Destined to Witness
This is a story of the unexpected.In Destined to Witness, Hans Massaquoi has crafted a beautifully rendered memoir -- an astonishing true tale of how he came of age as a black child in Nazi Germany. The son of a prominent African and a German nurse, Hans remained behind with his mother when Hitler came to power, due to concerns about his fragile health, after his father returned to Liberia. Like other German boys, Hans went to school; like other German boys, he swiftly fell under the Fuhrer's spell. So he was crushed to learn that, as a black child, he was ineligible for the Hitler Youth. His path to a secondary education and an eventual profession was blocked. He now lived in fear that, at any moment, he might hear the Gestapo banging on the door -- or Allied bombs falling on his home. Ironic, moving, and deeply human, Massaquoi's account of this lonely struggle for survival brims with courage and intelligence.
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- Paperback | 480 pages
- 136.14 x 204.22 x 28.7mm | 403.7g
- 01 Mar 2001
- HarperCollins Publishers Inc
- New York, NY, United States
- Illustrations, unspecified
"A cry against racism, a survivor's tale, a wartime adventure, a coming of age story, and a powerful tribute to a mother's love."-- "New Orleans Times-Picayune"An incredible tale...Exceptional...It is reviving and heartening to learn of this intrepid black child and young man who through a combination of guts, smarts, and a really good mother, manages to waltz through the darkest abyss of the 20th century and come out whistling." --"Chicago Sun Times""His story is truly a fascinating one, and in this absorbing memoir, he tells it with vividness and considerable verve. Written with clarity, directiveness, and sharply evocative detail, Mr. Massaquoi's book offers a unique perspective on a period of organized madness, destruction, turmoil that continues to demand our attention and evade our comprehension." --"Washington Times" (D.C.)"Destined to Witness examines a roller coaster of racism from different cultures and continents. Massaquoi concludes that "true human decency is...simply a matter of the human heart." --"The New York Times Book Review""To say that Hans Massaquoi had it all, is not to say only that he had Black skin, in Germany, where and when White skin and Aryan blood were revered nor to suggest that he lived without money when only money could have saved him and his mother from the degradation of racial hate and deprivation. Massaquoi, indeed, did have it all, keen observation, an important intelligence and a remarkable memory. Here is a story rarely lived and even more rarely told. We need this book for a balanced picture of the Holocaust, which was not only a 'Jewish thing'. Hate is hate, it knows no color, and knows all colors all too well." "To say that Hans Massaquoi hadit all, is not to say only that he had Black skin, in Germany, where and when White skin and Aryan blood were revered nor to suggest that he lived without money when only money could have saved him and his mother from the degradation of racial hate and deprivation. Massaquoi, indeed, did have it all, keen observation, an important intelligence and a remarkable memory. Here is a story rarely lived and even more rarely told. We need this book for a balanced picture of the Holocaust, which was not only a 'Jewish thing'. Hate is hate, it knows no color, and knows all colors all too well." --Maya Angelou"Massaquoi's background and experiences provide incredible context to this personal story of overcoming racism." ?"Booklist""A nuanced, startling memoir... Massaquoi's unique, pathos-filled childhood in extremis is rendered superlatively, as is his portrait of a prewar Germany giddily embarked on its own destruction; he keenly perceives both the nefarious ambiguity and the human tragedy inherent in this civic embrace of evil...Substantiative and memorable." --"Kirkus Reviews" "Filled with courage, feeling, and intelligence...intriguing." --Jet"A unique addition to life under the Third Reich...thoughtful and well written." "Publishers Weekly"?Harrowing.? '"The Miami Herald"?Extraordinary...an entirely engaging story of accomplishment despite adversity.? '"Washington Post Book World"?Riveting and unique...An indispensable addition to writing on the Holocaust era.? '"Emerge"?Moving...an engaging story of a young man's journey through hate, self-enlightenment, intrigue and romance.? '"Ebony"