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Homecoming by Joseph Wechsberg (24,000 words, 24 illustrations)
Published by Knopf in 1946 as an expanded version of a two-part New Yorker article.
Joseph Wechsberg and his wife left Czechoslovakia for America in 1938. Sent with the US Army to liberate Europe from the Nazis, Wechsberg returns to Ostrava, the town where he grew up. Searching for his wife's parents, he discovers the devastation of World War II, hears first-hand accounts of its atrocities, witnesses the antics of Red Army soldiers, and remembers his childhood — discovering in the end that home is no longer Ostrava, but California.
“[…] a moving, brilliantly written account of [Wechsberg's] return to his home-town, Moravia Ostrava (Maehrisch Ostrau) […]. As in his earlier stories in The New Yorker, almost every ounce of sentiment in Homecoming was set off by an equal measure of irony.” — Richard Plant, The New York Times
“A short and very personal book, […] a personal footnote to current European history. […] Affecting and convincing impressions of a shattered world.” — Kirkus Reviews