Publication Date: Jan 30, 2018
List Price US $16.99
List Price US $25.95
Trim Size (H x W): 5.5 x 8.25
An award-winning writer captures a year that defined the modern world, intertwining historical events around the globe with key moments from her personal history.
The year 1947 is a turning point in the twentieth century. The surrender and subsequent division of Germany defines the Cold War. The CIA is created, Israel is about to be born, Simone de Beauvoir finds the love of her life, George Orwell is writing his last book, and Christian Dior creates the hyperfeminine New Look while women are forced out of jobs and back into the home.
While all of this is happening, a ten-year-old Hungarian Jewish boy in a refugee camp for children of parents murdered by the Nazis must make the decision of a lifetime. What he chooses will determine his own fate and that of his daughter yet to be born, Elisabeth.
Excerpt from 1947
Time is not running quite to plan.
On January 1, 1947, The Times informs the people of Britain that they should no longer rely on their clocks or watches. To be quite certain that the time is what it purports to be, it is recommended that they tune in to the BBC, which will broadcast extra bulletins giving the real time. Electric clocks are affected by the frequent power cuts, but mechanical clocks also need overhauling. This may be due to the cold. Things may improve.
In the course of the war, nearly 50,000 tons of bombs fell on Great Britain. More than 4.5 million buildings are damaged. Some towns have been all but wiped out, such as the Scottish port whose air raids were given a name all their own—the Clydebank Blitz.
All across Europe there is similar damage. The Austrian town of Wiener Neustadt once had 40,000 buildings. Now only eighteen are intact. Half the houses in Budapest are uninhabitable. In France, a total of 460,000 buildings are in ruins. In the Soviet Union, 1,700 small towns and villages have been completely destroyed. In Germany, around 3.6 million dwellings have been bombed to bits—a fifth of the country’s homes. Half the homes in Berlin are derelict. In Germany as a whole, more than eighteen million people are homeless. A further ten million are without homes in the Ukraine. All these people have to manage with limited access to water and sporadic access to electricity.
Human rights do not exist, and the concept of genocide is all but unknown. Those who survived have just begun to count their dead. Many travel home but cannot find it; others travel anywhere but to the place they came from.
“Among innumerable turning points in history, 1947, just two years after World War II ended, is a year worth review. Åsbrink’s book, translated from the Swedish, makes some of that year’s neglected history and high drama tangible and meaningful. With a technique reminiscent of John Dos Passos’ ‘newsreels,’ the author records events from across the world (Paris, Palestine, New York, Los Angeles, Budapest, Berlin, Delhi, etc.), using the present tense to create a sense of immediacy…Throughout the book, Åsbrink artfully selects her narratives…A skillful and illuminating way of presenting, to wonderful effect, the cultural, political, and personal history of a year that changed the world.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An intriguing account of a number of significant events which occurred in a year when the world was beginning to come to terms with the fallout from the Second World War…Åsbrink deftly brings together the tangle, the mess, the aspirations, and the disappointments which characterized the period and which for her resonate personally through her family history.” —Rosemary Ashton, author of One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858
“Gripping, overwhelming, and completed with such stylistic and factual consistency that you almost lose your breath. It does not happen often, but occasionally: good journalistic craftsmanship rises and becomes great literature.” —Sydsvenska Dagbladet
“Elisabeth Åsbrink has written a book about history that distinguishes itself from many other history books by its poetic beauty…1947 is as much an adept history book as it is a beautiful and well-written piece of fiction. Read it!” —Svenska Dagbladet
“If you don;t get your hands on this book you will miss out not only on a historically meaningful year, but also on a strong reading experience.” —Jönköpings-Posten
“You get a piece of a life in your hands. There is something here that you seldom find in young Swedish prose…It is beautifully told. Dark, but beautiful.” —Dagens Nyheter