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Author Topic: Against All Odds
History
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My mother-in-law's Holocaust memoir arrived after months of my editing, map and geneology creation, photo layout preparation, and back cover copy. It looks great and is just in time for Holocaust Rememberance Day (today). A few copies have been catalog ordered by state bookstores within the first few hours of its availability by the distributor (see cover and blurb at: http://maineauthorspublishing.com/productpages/Pagelson_AgainstAllOdds.html )

It will be another week before I finish the legal work to have the book available through Amazon with a "Look Inside" feature (as all proceeds will benefit the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center). I estimate it will be two-three weeks before a Kindle/Ebook version will be ready.

Edith now has the book to share for the spring school session. She's been speaking to school children of all ages for a few decades and many ask if she had abook--and now she does The book is targetted especially well for this age group, even though our motivation was to preserve her story for her family. At 85, she is getting frail, and it is sad to think that there are so few Survivors remaining for children (and adults) to hear their stories and ask their questions first hand, to have the visceral connection to the events in their textbooks when they see and touch the black ink numbers that had been forcibly tatooed on her forearm.

The last four months have been my second foray with independent publishing (the latter was thirty years ago). It was again a learning experience and a lot of work--but it has all been worth it to see Edith's gratitude and her sense of accomplishment, of creating a legacy, and knowing that her story will not be forgotten.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[Reposted from Fragments and Feedback for Books--since it is published and now available]

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Meredith
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Great news.
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snapper
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Wonderful, Bob. Holocaust memoirs are tough to absorb but are tales that need to be told.

Nice blurb.

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LDWriter2
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I would agree with snapper. Quite a few years ago my wife typed for students to make extra money. One student did a paper on a relative who went through the Holocaust. It came out to be the worse job of typing my wife has ever done.


But Sounds good Dr. Bob and sounds like you did a good job.

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History
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Thanks all. As I said, I just did the good son-in-law thing.

First printing of 2000 is just about gone!
And we haven't even listed the book on Amazon yet. We're rushing to print more.

The largest state paper The Portland Press Herald is doing a story and interview in their Book section this Sunday.

Yes, the story is pretty...stunning. That a country like Germany, a model of "modern democratic Western civilization" and "multiplural society" could have turned fascist and conducted such a brutal and barbaric inhumane campaign of oppression and persecution against its own people and devise and execute a mass hate propaganda and extermination program against one minority segment of the population is chilling. If it happened there and then, it could happen anywhere--even here and today (and, sadly, it does in some places, if to a lesser efficiency than the Nazis were capable).

This is why such memoirs, and museums, and annual Remembrance Days are so important. We must never be complacent and must be always on guard, not merely for ourselves but as "our brother's keeper" [Gen. 4:7]. Sadly, soon there will be no Survivors or Liberators left to give first-hand accounts and serve as living witnesses--and refuters of the Holocaust Deniers even persisting among world leaders (e.g. Iran). Edith was 12 when Hitler came to power, and is now 85, and growing frail --though she still makes the best homemade chicken soup for me at least once a month. [Smile]

Against All Odds is different than other Holocaust memoirs I've read. Edith tells her story with a calm and honest prose, not with-holding the horror of her experience (which I found more chilling because of the matter-of-fact relaying of her story) yet not bewailing the injustice that she suffered. It's like: "This is what happened to me. I survived and overcame it. Let me tell you so you'll tell your children and be watchful so this does not happen, to anyone, ever again." And "Bad things happen. Things you cannot imagine; things you cannot predict. It is possible to survive them, and live a good and full life despite them (and to refute them)."

Thus, unlike other Holocaust stories, her memoir extends beyond her and her mother's liberation from the Nazis, to her life in America (Brooklyn to Maine), a life sadly touched by more tragedy but also by triumph and fulfillment. A full life is in these pages, yet knowing her audience (mostly middle and high schoolers), the book can be read in a single afternoon--and there are twenty pages of photos (only marred by the inclusion of mine [Wink] in a family photo or two demonstrating all her children and grandchildren the Nazis failed to keep from being born).

