I love telling stories about people that reveal their personal situation within its historical context. The most recent of my 6 published books are a memoir/biography The Reluctant Nazi based on my grandfather’s diaries in Berlin 1945, and Better Homes of South Bend : An American Story of Courage, about African American Studebaker workers in the 1950’s who stand up against Jim Crow in the North.
One reason for my fascination with the intersection of the personal and historical may stem from my own experience. Born in Berlin in 1942, my family fled the city in 1945. This was for me the beginning of a string of migrations, boarding schools in Vienna and on the Baltic, a small town near Hamburg, a move to the US, first Urbana, Illinois, then a year in New York, and several in London where I earned a PhD in Modern Drama. I taught at the University of Illinois, Indiana University South Bend, and abroad.
After a divorce, I had moved to South Bend with my son Benedict, now an English professor like his mother who lives in Brooklyn. And I am settled in South Bend with my husband Mike, a Sociologist turned sustainable neighborhood developer, and our cat Max. Perhaps it’s a sign of having found a home at last that I was awarded a Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest honor, the key of the city of South Bend, and have been inducted into the South Bend Community Hall of Fame. My favorite leisure time reading is about animals and trees.