Swimming Across: A Memoir

Grove, Andrew S.

Published by Warner Books, 2001
ISBN 10: 0446528595 / ISBN 13: 9780446528597
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Synopsis: Set in the cruel years of Hungary's Nazi occupation and subsequent Communist regime, SWIMMING ACROSS is the stunning childhood memoir of one of the leading thinkers of our time, the legendary Intel chairman.

The story of Andris Grof-later to become Andy Grove-begins in the 1930s, on the banks of the Danube. Here, in Budapest, young Andris lives a middle-class existence with his secular Jewish parents. But he and his family will be faced with a host of staggering obstacles. After Andris nearly loses his life to scarlet fever at the age of four, his family is forced to deal with the Nazi occupation of Hungary. Fleeing the Germans, Andris and his mother find refuge with a Christian family in the outskirts of Budapest and then hide in cellars from Russian bombs. After the nightmare of war ends, the family rebuilds its business and its life, only to face a new trial with a succession of repressive Communist governments.

In June 1956, the popular Hungarian uprising is put down at gunpoint. Soviet troops occupy Budapest and randomly round up young people. Two hundred thousand Hungarians follow a tortuous route to escape to the West. Among them is the author...

Combining a child's sense of wonder with an engineer's passion for detail, Grove re-creates a Europe that has since disappeared. From the Nazis' youthful victims innocently exulting in a "put the Jews in the ghetto" game...to a May Day march through Budapest under the blaring strains of prerecorded cheers...to the almost surreal scenes of young escapees securing the help of a hunchbacked peasant and his fantastically beautiful, colorfully costumed wife, he paints a vivid and suspenseful, personal and cultural portrait.

Within these pages, an authentic American hero reveals his origins in a very different place during a very different time. He explores the ways in which persecution and struggle, as well as kinship and courage, shaped his life. It is a story of survival-and triumph.

Review: Andrew Grove has earned fame and fortune as chairman and cofounder of Intel. But, we learn from this remarkable memoir, he began life under very different circumstances, narrowly escaping the Holocaust and the closing of the Iron Curtain.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1936, Grove--then called Andras Grof--grew up in a modestly prosperous, secular Jewish family. Through foresight and sheer good fortune, they avoided the fate of many of their fellow Jews, fleeing the Nazis into the countryside and living in a dark cellar in which "the sound of artillery was a continuous backdrop." Under the Communist regime that followed, Grove distinguished himself as a student of chemistry and was seemingly destined for a comfortable position in academia or industry--until revolution broke out in 1956 and he found himself in that cellar once again.

How Grove emerged, "swam across" to America, and made a new life under a new name makes a satisfying conclusion to this humane memoir, which gives readers valuable insight into the business guru and technologist. --Gregory McNamee

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Title: Swimming Across: A Memoir
Publisher: Warner Books
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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