Prisoner of Her Past: A Son's Memoir

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Northwestern University Press, Sep 30, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 202 pages
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Until February 15, 2001, Howard Reich’s mother, Sonia, had managed to keep almost everything about her experience of the Holocaust from her son. That night, she packed some clothes and fled her house in Skokie, Illinois, convinced that someone was trying to kill her. This was the first indication that she was suffering from late-onset post traumatic stress disorder, a little-known condition that can emerge decades after the initial trauma. For Howard, it was also the opening of a window onto his mother’s past.

In Prisoner of Her Past, Howard Reich has written a moving memoir about growing up as the child of Holocaust survivors and finding refuge from silence and fear in the world of jazz. It is only when Sonia’s memories overwhelm her and Howard begins to piece together her story that he comes to understand how his parents’ lives shaped his own. The paperback edition includes an epilogue by the author that relates developments since the publication of the cloth edition.


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Chapter Two Skokie Blues
Chapter Three Swing Time
Chapter Four The Past Returns
Chapter Five Chasing the Story
Chapter Six A Glimpse into the Dark
Chapter Seven What Happened in Dubno
Chapter Eight Heading Home
A Guide to Resources

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About the author (2011)

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Howard Reich has been an award-winning Chicago Tribune arts critic and writer since 1983. He is also a correspondent for DownBeat magazine. In addition to covering jazz, blues, gospel, and world music for the Tribune, he has authored several investigative reports that have been featured on ABC's Nightline and various National Public Radio programs. He is the author of three other books: The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich: A Son's Memoir (2006); Jelly's Blues: The Life, Music, and Redemption of Jelly Roll Morton (2003), written with William Gaines; and Van Cliburn (1993). He most recently wrote, produced, and narrated a documentary film about his mother's unspoken Holocaust childhood, Prisoner of Her Past. Reich graduated from Northwestern University's School of Music.

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