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Finding my father : his century-long journey from WWI Warsaw and my quest to follow

Tannen, Deborah (author.).

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Town of Hanover Libraries.

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0 current holds with 1 total copy.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Etna Library 305.89 TAN 31257000284108 New items Available -

Record details

  • ISBN: 1101885831 : HRD
  • ISBN: 9781101885833 : HRD
  • Physical Description: 251 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
    print
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2020]

Content descriptions

Summary, etc.: "A New York Times bestselling author traces her father's life from turn-of-the-century Warsaw to bustling New York City in an intimate memoir about family, memory, and the stories we tell. Long before she was the acclaimed author of a groundbreaking book about women and men, and praised by Oliver Sacks as having "a novelist's ear for the way people speak," Deborah Tannen was a little girl who adored her father. Though he was often absent during her childhood, Deborah was profoundly influenced by his love of language and gift for writing and storytelling. As she grew up and he grew old, she spent untold hours with her father, recording their conversations and taking notes. He handed her a journal he kept when he was young--and showed her another he said she could have after his death, all for the account of his life she promised him she'd write. In this memoir, Deborah fulfills her promise to her father, embarking on the poignant, yet perilous, quest to piece together the puzzle of her father's life. Beginning with his astonishingly vivid memories of the Hasidic community in Warsaw that he was born into in 1908, she traces his journey: arriving in New York City in 1920, he quit high school at fourteen to become sole support of his mother and sister, yet attended law school at night and eventually established the largest workmen's compensation practice in New York. In the intervening years, he became active in the Communist Party, then New York's Liberal Party, running for Congress on its ticket. As Deborah comes to better understand her father's--and her own--relationship to Judaism, she also uncovers aspects of her father's life she would never have imagined. When she discovers letters from another woman he might have married, she is forced to rethink her assumptions about her parents' marriage. Finding My Father is a memoir of Eli Tannen's life and the ways it reflects the near century that he lived. But even more than that, it's about a daughter's struggle to see her father clearly, to know him more deeply, and to tell a more truthful story about her family and herself."-- Provided by publisher
Subject: New York (N.Y.) Biography
Warsaw (Poland) Biography
Lawyers New York (State) New York Biography
Jews New York (State) New York Biography
Jews, Polish New York (State) New York Biography
 Fathers and daughters New York (State) New York
Tannen, Deborah Family
Tannen, Eli Samuel 1908-2006

Syndetic Solutions - Kirkus Review for ISBN Number 9781101885833
Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow
Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow
by Tannen, Deborah
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Kirkus Review

Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow

Kirkus Reviews


Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A devoted daughter pays homage to an extraordinary man. Drawing on abundant sources, sociolinguist Tannen creates a loving biography of her father, Eli Samuel Tannen, who indelibly shaped her life. She took on the project, she writes, "because he bequeathed his words to me--all the words he wrote and saved; all the letters and documents and cards and notes that he gathered and held on to; all the stories he remembered, wrote down, and told me; and the hours upon hours of conversations we had when he was old." Arriving in the U.S. from Poland when he was 12, he soon became the breadwinner for his mother and sister after his father died. Although his mother wanted him to finish high school, he dropped out and studied law "because it was the only profession he could pursue at night." In 1933, though, when he passed the bar, the Depression closed off opportunities to practice. His list of 68 jobs represents "a summary of his adult life" and "his pride in doing whatever he could--whatever he had to do--to support his family." In 1958, he finally established his own law firm, specializing in workers' compensation. Including eloquent passages from her father's writings, Tannen relates his vivid memories of his childhood in Warsaw, portrayals of his accomplished aunts (one was Einstein's student and lover), his fervent identification as a Jew, and his early idealistic membership in the Communist Party, which generated a thick FBI file. The author digs deeply into her parents' relationship, concluding that their marriage resulted from "the inevitable interplay of two young people thrown together by circumstance; the temptations of sex (for him); the desire to marry (for her); and the scaling back of great, often unrealistic expectations by circumscribed opportunities." Her brilliant, resolute father, Tannen amply shows, was worthy of her undying admiration. A generous and empathetic portrait. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Syndetic Solutions - Library Journal Review for ISBN Number 9781101885833
Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow
Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow
by Tannen, Deborah
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Library Journal Review

Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow

Library Journal


(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Having enjoyed countless hours as a child with her storytelling father, clearly inspiration for her career in linguistics, Tannen (You Just Don't Understand) used a journal he willed to her to reconstruct a rich life that began in Warsaw's Hasidic community in 1908 and ended with his deep involvement in New York politics. Personal impact, too, and a look at the very act of remembering.

Syndetic Solutions - Publishers Weekly Review for ISBN Number 9781101885833
Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow
Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow
by Tannen, Deborah
Rate this title:
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Publishers Weekly Review

Finding My Father : His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow

Publishers Weekly


(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Tannen (You Just Don't Understand) examines the life of her father in this passionate memoir. A giant in her life ("he's the parent I felt an affinity with, the one who understood me"), Eli Tannen possessed an even temper that masked an unhappy past. He emigrated from Poland to New York City in 1920 and quit school at 14 to support his mother and sister. He eventually went to college and earned a law degree during the Depression, but couldn't find work as a lawyer for nearly 30 years, when he started a legal practice in support of worker's compensation. To support his wife (who thought he was ugly and grew to dislike him) and family, he held various jobs, including as a prison guard and garment cutter. He was a prolific letter writer; Tannen notes, "my inclination to write traced to my father." From him she "learned to listen for unspoken meanings in people's conversations." While visiting him in her parents' Westchester condo, she uncovers letters detailing her father's relationship with another woman just before his marriage. She then speculates what his life might have been, concluding, "She was better suited to my father... a kind, compassionate intellectual." Tannen's readers will appreciate this tender-hearted paean to her father. (Sept.)


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