• Their Promised Land

Their Promised Land

Their Promised Land

( from 2 reviews )
  • Author
    Ian Buruma
  • Publisher
    Unknown
  • Publication date
    19 January 2016

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Book Description

A family history of surpassing beauty and power: Ian Buruma’s account of his grandparents’ enduring love through the terror and separation of two world wars

During the almost six years England was at war with Nazi Germany, Winifred and Bernard Schlesinger, Ian Buruma’s grandparents, and the film director John Schlesinger's parents, were, like so many others, thoroughly sundered from each other. Their only recourse was to write letters back and forth. And write they did, often every day. In a way they were just picking up where they left off in 1918, at the end of their first long separation because of the Great War that swept Bernard away to some of Europe’s bloodiest battlefields. The thousands of letters between them were part of an inheritance that ultimately came into the hands of their grandson, Ian Buruma. Now, in a labor of love that is also a powerful act of artistic creation, Ian Buruma has woven his own voice in with theirs to provide the context and counterpoint necessary to bring to life, not just a remarkable marriage, but a class, and an age.
 
Winifred and Bernard inherited the high European cultural ideals and attitudes that came of being born into prosperous German-Jewish émigré families. To young Ian, who would visit from Holland every Christmas, they seemed the very essence of England, their spacious Berkshire estate the model of genteel English country life at its most pleasant and refined. It wasn’t until years later that he discovered how much more there was to the story.
 
At its heart, Their Promised Land is the story of cultural assimilation. The Schlesingers were very British in the way their relatives in Germany were very German, until Hitler destroyed that option. The problems of being Jewish and facing anti-Semitism even in the country they loved were met with a kind of stoic discretion. But they showed solidarity when it mattered most. As the shadows of war lengthened again, the Schlesingers mounted a remarkable effort, which Ian Buruma describes movingly, to rescue twelve Jewish children from the Nazis and see to their upkeep in England. 
 
Many are the books that do bad marriages justice; precious few books take readers inside a good marriage. In Their Promised Land, Buruma has done just that; introducing us to a couple whose love was sustaining through the darkest hours of the century.

Look for Ian's new book, A Tokyo Romance, in March, 2018. 

Book Detail

  • Book Title

    Their Promised Land

  • Author

    Ian Buruma

  • Date Published

    19 January 2016

  • Publisher

    Unknown

  • Pages

    320 pages

  • ISBN

    0698410181

Book Reviews

  • User294785

    4.5 starsThanks to EUROBOOK and my winning this book, I was able to get an advanced look into Ian Buruma's newest book Their Promised Land. Having been very much spooked by his Their Promised Land, I was quite happy to once again enter the world of "spookdom" and read this story. Teenagers are quite impressionable. They often believe a lot of things and try to grab onto concepts and ideas that at times seems quite out of the norm. They often make ready partners, easily led, and make decisions that oftenti.

  • User392855

    A short but w lovely book for fans of both authors, but also a lot of insight into freedom of speach, creativity and the importance of libraries. Some words to take to heart, some words to live by, some words to get (more) liberated in the pursuit of artistic endeavours. Definitely a good thing to read. You don't know it yet, but it's likely you need this book.

  • User345211

    I'm pretty sure Ian Buruma books just exist to capture and devour your entire SOUL AND IMAGINATION. I just went on such a wild adventure omg, I feel actually drained. Like this duology has totally filled my creative well. I am heart eyes and my heart so so full and !!!! my emotions are just !!! which is exactly how a professionally reviewer would summarise a book.

  • User95812

    I know a lot of us were expecting Their Promised Land to be good, but I have to say, this book actually exceeded my expectations. I have a lump in my throat and I can't stop thinking about it. I usually spend time making detailed notes while reading a book but, at one point, I opened Notes on my computer just to type "oh fucking god, this is so good".

  • User192812

    DANG THIS BOOK IS GOOD. Full review coming, just need to collect my thoughts. I LOVED this - absolutely worth adding to your summer TBR!!.

  • Mary

    not going to lie, i'm feeling PRETTY special for receiving an advance copy of this(okay yes i haven't read Their Promised Land but still)

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