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Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for Her Mother's History
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Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for Her Mother's History

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  14 reviews
"Where She Came From" is a memoir in the form of a quest for personal and historical understanding -- a multi-generational saga with the sweep and emotional impact of a novel. After the death of her mother, Frances, in 1989, Helen Epstein set out to research and reconstruct the life of her mother and that of her grandmother and great-grandmother. Like so many children of H ...more
Paperback, 323 pages
Published April 15th 2005 by Holmes & Meier Publishers (first published 1997)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  144 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Napriek suchšej prvej polovici to nakoniec bol nářez. Človek pochopí, prečo pamätníci hrôz o nich nechcú rozprávať. A dokonca ani o svojom živote pred týmito hrôzami.

Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Helen Epstein has reconstructed the stories of the women in her family from her great grandmother to her mother. I found the historical quotes about Jews from the period more distracting to the story than enhancing of it. The stories themselves are fascinating enough, and her ability to research her topics, starting with very little factual data, was amazing.
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read on the history of a family. Extensive research leads to a well told story written like a novel, though it is all true, and heartbreakingl so as you watch the family caught up in the runup to the war. Eptstein is the best historical writer of memoir I've read. ...more
Krysti Brice
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best Holocaust memoirs I've read. In it, Helen Epstein traces her mother's roots to find out more about the life of both her mother and maternal grandmother back in the author's birth country of former Czechoslovakia, a place the author spent only the first year of her life before she and her parents emigrated to the United States. But she goes even further back in time to discover much about the history and culture of Czech Jews many generations prior to her grandmother's. On ...more
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not your typical Holocaust memoir. Not a hagiography of saintly parents. But a story of generations of strong women from the 19th Century through post World War II. The author researches her ancestors' histories from the Austro-Hungarian Empire through the birth of Czechoslovakia and its demise. The stories of Therese, Pepi and Franci are those of independent, business women. They were assimilated Jews who were mostly baptized. Yet that did not stop Hitler from deporting Pepi and Franci to conce ...more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Una investigación impecable, que enlaza un relato de saga familiar con las experiencias más crudas de la historia universal.
Julia Allen
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was glad that I had read Madeline Albright's Prague Winter before reading this book, as Albright's book provided much-needed background which helped me understand Epstein's story. I also was glad that I had seen the film The Woman in Gold, so that I had some minimal understanding of the events in Vienna. I especially appreciated Epstein's "thinking back through her mothers," as she traces her history back to her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, beginning with the latter and moving f ...more
Sep 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
I just finished this book, in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn't sleep. I found it very interesting, good info on Czech history, Jewish Czech life, searching for family history. I like the way the personal stories were interwoven with history book info. ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and outstandingly well-researched portrait of a family through four generations. In addition to the family story, I also learned quite a bit about the history of Jews in Europe (including the Holocaust) and Czech history.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: czech, history, memoir
The history is not just of her mother's family, but of the Czechs from 1900s to the 1950s. She was arduous in her research and honest in her telling. Highly readable and an excellent addition to history of the period. ...more
Jan Farley
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a child of a Holocaust survivor from Eastern Germany I could somewhat relate to the culture that the book describes. It is a very interesting book about the history of the Czech Jews.
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! I highly recommend this book.
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully researched, lovingly told memoir. The type of book that makes you want to go to an archive.
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researching and writing family history 1 3 Sep 10, 2012 06:06PM  
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Born in Prague.
Grew up in New York City.
Graduated Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Graduated Columbia Journalism School
Taught at NYU Journalism
Now live outside Boston, MA

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