To say that Harry Smith was born under an unlucky star would be an understatement. Born in England in 1923, Smith chronicles the tragic story of his early life in this first volume of his memoirs. He presents his family's early history-their misfortunes and their experiences of enduring betrayal, inhumane poverty, infidelity, and abandonment. 1923 ...
To say that Harry Smith was born under an unlucky star would be an understatement. Born in England in 1923, Smith chronicles the tragic story of his early life in this first volume of his memoirs. He presents his family's early history-their misfortunes and their experiences of enduring betrayal, inhumane poverty, infidelity, and abandonment. 1923: A Memoir presents the story of a life lyrically described, capturing a time both before and during World War II when personal survival was dependent upon luck and guile. During this time, failure insured either a trip to the workhouse or burial in a common grave. Brutally honest, Smith's story plummets to the depths of tragedy and flies up to the summit of mirth and wonder, portraying real people in an uncompromising, unflinching voice. 1923: A Memoir tells of a time and place when life, full of raw emotion, was never so real. The sky is clear. I am in the back of a truck, in a long convoy of vehicles. We are moving like an enormous centipede up a two lane road. There are 15 men in each lorry. Woodbine cigarettes and Capstans dangle from our mouths. The straps to our tin helmets hang loosely around our chins. We are cocksure and unafraid. We are survivors and conquerors pushing our way through northern Germany. Opposite our convoy, there is an endless procession of refugees. They are pushing their scant possessions in hand carts or dragging along worn luggage with ropes wrapped around them. The procession contained men and women, the young and the old. Thin, cadaverous horses followed the throng dragging their hoofs in the thin soil beside the road. The jetsam was a mixture of forced labourers, ex prisoners, ex concentration camp inmates and the Diaspora from Germany's eastern provinces. They were all moving southward, as if believing that their homes still existed or that they still had relatives alive to give them shelter. If the Netherlands and Belgium were any example to me, there was little left of Europe. What had not been bombed had been looted and what had not been looted had been burned to the ground.
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