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Ursula Mandel's novel is a painting done with words. Since I was a child of ten in 1945 when WWII ended and played in the rubble of destroyed buildings, begged for food for my family and myself, was dressed in rags and never lost my will to live, this novel is very close to my heart. Uncannily Ursula Mandel tells this story as if she herself experienced the courage of Ruth, the old landlady's stern on the outside and devastated on the inside personality. Ruth's pride, her shyness to take food from Captain Whitman. This kind of pride comes of good breeding. Ruth's show of backbone to the Russian soldiers. Her description of the Russian brutality, which those of us who were there will never forget.
I shed tears while reading and devoured it in one sitting allowing all else to slide until I had read this novel. Thank you Ursula. Have bought two copies for my 44 and 46 year old children who have no clue and never will. Thank God. My note to them was: REQUIRED READING. I am sure I will buy many more copies to give as gifts. You are a very talented lady Ursula and you care about your family and your roots and your Mom, you have been unafraid to unravel the "knitting" to see where this leads you to. When I finished your novel I felt emotionally shook up for several hours and that is good. I must never forget!
This will help me do my small part in not allowing any other madman to destroy a whole generation. Thank you again Ursula. Am awaiting your next book.
Former Displaced Person
Present Senior Citizen
Marguerite, Washington, D.C., August 19, 2001 To the Author:
What a hauntingly, beautiful story! And you have done a wonderful job in
writing--the craftsmanship and design for the presentation of the "before and
after" adds much to the timeliness of the book. I don't know when I was so
engrossed in a book that I could not put it down. Frankly, Americans need to
have so penetrating a tribute to both Germans and Americans read widely. It
should be on the New York Times best book list…My compliments on a superb job.
Joni from California, August 5, 2001
Decisions we make in life aren't always black and white. Ursula Maria
Mandel's novel, The Good American, is a story of real people, and how the
circumstances surrounding their lives determined the decisions they made. It is
also a story of understanding, and ultimately, forgiveness; not only for others,
but for oneself. A good read.
A reviewer, a true book lover, June 22, 2001
A compelling, captivating story - once you start reading this book, you
cannot put it down. The Good American portrays life in post-war Germany through
two storylines - a woman's quest to rescue her sister's child out of
Berlin before the Russian blockade, and her falling in love with an American
officer. Short chapters are used as a literary tool to increase the reader's
suspense. The author goes back and forth between 1948 and 1992, the year in
which one of the woman's daughters meets with the American's son to reveal
the true story. This is one of the most visually written books I have ever read -
filled with all the five senses on every page: the reader can literally see
the children play in the rubble of the bombed cities, taste the lollipop the
little girl is longing for, and smell the coffee from the American that the
women treasure. Scenes of women and children looking for berries in the woods,
trading anything they own for food, trying to sell the precious silverware for a
child's doll remind me of the stories my own grandparents - who were German - had told me. Every American should read this book to understand what life is
like after a war in one's own country. Then read it again and again, and you
may feel that you have been there yourself. A masterpiece of literature! Bravo,
Dr. Mandel. We are eagerly awaiting your next book.
Sandra, July 25, 2001 To the Author:
Justin told me how wonderful your book was and what an interesting person you
are. Then I had the opportunity to read the book and appreciate the story and
get a glimpse of the person who wrote it. It is very well written and easy to
read. I became totally absorbed and wanted more when it was over. I thoroughly
enjoyed the book and thank you for sharing a part of your life with us, your
Cathy, June 21, 2001 To the Author:
Excellent, Uschi. What a new world you've invited yourself into by the
publication of your most wonderful book. But by the same token, you've invited
us into your created universe, and it's an exciting place: one that invited
readers/explorers to see the sky you've painted, feel the grass you've
grown. A world where real people love, laugh, die, cry, hope and dream. All
invented by you, in your wonderful mind. Thanks for inviting us all into that
A reader from Virginia, June 21, 2001
To the Author:
I loved your book! The descriptions are so vivid, I felt I was there. Please
An intrigued reader from Virginia, June 21, 2001
To the Author:
Dr. Mandel, I absolutely loved your book. I could not put it down once I
started to read it. I have already recommended it to dozens of people: friends,
family, colleagues, neighbors…Keep writing! Anxiously awaiting your second