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In this rich and riveting narrative, a writer's search for the truth behind his family's tragic past in World War II becomes a remarkably original epic—part memoir, part reportage, part mystery, and part scholarly detective work—that brilliantly explores the nature of time and memory, family and history.

The Lost begins as the story of a boy who grew up in a family haunted by the disappearance of six relatives during the Holocaust—an unmentionable subject that gripped his imagination from earliest childhood. Decades later, spurred by the discovery of a cache of desperate letters written to his grandfather in 1939 and tantalized by fragmentary tales of a terrible betrayal, Daniel Mendelsohn sets out to find the remaining eyewitnesses to his relatives' fates. That quest eventually takes him to a dozen countries on four continents, and forces him to confront the wrenching discrepancies between the histories we live and the stories we tell. And it leads him, finally, back to the small Ukrainian town where his family's story began, and where the solution to a decades-old mystery awaits him.

Deftly moving between past and present, interweaving a world-wandering odyssey with childhood memories of a now-lost generation of immigrant Jews and provocative ruminations on biblical texts and Jewish history, The Lost transforms the story of one family into a profound, morally searching meditation on our fragile hold on the past. Deeply personal, grippingly suspenseful, and beautifully written, this literary tour de force illuminates all that is lost, and found, in the passage of time.


Daniel Mendelsohn is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and many other publications. His books include the inter-national bestseller The Lost, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Prix Médicis in France. His other awards include a National Book Critics Circle Award for book reviewing and the George Jean Nathan Prize for Drama Criticism. He teaches at Bard College.

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ISBN-10:  0060542977 (hbk.)
ISBN-13:  9780060542979 (hbk.)
Author:  Daniel Mendelsohn
Genre:  History
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Date Published:  September 19, 2006
Format:  Hardcover
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Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
This is another classic to be added to the Holocaust Museum and Shoah Foundation files created by Steven Spielberg. Never before and hopefully never again will mass extermination occur--on this level, although "ethnic cleansing" continues to occur, as exampled by Rwanda, the Serb-Croat Wars...
review by . November 26, 2008
Holocaust 1
This really was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Nearly six decades after the Nazi's exterminated six members of his family, author Daniel Mendelsohn set out to discover just what had happened to them.  All that he really knew was that his grandfather's brother Shmiel, his wife and their four daughters had disappeared off the face of the earth sometime in the early 1940's in their home town of Bolechow in Poland.  By the time Mendelsohn decided to pursue this …
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