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Bobby In Naziland (Coming Soon)

Not yet published

Brooklyn, 1955-64: A boy learns about life and death from the WWII vets and Holocaust survivors who surround him.


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From the final days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, in the mid-1950s, to the arrival of the Beatles, in 1964, Bobby in Naziland takes you on an unsentimental journey through one Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood. Though only a 20-minute and 15-cent subway ride from the gleaming towers of Manhattan across the East River, Flatbush—or Flapbush, as native Flatbushians called it—was a provincial, working-class place, frozen in time, where concentration camp survivors and army vets who’d fought the Nazis lived side by side and World War II lingered like a mass hallucination (along with the ghost of the Dodgers). It was a place hell-bent on vengeance, seething with hatred, and suffering from an epidemic of what was not yet called post-traumatic stress disorder.

Voice-driven and darkly comic, this slice of autobiography focuses on the interplay of the personal and historical, and is narrated by “Bobby,” an adult who channels thoughts and emotions from his childhood: “I was 97 days old when a one-footed Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, Edward Teller, the real Dr. Strangelove, more commonly known as ‘the father of the H-bomb,’ introduced Planet Earth to this brand-new way to exterminate the human race.”

Grappling to understand and come to terms with the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation and the historical weight of the Holocaust, the young Bobby obsessively draws mushroom clouds and broods about Nazi atrocities as he watches his family and neighbors celebrate the capture, trial, and execution of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Along the way, he provides a child’s-eye view of the mid-20th-century American experience, often as it plays out in his father’s candy store. Among the subjects he explores are goyim, Jews, money, sex, class, racism, the Rosenbergs, the space race, UFOs, Eva Perón, President Kennedy, the Three Stooges, the New York Yankees, literature, language, and memory itself.

This is history writ with piss and vinegar, stark, unsentimental, and unexpectedly moving…. a repository of postwar Jewish memory of the sort that historians can’t find in archives.Whitney Strub, history professor and director of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University-Newark; author of Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right
You might call this remarkable coming-of-age novel a kosher Catcher in the Rye, if it weren’t in a category all its own…. Brilliant, darkly comic… its characters are unforgettable and deeply moving.David Comfort, author of The Rock and Roll Book of the Dead and An Insider’s Guide to Publishing; contributor to Blogcritics.org
Truth seeps out of every paragraph…. Wry, touching, and disturbingly insightful.B. A. Nilsson, contributing writer for Metroland