Thanks for your kind words.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Nick T
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Congratulations Dr. Bob, it sounds like you're doing a great job. I'll keep an eye out for the kindle version.
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History
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Made the front page of the Book section in today's Sunday edition.
I am very happy for her.
http://www.pressherald.com/life/audience/life-story_2012-04-29.html

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Osiris
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That's wonderful, Dr. Bob. Congratulations.

I have this novel in my head I want to write someday, an idea I came up with when talking to my good friend and neighbor. We share Egyptian roots, but his family is Jewish and ours Muslim. I think it would be a moving story to tell of how Nasser (the first of Egypt's dictators) negatively effected both our families and ultimately led to us coming to the USA, and eventually meeting. For my neighbor's family, the Nasser regime drove them out of Egypt for being Jewish. For my family, my father was so disgusted by Nasser and the ruin he brought on Egypt, (including the theft of my father-in-law's father's home and business which led to his death), that he moved us to the USA so we could experience democracy and have opportunities.
I know it isn't as horrific as what your mother-in-law went through, but I always thought it'd be interesting to show how indiscriminate Nasser was in his idiocy, and how important it is to look beyond racial/religious barriers so people can unite against tyranny.

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History
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I think it would be a great story to research and write, Osiris, particularly as you (and your neighbor/good friend) can share your family's witnessing of event and their personal impacts upon you.

In this sad time when few perceive Jews and Muslims can be friends, be mutually respectful, and unite against oppression, such a story would be both intriguing and enlightening.

I would certainly love to read this.

By last estimate (2004) there were less than 100 Jews remaining in Egypt (0.0001% of the population) from 80,000 in the early 20th century[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Egypt], and the number is believed to be nearing zero today--but they still have a sense of humor. [Smile]

This Jewish community and its Muslim relatives moved and conversed so naturally together that it was easy to forget this was not the norm on the streets of Cairo. Still, many of the older men and women spoke with great pride of their Jewish aristocratic roots, nostalgic for the old days of Jewish high society. When asked about the younger generation, their faces fell. “There are no more young Jews in Cairo these days,” Esther said. The rest nodded. Then one smiled and pointed to an 80-year-old man hunched quietly in a corner: “That’s the youngest Jew left in Cairo.” They all burst into laughter.
[http://www.guernicamag.com/features/the_last_jews_of_cairo/]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Osiris
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Thanks for that link Bob. I was as surprised by the author by the words "Insha'Allah" being used in a synagogue, but then I thought, why not? There is so much more that connects us than divides us. I enjoyed learning about how Jews fast, similar to how we fast, from my neighbor.

His family did actually take a trip to Cairo around 2008, and they often tell me about it. From their accounts, it was a wonderful experience, and they felt very welcomed.

Now, with the MB gaining too much power there, even I'm a little concerned about going for a visit anytime soon.

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History
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The paper 2nd printing comes out next week, but the Kindle and Smashwords electronic editions (2nd revision) are now available if anyone has interest.

All proceeds benefit the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine and their educational and charitable endeavors.

http://www.amazon.com/Against-All-Odds-Holocaust-ebook/dp/B00845NHG2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1337370018&sr=8-2

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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LDWriter2
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Niice.


I think I will get a copy-good charity and a subject to remember- but for that I will wait for a hard copy. I can show it easier that way.

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History
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#7 in the top ten best-selling paberbacks (non-fiction) in Maine this week!!

Beat out Katie Couric. [Smile]

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History
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video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/87cstdz4vfvutn1/Edith.m4v

Friday, the students of Winslow Middle School surprised Edith after she shared her story with them by singing "Die Gedanken sind frei (Thoughts are Free)" and presenting her with gifts. She was quite ferklempt and touched by this. There can be such wonderful moments of hope when our children display kindness and love.

"...we diligently maintained an optimistic spirit, and despite being physically imprisoned and unable to outwardly protest, we were able to preserve our innermost thoughts of dissent deep within us. My mother and I sang this popular German folk song to remind us that indeed thoughts are free."
--Against All Odds, Edith Pagelson, Chapter 4

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thanks so much for sharing how things are going with this book. It's great to hear about.
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Osiris
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That's great news, I'm going to share this with the neighbor I mentioned.
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Robert Nowall
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This may be awfully late in the day for a spot of literary criticism, and it won't stop me from buying a print copy or Nook copy when one finally turns up---but on Amazon-dot-com, there are seven hundred and eighteen results for the title "Against All Odds," and seventeen results that have something to do with the Holocaust. (Some are mutiple editions.)

