From the Publisher
This book tells the story of one American family. Several family trees came together in two people, Blanche Klinefelter and Herbert Thomson—our grandparents. As writers, we are two grandsons who have corroborated to tell this story. Like weaving a tapestry, we have tried to interpret the story of our particular family in the context of unfolding European and American history.
This is a book about our family and its stories. We write about eras long, long ago as well as times closer to the present day. As two cousins, we have two points-of-view about these times and places. As the French would have it, “Vive la différence.”
It is easy to confuse family traditions with history. “History is the enemy of memory. The two stalk each other across the fields of the past, claiming the same terrain.” Remembered family stories trail off into forgotten places. Each in his own way, we are historians. We have benefited from each other’s approaches. Historians follow cautiously checking records. Memory can be misleading. But stories always have some basis in the past. The heart of our book is where the recollected stories and history meet.