The intrepid journalist and Holocaust refugee champion “gives a commonplace appeal to the momentous events with her ingenuous storytelling” (Kirkus Reviews).
Drawing from hundreds of notebooks accumulated throughout her career, Gruber’s breathtaking memoir spans some of the most significant events of the twentieth century, covering the years 1941 to 1952. She details her eighteen months spent surveying Alaska on behalf of the United States government, her role assisting Holocaust refugees’ emigration from war-torn Europe, and her relationships with some of the most important figures of the era, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Golda Meir.
Gruber describes these eleven years of her inspiring life with clarity and insight, providing an extraordinary inside look at some of the twentieth century’s turning points.
Gruber was present for some of the most significant moments in mid-20th-century history, including the Nuremberg trials and the creation of the State of Israel, and now, at the age of 90, she still has the energy to comb through some of the 350 notebooks she filled during her career as a bureaucrat and journalist to write about her experiences during the years 1941 1952 with clarity, insight and warmth. Gruber was a 29-year-old foreign correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune in 1941 and author of the influential 1939 memoir I Went to the Soviet Arctic, when Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes sent her to Alaska to report on how best to both settle the territory and preserve its beauty. The assignment lasted 18 months, but her work for Ickes continued until 1946; her assignments included shepherding Holocaust survivors from Germany to a refugee camp at a New York State army outpost and working to ensure that those who wanted to could remain in the United States after the war. The war over, she returned to journalism, reporting from Europe and the Middle East. Along the way, she developed relationships with such world leaders as Eleanor Roosevelt, David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir (who served Gruber homemade cookies in her Tel Aviv apartment). Yet Gruber (whose many books include Raquela: A Woman of Israel, winner of a National Jewish Book Award) is unpretentious, using her finely honed journalistic skills to craft a look at history that manages to be both deeply personal and universal. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW