Magazine article The New Yorker

Fathers and Sons

Magazine article The New Yorker

Fathers and Sons

Article excerpt

The Yale professor of medicine Sherwin Nuland begins LOST IN AMERICA: A JOURNEY WITH MY FATHER (Knopf) by evoking the depression that in his forties so debilitated him that only one doctor protested against his being lobotomized. This was, he thinks, the culmination of his unresolved relationship with his father, who "walks with me through every day of my life, in that unsteady, faltering gait that so embarrassed me when I was a boy." Meyer Nudelman cowed his family with his rage, but a mysterious, crippling illness also made him insecure and dependent. Only later, in medical school, did Nuland guess that his father had suffered from syphilis.

It is hard to imagine men with more to hide from their sons than those who participated in the Third Reich. Sigfrid Gauch's 1979 memoir of his Nazi father has been translated into English by William Radice, under the title TRACES OF MY FATHER (Northwestern). …

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