This is one family's journey from Lithuania to Baltimore to London in a memoir that poignantly captures the Jewish immigrant story. Drawn to an image of her great-grandfather's ornately carved cane, Elisa New embarked on a journey to discover the roots of her precious family heirloom. Along the way, she found that she had to dispose of much of what she'd learned about her own heritage as she confronted a series of complex and confounding questions: Why did her family leave Lithuania? Once in America, why did they claim Austrian identities? What would bring her great grandfather, Jacob, to curse his sons? What would cause her great uncles to disown the family name? Treading back across the paths of four generations, New travels from Baltimore to the Baltic to revisit the place where her great grandfather was born, and where her relatives died in the mass murders of the Second World War, in order to find and understand an immigrant world far different than described in the classics of Jewish immigration. Deeply ambitious in its narrative sweep, Jacob's Cane captures the rich texture of life in Lithuania, London and America.
From the meteoric rise of Bernard Baron in the English tobacco trade to the socialist campaign of her great grandfather in the immigrant hub of Baltimore, Elisa New provides a fascinating history of one family's journey, reflecting on the immigrant experience and complex heritage of so many Jewish Diaspora.
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group