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Louisa Catherine Adams lived a life that seems made for the telling. Born in London at the dawning of the American Revolution to a father who was American and a mother who was English, she spent her early years in Europe, first with her family, then as the wife of a diplomat who went on to become president, John Quincy Adams. With — and without — her husband, she traveled the world, hobnobbing with royalty, then settled in America, where she toiled to gain him the presidency.

Accomplished, ambitious, socially skilled and keenly observant, she was a formidable woman with an extraordinary life, just as the subtitle of this book promises. But perhaps the most extraordinary thing about her was her penchant for writing. She left behind not only an abundant correspondence, but also a diary, poetry, plays, fiction and — remarkably — three fragmentary autobiographical accounts, one of them detailing her adventure-laden trip from Russia to Paris in the war-torn winter of , the other two recounting her experiences and thoughts.

Louisa Thomas, a journalist and a former editor at the now defunct Grantland, makes full use of this bounty. Louisa wrestled with her place in the world, questioning her role and importance, clashing with her hot-and-cold husband and grappling with her ambitions, often pouring out her thoughts and feelings on paper. What emerges is a portrait of a woman who was uneasy with the contours of her world. Unfortunately, I couldn't connect to the protagonist - she had this aura of snobbishness and an I'm-better-than-you attitude. She rarely found good things to say about the people who were helping her hide and survive in WWII Berlin.

It was a rare thing for her to connect to someone. And when she was involved in a love affair, she seemed to just abruptly cut it off - just like that. It was weird. Anyway, I'm glad I read it This was an interesting book, I guess. Anyway, I'm glad I read it, but unhappy that it didn't have a more positive "I survived!

Maybe that's asking too much for a survival story though. The Guardian ran a story about this book yesterday 16th March, Nov 07, Michael Lewyn rated it it was amazing. As the title indicates, this article is a memoir of the author's experiences as a Jew in Berlin during the Holocaust, trying to avoid concentration camps.

I was surprised by how vividly she recollected the people she hid with and ran into during those years. In the interest of full disclosure, I note that my father has coauthored a similar memoir about his years underground in Berlin; however, this book is more about relationships and less about gun-toting adventures than my father's book.

The As the title indicates, this article is a memoir of the author's experiences as a Jew in Berlin during the Holocaust, trying to avoid concentration camps. The most fascinating part of the story was the chapter about , when she living openly in a working-class neighborhood. Her "cover" was not quite a cover at all: she told neighbors that she was a half-Jew in order to explain her avoidance of official channels, on the theory I guess that no one would believe she was a full Jew if she made such an incriminating claim.

Half-Jews were not routinely murdered, but nevertheless were at some risk. Many of her neighbors and acquaintances were pro-Hitler, but none bothered to contact the Gestapo. Just as evil triumphs when good people do nothing, good triumphs when not-so-good people do nothing.

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Comment Comment Permalink View all 4 comments. This is either badly written or really badly translated into English.

Aug 26, Bob Schnell rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in , life-stories , history. Advanced Reading Copy review Due to be published September 8, What would it have been like to remove the yellow star from your blouse and hide in plain sight in Berlin during WWII? That is Marie Jalowicz' story, as told to her son over many years.

She's A Space Case - MGTOW

The resulting book "Underground in Berlin" is a fresh perspective on life in that German city during a time of suspicion, rationing and fear. Maria was an educated Polish Jew in Germany when Hitler came to power and her parents died. Left on her own, she chose not to follow her community to the work camps.

Instead, she followed a lead to Berlin where she sheltered in a series of houses of communist sympathizers, always on the move and always hungry. She quickly learned that her educated speech and views were of no use in her situation and could actually expose her to the ever vigilant Gestapo.


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She was reliant on the kindness of strangers who weren't always very kind and who would take advantage of her situation whenever possible. Blackmail and fear of exposure were constant threats. It is a wonder her nerves held out as long as they did.

Underground in Berlin: A Young Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany

This is a well-written book and a real page turner for non-fiction. Oct 24, Liz Estrada rated it liked it. You know, before reading this intriguing memoir, I always thought: Why didn't more Jews just rip out their yellow star and act like "normal" Germans? But as I got engrossed in this book, I realized it wasn't as easy as we might have thought. Fake names, ID'S which were fairly easy to get if you had money, but just as easy to spot as fake by any Nazi personnel and hiding from all people you knew in your past were not easy pickings. What I learned most about this story was the courage of not ju You know, before reading this intriguing memoir, I always thought: Why didn't more Jews just rip out their yellow star and act like "normal" Germans?

What I learned most about this story was the courage of not just Jews gone underground, but the many Germans who were, like us, just regular folk, trying to get by in a nightmarish scenario. So yes, you meet "altruistic" reds, "decent" gentiles and a lot of incompetent "Nazis" but all out for their own survival in this Kafka-esque hell that was Berlin at that time.

