset alongside Anne Frank World War II history during Secondary schooling. You, the reader, will find a special place in your heart for Millie and the others as I know I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By river run on May 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Although the context of this book is the Shoah, this book is not principally about the horrors we are so familiar with. It is about one woman, Millie Werber, and the man she loved for a brief moment in the midst of the most well-known plague of savagery. First love in the darkest of all possible circumstances.

The telling of Millie's story is masterful. Professor Keller steers clear of a simple recounting of names, dates, places, faces, but instead gives the reader a highly personal narrative. The daily, even hourly, brushes with death are balanced with the happy vision of Millie's future. Out of the empty space of her years in concentration camps, springs an abundant life. Most significantly, abundance erupts sporadically EVEN IN THE MIDST of the absolute zero.

I suggest you try to read just a few sections at a time, as the intensity is sometimes overwhelming -- but I suspect you won't be able to.

Heart-stopping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kid's Advocate on May 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I want to thank Millie Werber for telling her incredible story in this book. What a history she has! She leads us through her experiences in WWII with such detail. As she stops and questions what has happened to her, I too had to stop and think about her experiences. I am in awe of Millie. What strength she had, having to endure so much. The things she saw and experienced are unimaginable.
I found this book on the 'new arrivals' shelf of our local library here in northern California. I am so glad I saw it. This story will stay with me for a very long time. One thing Millie's story teaches all of us is that we have nothing to complain about in life. Thank you Millie for your book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sigrid Olsen on January 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have read scores of books and memoirs about the Holocaust...and Two Rings was poignant and bittersweet. It is about the author's experiences with two husbands, one for a few weeks and one for a lifetime. I am amazed that the rings survived and the picture, too--tucked inside her aunt's shoe during their time at Auschwitz.

When it comes to the Holocaust, each story is as compelling as if you read about it for the first time. This story was especially well told by Eve Keller who weaves Millie's story between the past, present and the war and post war years. The first husband, when she was a scared teenager, gave her the small hope to live, while the second marriage, to a kind, stable, non judgmental man, gave her a happy life. The fact that the rings survived, and the one photograph, is, when one considers the circumstances, amazing. Millie's story does not have her choose between the two men in her life: it honors the role that both men had. There were some searing recollections in the book: Millie's hiding underneath the floorboards while she is hunted by a Jewish (!) policeman and the rats are crawling all over her. Later, there is the terrible march to the railhead to Auschwitz, her "survival" there, and her post war journeys with Jack, her husband (including a hair-raising hike across the Italian Alps!).

I enjoyed the book so much I read it twice, and gained further appreciation for Mimi and Feyer, her aunt and uncle, who lost both their children when they were murdered by Nazis. Feyer told Millie to "work is to live"--and Feyer's advice saved her life again and again.
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