Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: From Plotzk to Boston by Mary Antin

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

From Plotzk to Boston by Mary Antin

This memoir of her trip from her homeland to America was written when Mary Antin was but eleven years old. It was originally written in Yiddish and translated by her two years later into English. For anyone with a 19th century immigrant family history, this memoir is an invaluable peek into what our ancestors trip may have been like.

She tells of packing up their home, saying good bye to all their friends and embarking on the first leg of their journey- a ride to the larger town nearby with a railroad. From there it’s to the German border where they are held up because of an outbreak of cholera in Poland and the fear that the travelers may be ill. More train rides, more hold ups, and always more demands for money.

Finally, they’re aboard ship and sea sick! 17 days later they enter Boston harbor and the joy they feel as they spot their husband and father on the wharf waiting for them is wonderful.

The charm and pathos of this immigrant’s tale is in the details and her youthful way of looking at the world…all the new things to see as well as all of the uncertainty.

Pleasantly read by Sue Anderson, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

My father immigrated to the US from Riga, Latvia at age 8. I was always delighted with his tales of the trip as a child. His family traveled second class on their journey so they had their own stateroom and a proper dining room but from what he said he was the only one in the family eating…in fact, for the first week he and another child were the only people in the dining room at all!

1 comment:

P. said...

Sounds interesting! Thanks for the links. I finally finished Dawn O'Hara this week, so I'm up for another.