The Barnes & Noble Review
In need of inspiration? This gem of an autobiography, recounting the first 21 years in the life of Andris Grof, whom the world would come to know as Andy Grove, co-founder and current chairman of Intel Corporation, may be exactly what you're
This is not a book about high technology, Silicon Valley, or big business. It is a poignant story about human survival. In this particular case, it involves a very intimate account of the horrors faced by a young Hungarian-Jewish boy and his family, from the eve of World
War II to their escape from Soviet tanks on the streets of Budapest in 1956.
Before he was 20, Grove tells us, he had witnessed "a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis' 'Final Solution,' the siege of
Budapest by the Soviet Red Army...a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint."
Grove does not tell his amazing tale sentimentally or melodramatically. He almost underplays his experiences, using descriptions that are short, factual, articulate, and powerful. The understated hero somehow found the strength and courage to endure and persevere; a timely story in an age looking to understand how the worst of times can sometimes bring out the best in us.
Swimming Across is a wonderful book that reaffirms the strength and resilience of the human spirit in even the darkest hour. Treat yourself to this autobiography. Its calm, moving, and positive voice carries a welcome and powerful echo. (Elena Simon)
Elena Simon lives in New York City.
...a remarkable book, both for what it says and for what it does not...
...an astringently unsentimental memoir that may find its place...with such works as Angela's Ashes...and This Boy's Life...
...moving and inspiring memoir...a vivid picture of a tumultuous period in world history...
...a heck of a story...reads like a spy novel...
...Grove tells an enthralling tale...
Andris Grof was born in 1936 in Hungary; years later, he changed his name to Andrew Grove and went on to help found the Intel Corporation, eventually becoming its CEO and chairman. Grove's memoir recounts his early life in Budapest from his perspective as a Jewish boy trying to make sense of a world torn apart by World War II, the Nazi persecution of the Jews, and the repression of communism. He describes his escape to New York City after the failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution and how he began to assimilate into American culture. His simple, evenhanded, almost unemotional writing style stands in stark contrast to the events around him, making them seem all the more horrific. While this memoir presents no broad political or historical insights, it is a poignant reminder of the great suffering that took place during the middle part of the last century. This excellent book is recommended for all public libraries and for academic libraries where there is interest in the effects of World War II or the American immigration experience. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/01.] Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The self-portrait of a young man, now the CEO of Intel. Grove, chairman of the world's largest computer-chip company and author of several management books, reaches back to his childhood years in Budapest to produce something like a Bildungsroman in the classic tradition. Born before WWII to assimilated, middle-class Jewish parents, young Andris Grof found his life torn apart with his father's being sent to the Russian front and the Nazis taking control of Budapest. The Grofs survived the war, however, and the Communist regime that followed it, but when Russian tanks rolled into town to suppress the Hungarian revolution, Grof, then a chemistry student, took advantage of the chaos and stole across the Austrian border. From there he made it to the Bronx, talked his way into City College, and became Andy Grove, chemical engineer and American. The rest, as they say, is history. Thankfully, Grove spends little time foreshadowing his later success but instead offers a tight, simply told, extremely intimate memoir with careful attention to structure and detail: even the metaphor in the title is multifaceted, adding depth and resonance as the story moves forward. And although his family suffered during the war, Grove's tale resembles pre-war generations of immigrant success stories; laced with a sardonic, though unmistakable, faith in the American dream, it's like The Rise and Fall of David Lewinsky with a happy ending. Still, more than a few readers will find their eyes welling up when Grof's mother asks young Andris, who has zealously hidden his identity during the war, to recite a Jewish prayer to a newly arrived Russian soldier. Grove, though, maintains a steady hand and keeps thetear-jerking to a minimum. The outcome, while not earth-shattering-and possibly self-indulgent on occasion-is a polished, solid portrait of a particular time and place. .