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The Son and Heir: A Memoir CD de áudio – Audiolivro, 1 agosto 2020
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A prize-winning Dutch journalist's unsparing memoir of growing up amid the excesses, triumphs, and devastation of post-World War II Europe.
What can a son say upon discovering that his father wore a Nazi uniform? Reporter Alexander Münninghoff was only four when he found this mortifying relic from his father's recent past in his attic. This shameful memento came to symbolize not only his father's tragically misguided allegiance but also a shattered marriage and ultimately the unconscionable separation of a mother and son.
In this revelatory memoir, the author confronts his parents' complex past as he reconstructs the fortunes and disillusions of an entire family upheaved during the changes of twentieth-century Europe. The Münninghoffs were driven by greed, rebellion, and rage. An embattled dynasty, they were torn between the right and the wrong side of history. Their saga haunted Alexander's life for the next seventy years.
Only in reconciling with them can this man find the courage to move forward as son and heir to the startling legacy of a flawed yet grand tradition.
Descrição do produto
Sobre o Autor
Alexander Münninghoff was born in Posen, Poland, in 1944. A journalist and expert on Russia, he won the prize for newspaper journalism (a Dutch Pulitzer), and is the author of Tropical Years in Moscow, about his time as a correspondent in the Soviet Union. A passionate chess player, Münninghoff wrote the biographies of Dutch chess grand master Jan Hein Donner, and the chess master he dethroned, former world champion Max Euwe. In the anti-German postwar years and throughout his career, Münninghoff never told his friends or colleagues about his family, the complex chronology of which he reveals in his memoir, The Son and Heir. The book went on to win the prestigious Libris History Prize in 2015 and the Littéraire Witte Award in 2016.
Kristen Gehrman earned a master's in language science and communication with a specialization in literary translation from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Originally from the United States, she now lives in The Hague, where she works as a freelance translator, editor, and teacher. In addition to Alexander Münninghoff's The Son and Heir, her many translation credits include the Dutch-to-English translation of Annejet van der Zijl's bestselling novel, The Boy Between Worlds. For more information, visit www.kristengehrman.com.
Detalhes do produto
- Editora : Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edição (1 agosto 2020)
- Idioma : Inglês
- ISBN-10 : 1799746399
- ISBN-13 : 978-1799746393
- Dimensões : 13.72 x 1.78 x 16.51 cm
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Written by award-winning Dutch journalist Alexander Munninghoff the book begins with him as a 4 year-old in 1948 discovering some of his his Father's war memorabilia in an attic, his old SS helmet, and the reaction of his family when he walks into the room they're in wearing it. This sets the scene for a book full of family secrets and divisions.
Alexander's Grandfather Joannes, known as Joan, leaves his native Netherlands for Latvia where he builds a business empire and makes all kind of connections,from the political to the decidedly shady, becoming one the richest men in the country in the process. He marries a Russian woman and they have a daughter and 3 sons,one of whom,Frans,is Alexander's father and the main focus of the story. Frans is sent to Holland as a boy for his education in the lead up to WW2 and hates it, eventually rebelling against his Father by joining the SS. The rather convoluted story tells of Frans' war and the turmoil in the family when they're forced to flee Latvia as the Russians approach.
From then on it's a tale that takes in adultery,kidnap,crime,corruption, the war,the declining remnants of the old German,Russian and Baltic aristocracies, hippy communes,suicide, smuggling ,the traumas of former frontline soldiers,alcoholism,drug addiction,exploitation,family feuds, friendship loneliness, poverty,vast wealth, politics,redemption, greed and much more. Most of the family are damaged in some way. Wera, Alexander's Mother,is a tragic figure ,the victim of some pretty awful behaviour by the tyrannical Joan and the just plain horrible Frans. Alexander's life is far from normal and with his treatment of his Mother ,which he only realises when it's pointed out by a blunt-speaking colleague ,is not much better than that of his forebears.
This book is already an award winner,it won the prestigious Libris History prize in 2015 but this is the first time it has been available in English,and on that note the translation by Kristen Gehrman is superb.
Sadly Alexander Munninghof passed away on the 28th of April 2020,shortly before the publication of this translation, but the book is a fitting memorial to him.
If you're interested in 20th century European History , want to read a fascinating family history or just enjoy an interesting and well-written book ,you won't be disappointed with The Son and Heir.
This thus makes for an interesting read, reminding us all that we cannot choose our family, and have to accept the skeletons in the closet, warts and all, and coming from a family such as the author did, we are not looking at a group of the cleanest living and honest folk that many of us hope our families are made up of. With the grandfather very much in charge of the family, which is very patriarchal so we do not know, and are never really told how honest his dealings were with regards to making the amounts of money that he did, but at times we do see honest and dishonest dealings going on, as well as using a position of power and influence to get his own way.
We read of the author growing up and being abducted due to custody battles over who he should live with as well as other snippets of information, but the main thrust of this is his father and grandfather, and their actions and the results of these, including other members of the family. At times you can obviously see that some poetic license has been taken and you do have to wonder with some of this how the author, let alone us can be sure of certain elements of this.
What we end up with then is something that is certainly of some interest and does make for a thoughtful read, reminding us that at times it is who you know rather than what you know that can bring about favourable results. Also, this reminds us of the War and how so many were affected, as well as the chaos that ensued afterwards, where at times rather dubious deals were made, both to save embarrassment, and to extend influence elsewhere. This is certainly not something for a lot of people, but those with a slight interest should gain something from reading this book.