From Holocaust to Harvard: A Story of Escape, Forgiveness, and Freedom

From Holocaust to Harvard: A Story of Escape, Forgiveness, and Freedom

by John Stoessinger

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From Holocaust to Harvard: A Story of Escape, Forgiveness, and Freedom 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent, fascinating book about a young Jewish boy who endured beatings and bullying for the"crime" of being born Jewish for many years and in several countries. When John reaches the United States, however, the force of his intellect propels him into enormous academic success. But the author with human frailty, like all of us, finds himself with relationship and legal mistakes that cost him both money and reputation. In the end, though, this is a book about hope and redemption.
missmickee-bookreview More than 1 year ago
From Holocaust to Harvard: A Story of Escape, Forgiveness and Freedom is an extraordinary memoir of the life of prolific bestselling author Dr. John G. Stoessinger PhD (1927-) political scientist, former professor's of several prestigious universities, and service for the United Nations. Dr. Stoessinger (JGS) serves as Distinguished Professor of Global Diplomacy at University of San Diego, and visiting lecturer at the University of California. As a young child, JGS watched in awe as Hitler arrived in his birthplace of Vienna, celebrated with a marching band, as the Nazi's thundered into the city. As a Jewish youth, he was soon terrorized and badly beaten by other students, his mother would relocate them to the safety of Prague where his grandparents lived, there she would remarry. JGS was haunted throughout his life by the loss of his father, he wouldn't learn the truth behind his mysterious disappearance until late adulthood. Oskar, his stepfather, despised him for unknown reasons and beat him. However, Oskar had connections to flee Nazi persecution, and took his new family to Shanghi, China. Terribly unsettled by the ordeal, JGS was thankful to be alive, made a close friend Rusty. Receiving notice for his exceptional academic progress, he later earned a full scholarship to an American college in Iowa, where he relocated, not sharing the news of his good fortune until the last minute. Excelling in his academic studies, JGS received a full graduate scholarship to Harvard. So focused on his studies, his goals and dreams were of becoming a prestigious academic. JGS nearly lost this chance with a pregnant girlfriend, and was almost deported. A quick marriage brought him full acceptance by his wealthy father-in-law, who planned for JGS to manage his vast business holdings. JGS outright rejected this generous offer, and fled to Harvard, eventually his wife divorced him and another man would raise his only son. Academic study acted as a security for JGS, where he fully thrived and caught the notice and was mentored by a distinguished Harvard professor, another close friend was Henry Kissinger; who later was the subject of one of his books. Drawn to the thrill of buying and selling stocks and commodities, JGS would make and loose vast sums of money. He would become a notable professor at Harvard, and later served as acting director of political affairs at the United Nations. Finding stability and a measure of happiness with his second wife, a concert pianist, they had a daughter. He would catch the eye of a seemingly popular international political figure who claimed connections to further advance/publish his books. Flattered by her admiration for his work, she soon became his mistress. Through JGS letters of recommendation, this woman was able to illegally obtain favors and funds from foreign banks, and implicated JGS involvement. Federal charges were filed against him. Eventually JGS was cleared in court, and received a full pardon from Ronald Regan in 1985. Considering the stress of this tremendous ordeal, his second marriage ended in a bitter divorce. With the need to start over, JGS accepted a position to teach at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. A new relationship would bring him a sense of renewed love and hope. Janis would encourage him in the direction of family connections, he would hear from his adult son, and she would greatly support him when his mother died of Alzheimer's. It is unclear why JGS relationship with Janis