We Were Family: The Liberman Exodus
by Christine Chatterton
PageTurner Press and Media

" The Libermans faced the hatred… without despair, but with fortitude and grace."

This fictionalized family biography is set amidst the turmoil of highly dramatic times, ranging from the decade leading up to World War I and through the 1960s. The Liberman family experiences ongoing hatred spurred by anti-Semitism that sends three generations fleeing for their lives. From "Odessa to Manchuria, Siberia, Uruguay, Canada, Seattle, New York, Washington D.C., and finally Chicago," the family endures staggering, unimaginable losses as they seek freedom from religious and political tyranny. The stakes are particularly high in Czarist Russia as the Revolution unfolds at the turn of the twentieth century and later, when Japan occupies Manchuria in the 1930s and Hong Kong during WWII, causing many Jews to flee in the dark of night or under disguise to begin their lives anew elsewhere.

This tale hits the ground running and carries one's heart through a myriad of abuses, separations, and reunions. It opens in 1905 as the political structure in Odessa begins to decay before the Russian Revolution. The Jewish community is blamed for the violence that erupts in the city despite their innocence. Many are murdered as the pogrom destroys lives and livelihoods. The Libermans and other Jewish families narrowly escape death, often with the help of compassionate bystanders. Chatterton seamlessly combines the personal details of her husband's family and the descriptions of the sweeping historical events that affected them. She skillfully fills gaps in her research, creating plausible scenes and conversations lost to the vagaries of time and lack of documentation. As a retired public school teacher, Chatterton's writing hits a particular mark, and the book will be a welcome addition to Judaica collections for young adults.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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