A Polish Son in the Motherland: An American's Journey Home

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9781585444205: A Polish Son in the Motherland: An American's Journey Home
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Searching for the remnants of his family, Leonard Kniffel left Chicago in 2000 to live in Poland. A Polish Son in the Motherland is the story of a search for roots and for the reasons why one family’s ties were severed more than fifty years ago. Along the way, we see what half a century of communism did to Poland and how the residue of World War II lingers.

The author’s search begins inauspiciously, but he soon meets a local wine merchant and her son, who are eager to reveal the secrets of Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, the town near which his grandmother was born. After he moves in with Adam, a local entrepreneur who trades in everything from shoes and cosmetics to computers and jam, he begins to master his ancestral language and learn the ways of the community from Adam’s mother, who loves long walks in the woods—and meals made from what she picks there.

Kniffel’s search for a connection to Poland is propelled by memories of the stories his grandmother told him about her emigration to Michigan in 1913. While his family eludes him, the adventure becomes an investigation into the relationship between mothers and the legacy they give their sons.

Poles who emigrated to America, the author concludes, must have been particularly good at assimilating into American culture. Less than fifty years after his maternal grandparents arrived in the United States, barely a trace of their Polishness existed in their grandchildren. Through his grandparents’ struggles, their children became American and created a new world for themselves and their descendants.

In returning to Poland himself, Kniffel sought and found a bridge to the “Great Migration” that changed the lives of so many millions—and millions yet to come.

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About the Author:

Leonard Kniffel is the editor and publisher of American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association. Born and raised in Michigan, he holds masters degrees in English and library science from Wayne State University in Detroit.

From Booklist:

Kniffel is the editor of American Libraries magazine, and his delightful, colorful, and poignant book is the result of a stay he enjoyed a few years ago in Poland, from where his grandparents emigrated just prior to the outbreak of World War I. Loaded, along with a computer and clothing, with all the stories he could remember hearing his grandmother tell, Kniffel established himself in temporary residence in the area in which she was born, his object being not only to absorb the old country that is his roots but also to establish contact with relatives who, chances were, were still living in the region. Kniffel bought a used car, found a place to live in busy businessman Adam's house, and, speaking passable Polish, did an amazing job of becoming, in a short time, part of the community. In an easy, comfortable, and humorous narrative voice, which reflects his perceptiveness, Kniffel takes readers along with him on this sustaining voyage of self-discovery, a story brimming with vibrant characters who could have come right out of a good village-life novel. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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9781585444410: A Polish Son in the Motherland: An American's Journey Home

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ISBN 10:  1585444413 ISBN 13:  9781585444410
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press, 2005
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Book Description Texas A & M University Press, United States, 2005. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Searching for the remnants of his family, Leonard Kniffel left Chicago in 2000 to live in Poland. A Polish Son in the Motherland is the story of a search for roots and for the reasons why one family's ties were severed more than fifty years ago. Along the way, we see what half a century of communism did to Poland and how the residue of World War II lingers. The author's search begins inauspiciously, but he soon meets a local wine merchant and her son, who are eager to reveal the secrets of Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, the town near which his grandmother was born. After he moves in with Adam, a local entrepreneur who trades in everything from shoes and cosmetics to computers and jam, he begins to master his ancestral language and learn the ways of the community from Adam's mother, who loves long walks in the woods - and meals made from what she picks there. Kniffel's search for a connection to Poland is propelled by memories of the stories his grandmother told him about her emigration to Michigan in 1913. While his family eludes him, the adventure becomes an investigation into the relationship between mothers and the legacy they give their sons. Poles who emigrated to America, the author concludes, must have been particularly good at assimilating into American culture. Less than fifty years after his maternal grandparents arrived in the United States, barely a trace of their Polishness existed in their grandchildren. Through his grandparents' struggles, their children became American and created a new world for themselves and their descendants. In returning to Poland himself, Kniffel sought and found a bridge to the "Great Migration" that changed the lives of so many millions - and millions yet to come. Seller Inventory # AAN9781585444205

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Book Description Texas A M University Press, United States, 2005. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Searching for the remnants of his family, Leonard Kniffel left Chicago in 2000 to live in Poland. A Polish Son in the Motherland is the story of a search for roots and for the reasons why one family s ties were severed more than fifty years ago. Along the way, we see what half a century of communism did to Poland and how the residue of World War II lingers. The author s search begins inauspiciously, but he soon meets a local wine merchant and her son, who are eager to reveal the secrets of Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, the town near which his grandmother was born. After he moves in with Adam, a local entrepreneur who trades in everything from shoes and cosmetics to computers and jam, he begins to master his ancestral language and learn the ways of the community from Adam s mother, who loves long walks in the woods - and meals made from what she picks there. Kniffel s search for a connection to Poland is propelled by memories of the stories his grandmother told him about her emigration to Michigan in 1913. While his family eludes him, the adventure becomes an investigation into the relationship between mothers and the legacy they give their sons. Poles who emigrated to America, the author concludes, must have been particularly good at assimilating into American culture. Less than fifty years after his maternal grandparents arrived in the United States, barely a trace of their Polishness existed in their grandchildren. Through his grandparents struggles, their children became American and created a new world for themselves and their descendants. In returning to Poland himself, Kniffel sought and found a bridge to the Great Migration that changed the lives of so many millions - and millions yet to come. Seller Inventory # AAN9781585444205

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