Lost Roots book
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Book Review: Lost Roots

LOST ROOTS: Family, Identity, and Abandoned Ancestry by Karl Von Loewe is a beautiful flower of prose, memories, and familial bonds. Check out what Jadidsa Perez has to say in her review of this historical memoir.

Book Review: Lost Roots

Reviewed by Jadidsa Perez

A seed is planted in the reader’s mind that blossoms into a beautiful flower of prose, memories, and familial bonds.

Karl von Loewe is an author and historian with a master’s in Slavic languages and a PhD in Russian and eastern European history. With this, he has created a well-researched and sentimental memoir about his family’s history and hardships. 

Lost Roots: Family, Identity, and Abandoned Ancestry details the way oppressive structures have altered the identity of millions of families. For von Loewe, what began as a search for the significance of the compound name, “von Loewe Kiedrowski” resulted in a historical journey through wars, borders, and time. 

The story starts when von Loewe finds his father’s passport case and decides to look further into his tumultuous life. He had been under the impression that his family was German and that he had brothers and sisters abroad, but he had known very little about them. Then, during a family reunion, von Loewe connects with a cousin of his that resides in Poland. Through their conversation and further investigation, von Loewe discovers the extreme circumstances that led to his father migrating to the U.S. 

Lost Roots is von Loewe’s ode to his family, and it’s an incredible one. When a book is so personal and specific about one family, it can get difficult for readers to immerse without the real-life connection the author has. But I had no such issues with Lost Roots. In fact, I was completely enthralled until the very last word. 

Lost Roots has equal parts nostalgic storytelling and detailed research, providing beguiling context for what’s happening in Poland, Germany, and America. It’s not difficult to see how much effort, dedication, and groundwork that went into the publication of this project. 

My favorite aspect of this book is the juxtaposition between the family’s recollection and actual evidence of what occurred. Embellishment is a natural part of oral storytelling, and despite the documented evidence, it’s an important part of how people are remembered. 

It can be difficult to parse through some of the historical knowledge that von Loewe includes, but it’s important and helpful. I had to revisit paragraphs to better understand certain points, but it felt rewarding after learning of the political situations during World War II and how it impacted Sigmund’s family. 

I wholeheartedly recommend this memoir to history fanatics and those that are in their own heritage journeys. Lost Roots is an excellent example of a historical memoir and can serve as a blueprint for those that are interested in their own lineage.

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir / Historical

Print Length: 210 pages

ISBN: 978-1639883424

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