An American Decade

Written by Richard Aronowitz
Review by Karen Warren

In 1930 Christoph Rittersmann leaves Germany for America to make a new life for himself. At first he is lonely and disorientated, but he gradually builds up a career as a Broadway singer. He marries and has a family, and appears to have achieved success. But growing tension in his homeland is mirrored by the activities of the German Nazi movement in the U.S., and he cannot remain unaffected by the news that war has broken out in Europe. At the same time the events of Christoph’s previous life continue to haunt him. Eventually he has to return to Europe to confront a past he thought he had left behind.

An American Decade is based upon the author’s own family history. It focuses upon some lesser known aspects of the Second World War: Nazism in the US, and the Kindertransport that took Jewish children to safety in other countries. The existence of German Nazis in 1930s America was unfamiliar to me, and I found this part of the novel fascinating. I also enjoyed the way that Christoph’s personal past was intertwined with the unfolding history of his country. The book is well written and a compulsive story. Recommended for anyone who likes a good read, as well as those who are interested in World War II.