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Alex's Wake    by Martin Goldsmith order for
Alex's Wake
by Martin Goldsmith
Order:  USA  Can
Da Capo Press, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Jessica Maguire

Alex's Wake is the seamless blending of a tragic history, travel journal, and a personal journey in the heartbreaking and touching story of the Holocaust and the author's quest to find his family's past.

Author Martin Goldsmith's journey begins with the story of his grandfather and uncle, Alex and Helmut. Goldsmith wonders how he could 'ever be truly happy' knowing that many in his family were killed in Nazi concentration camps. His parents' tight lipped response to the subject led the author on a journey to discover his past, a past that millions affected by the Holocaust share.

The reader will follow Goldsmith and his wife for six weeks and 5,725 miles throughout Europe, following the ghosts of his family through Switzerland, France, and Germany to learn the story of Alex and Helmut.

A particularly interesting aspect of the duo's time fleeing the Nazis is their passage on the St. Louis. The ill-fated ship was to take refugees from Hamburg to Havana, but issues in Cuba led the ship, and her passengers, back to Europe where the story continues.

A riveting read, this is certainly not a dry, dusty history. Through his candid sharing of his highly emotional journey, Goldsmith draws readers into the tragedy, loss, and hope of those who experienced the Holocaust first hand and the subsequent generations that are forever affected by this horrifying period in history. 

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