Laughter Wasn't Rationed : A Personal Journey Through Germany's World Wars and Postwar Years

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9780967383040: Laughter Wasn't Rationed : A Personal Journey Through Germany's World Wars and Postwar Years
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This is the real life story of an ordinary woman raised in extraordinary times. Born in WWI, Dorothea v.S. Lawson witnessed it all -- the rise and fall of Hitler and his Nazi Party, WWII and the Berlin Wall. While she had a relatively care-free youth, life went downhill quickly.

Her first-hand account includes the air raids and intense bombing of Berlin, the food rationing and ever-present hunger with 8-hour long food hunting trips to farmers in the countryside. Her description of the Soviet invasion in Berlin will be an eye-opener for many. And then came the American occupation where she worked as a cook at her confiscated in-law's house, which was turned into an officers' mess. Except she didn't know how to cook, and what on earth was an egg sunny side up?

Her life is full of historical facts, but brings out the ordinary citizen perspective not found in history books, including many jokes about the Third Reich that were once punishable by imprisonment or death. And along the way she gives the reader a dose of German culture. Her stories demonstrate that war unites as much as it divides and that history is embedded in the lives of individuals, not in textbooks. And throughout, the human spirit prevails -- since laughter wasn't rationed.

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About the Author:

It took over 10 years for Dorothea von Schwanenfluegel Lawson to write her memoir, which was originally intended for family only, but the project grew at the request of friends and German students she taught at the university level. Born in Gleiwitz (Upper Silesia), Germany, in 1916 during WWI, she moved with her family as a teenager to Berlin in 1935. That is where she lived through the turbulence of WWII -- including the intense bombing of Berlin, Soviet invasion, American occupation, and starvation. To this day she does not waste food! When the Berlin Wall went up, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1962. Dorothea earned a masters degree in languages and linguistics from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She was also a speaker at The Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and has been interviewed by an international documentary cable network. Her memoir, Laughter Wasn't Rationed, has enjoyed a tremendous word of mouth referral and popularity, and has been used by several universities in world history courses. Still active at age 97, she currently resides in Medford, OR.

Review:

My life has been enriched by the book. Dorothea ... speaks for all of us who lived through this period of history. Through the genuine recount of her personal life, and her perfect knowledge of historical facts, she conveys events, feelings and emotions with great precision. And it is her indestructible sense of humor which made her a survivor. --Dr. Marianne Bouvier, Executive Director, Institute for German American Relations

This poignant recollection reads like a novel. What happened to middle and upper-class Germans may come as a surprise to many. --The Mount Vernon Gazette.

Dorothea's life is almost the history of the 20th century ... a must read for anyone like me, a World War II history buff. [She] has to be one of the few persons alive who has lived in Germany through both world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War and the building of the Berlin Wall. --Don Snider, The Star Newspapers

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