Sorry...

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History
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Hi, Robert.

Regarding the title:

Against All Odds - a Miracle of Holocaust Survival

Edith chose it. I did not argue with her, nor did I think I should. Of the over 800 Jews of the German town of Worms, she was only 1 of the 6 who survived the Holocaust. Similarly of the 10,000 children who were shipped to and from Terezin, she was only 1 of the less than 100 who survived the war.

Etc.

Thus, I believe her choice is pertinent to her story, and it has not hurt the sale of her memoir (with only one-half of the second printing now remaining). [Smile]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Robert Nowall
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Like I said, sorry...I still intend to buy a copy when one turns up in a format I can get, preferably the print edition. Good luck and all...
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History
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No problem, Robert.
I appreciate for your kind interest.
I see that the Nook version is not yet available. I'm told it takes longer.
The print or Kindle editions are available via Amazon, and there are a variety of electronic or computer file choices at Smashwords (including an epub editon that Smashwords indicates is Nook friendly).
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/161166

Good Shabbos.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Robert Nowall
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Well, I thought it was just the Kindle edition on Amazon-dot-com, but I see now it's available in "perfect paperback." I must have missed it before...but I did order it, and I guess I'll either (1) get the one copy they say they have left, or (2) wait until some more show up...
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History
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This is very generous of you, Robert.

The second paper printing is now out and copies can be ordered through Amazon or directly from the publisher at http://maineauthorspublishing.com/productpages/Pagelson_AgainstAllOdds.html .

Unless something miraculous happens,I suspect this should provide enough copies for all those who desire one.

It has been a very hectic yet rewarding month for all concerned. We've been donating copies to the schools Edith has been speaking at this season--but many teachers and students have already purchased the book before she has arrived! This has made this year's school visits unique: more of a shared experience, with more poignant questions, more empathy on a personal level between Edith, the students, and the teachers. It has been very touching.

I downloaded the Kindle edition from Amazon. So this works. It is of the second printing which contains a few revisions (I'm always futzing). It differs only in that the Photographs are collected at the end of the book rather than in the middle in the print edition. [I note that some photo captions are on the following Kindle page rather than directly below the photo. I wonder if this is due to the size of the Kindle screen or a Page Break error? I'll need to check it on someone's IPad--and see if the photos are in color. My Kindle is B&W].

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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History
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Going to a third printing.
I would have thought this would have stopped selling by now.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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LDWriter2
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I said I would buy it in paper but third printing??!! Boy I must have missed something someplace.

Can we get the paper version only through Amazon?

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History
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Hi, LD.

We've only been printing a few hundred copies at a time. This began as a project to preserve her story for her current family, friends, and her future descendents. Then we increased the number of copies to accomodate requests from friends of friends, schools and students, and from libraries and museums. Then the press it received required we print even more. Finally Books-A Million has requested copies to consider if this book is something they wish to stock nationally. If they do...well, I'm going to have to change the publication model from our donating the printing costs to charity to at least a break even for us.

For now, the paperback is available through Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Against-All-Odds-Holocaust-Survival/dp/1936447282/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
or direct from the publisher at http://maineauthorspublishing.com/productpages/Pagelson_AgainstAllOdds.html .

The EBook is available for Kindle
http://www.amazon.com/Against-All-Odds-Holocaust-ebook/dp/B00845NHG2/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
and Nook
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/against-all-odds-a-miracle-of-holocaust-survival-edith-lucas-pagelson/1111394776?ean=2940033230280
and at Smashwords
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/161166

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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History
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FYI: Going into a fourth printing.

Proceeds benefiting the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. Remarkable woman.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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babygears81
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Sounds like a long, and probably emotional road you took. I'm happy its paying off. Happy for you and your mother-in-law.
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