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Tearing the Silence: Being German in America Hardcover – July 2, 1997
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Ursula Hegi grew up in Germany and moved to the United States at age 18. As she grew older and raised a family, questions about her roots and her native land haunted her until, at last, she felt compelled to write about them. Tearing the Silence brings together her interviews with dozens of German-born Americans, and their confrontations with the taboo of the Holocaust.
From Library Journal
Hegi's outstanding fictional accounts of life in World War II Germany (Floating in My Mother's Palm, LJ 3/1/90, and Stones from the River, LJ 1/94, an Oprah Book Club selection) were the catalysts for this powerful nonfiction collection of interviews of first-generation German Americans. Herself a German-born American, Hegi aims to shatter the reluctance, even refusal, of Germans to mention the Holocaust other than to say, "We suffered, too." The Germany Hegi grew up with and ultimately struggled against is reflected in the personal accounts by other Germans, now living in America, whom she interviewed informally. For example, there is Eva, who remarks, "Just because I'm German doesn't mean I am a Nazi," and Hans-Peter, who says, "It's my heritage?yet I had no say in it." This singular work is an important addition to a greater understanding of the Holocaust and to giving credible cognizance to submerged feelings. Highly recommended for all libraries.?Kay Meredith Dusheck, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I want to call attention to Ursala Hegi's excellent fiction, especially the four novels in the Burgdorf Cycle. All deal with similar questions, but subtly, through the lives of individuals in a small town. The details are finely observed and recorded, in very fresh and effective language, and their ordinariness makes the underlying intimations of a culture that turned psychopathic that much stronger.
I lived in Germany for a while when my husband was stationed there. I wish I could have read the book before I lived there. My landlady told me stories of the world wars there and I would have appreciated them more and asked more questions.