What Marie Simon had to endure should be a morality tale against the evil of racism, corruption, greed and above all ignorance.

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Kudos to her and all those able to survive on their own wits and merits. A slow read at first, but then a true page turner. I had a hard time keeping up with the names. The list of people in the back of the book was useful but could have been in a alphabetical order.

Still, this book was somehow very raw, in a different kind of way from most stories about Jews in II World War. I can't really explain how or why. The people who helped still seemed to be awful, despite their good intentions. And also the amount of people men who used her during the war There were so many. Everything didn't turn rosy the moment the war ended, which you may forget sometimes.

Wonder how can you go on living with experiences like this. Her son, a historian, edited the dictated narrative, i wonder how much got lost that way? I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway. I was really looking forward to reading this book because it sounded very interesting and a different survival story. However, I was very disappointed and barely finished it. I do not know if it is the translation was the problem, but the narration did not flow for me. I did not feel it grabbed me. I found myself not liking her voice, the way she was narrating.

Maybe it was her style or as I said something lost in the translation. Dec 18, Cindy rated it liked it. While this book was intriguing because it is a true narrative, it lacks emotion. I found Marie's account cold and distant. It is hard to get emotionally connected to her and her story. I know that that is probably why she survived the ordeal, but I wish she would have put more of her feelings in the narrative. As any Holocaust story though, it is heartbreaking and hard to imagine. Painfully honest memoir looking at exactly how a Jewish woman managed to survive in wartime Berlin.

She stayed with a long series of different hosts and estimates that over 20 people could share credit for having saved her life. At the same time, many of her rescuers, although they were undoubtedly risking their lives for her, were very also unkind to her, and Marie had complicated and often painful relationships with them. She does a good job showing the hypocrisies: the committed Communist who looked down on working class people, the gynecologist who was helping save Jews left and right while cheering the German war successes, the Nazi sympathizer who blackmailed Marie while at the same time treating her lovingly like a daughter, and so on.

Marie often had to barter her body to stay safe, something she also speaks about frankly and without self pity, as if she was only describing what she had for breakfast.

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This book is the memoir of one woman - a Jewish girl in Berlin during world war 2. I found her story fascinating as she hid in plain sight by pretending not to be Jewish.

Portrait of a Young Woman (Botticelli, Frankfurt) - Wikipedia

She considered different options to stay safe and was helped by several weird characters. I liked that this offered a different perspective from other memoirs of the period I've read and I liked that the author said how things were and didn't try to view things with modern eyes. She simply told her story. Unfortunately this mat This book is the memoir of one woman - a Jewish girl in Berlin during world war 2. Unfortunately this matter of fact delivery kept me at a distance. At no time did I really feel the true peril that she was in or feel involved in the choices she made.

It reads like a history book and it jumps around in time a little which didn't help build up any dramatic tension. This woman is amazing for everything she went through and for sharing her story but it felt very flat and I don't feel I truly understand what it was like for her. The narrator was okay and tried to lift the book a little with a few voices but I found that didn't work for me. Overall worth a listen for the valuable historical information but doesn't engage well with the listener. Jun 08, Andy Miller rated it it was amazing.

Marie sensed that deportation meant death so when the Gestapo came for her, she left her apartment while a brave friend stalled the Gestapo agent upstairs and Marie used a clever ruse to evade the Gestapo agent downstairs. This began the seven years of Marie living underground in Berlin until the Russians liberated the city. It was almost 50 years later after a succes This is a true story about Marie Jalowicz Simon, a young Jew living in Berlin when the Nazis started deporting Jews from Berlin.

It was almost 50 years later after a successful career and life in Berlin that Marie finally told her story while her son tape recorded. In an important addition to the story, her son then researched Marie's story and corroborated her memory with official records from German archives, old newspaper stories and other sources Marie's story is consumed by accounts of her day to day existence, never staying in any one place very long, how to appear inconspicuous on Berlin streets; describing her hunger, food coupons, the friendliness and generosity of some and the stinginess and insensitivity of others.

The details sometime became mundane until the story shakes the reader back to reality with an account of a Jew thought to be safe was found and sent away or a near miss with Marie. I noted that many other Good reads reviewer are critical of the narrative, for example, calling it sterile.

I could not disagree more. To me, the everyday detail made the book alive and very powerful Marie's story is also very frank. To be underground in Berlin as a Jew meant that were compromises and for Marie, a young attractive woman, that included sexual compromises. It is too Marie's credit that they are not ignored or glossed over but just as important they are not glorified.

Jan 16, Steven rated it really liked it Shelves: anti-semitism , history , germany , jewish , survival , nazis , world-war-ii. A moving and enlightening book, although parts of it can be slow reading, perhaps because it was translated from the German, but also because it is sometimes overly detailed.