Critical Acclaim for The Family

“[A] moving account of the history of [Laskin’s] family during the 20th century…demands to be read…a metaphor of sorts for the 20th century, one in which incredible good fortune was  granted to some and incomprehensible agony to others….the book of this particular family stands out for the extremes of joy and sorrow contained within it.”
—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
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“[Laskin] outdoes even himself with this true story…. Beautifully written, densely textured and at times heartbreaking.”
—Seattle Times
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“[A] window into the enormity of the events that is comprehensible but also fundamentally humane….The Family contains multitudes—the fabric of a dark and bloody century most of all.”
—James McAuley, The Daily Beast
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“[A] story with such color, sweep and impact…. ‘The pulse of history beats in every family,’ [Laskin] concludes. ‘All of our lives are engraved with epics of love and death.’ But it is also true that few families produce a scribe as gifted as Laskin himself, a storyteller who has given his own family chronicle all of the depth and detail of a great novel while, at the same time, honoring the truth of their lives.”
—Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal
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“Propulsive, urgent and heart-breaking…A model of dogged reporting and narrative skill, ‘The Family’ inevitably evokes Daniel Mendelsohn’s 2006 masterpiece, ‘The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million.’”
—Julia M. Klein, The Jewish Daily Forward
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“The unspeakable tragedies and improbable triumphs of the European Jewish diaspora in the 20th century have been told many times but rarely quite so compellingly as in David Laskin’s ‘The Family.’ Mr. Laskin’s chronicle could have been written in tears—of torment and scarce joy—and it is at once anguishing and inspiring…‘The Family’ is a very emotional book.”
—Edward Kosner, Wall Street Journal

“…impressively researched and absorbing…compelling as both memoir and history…What is most memorable in this captivating story is what Laskin breaks into — a silence about the European branch, the story ‘our parents and grandparents could not bear to tell.’”
—Joan Baum, Hadassah Magazine
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“The three distinct fates chronicled in author David Laskin’s panoramic ‘The Family’ trace the Jewish experiences of success, dislocation and tragedy in the 20th century through the lens of immigration, Zionism and the Holocaust…Laskin’s deft handling of historical narrative is evident from the first pages.”
—Stephen HJ. Lyons, Minneapolis Star Tribune


“Laskin has managed to turn family members who lived a century ago into fully realized characters. The book’s impact lies in its ability to show how history affects us personally — the characters’ decisions and aspirations have dramatic consequences.”
—Howard Freedman,

“Gripping epic narrative… readable and absorbing… Laskin…makes the most of the rich array of stories his research unearthed.”
—Publishers Weekly


“David Laskin’s The Family is a vivid, utterly compelling exploration of the forces that have shaped modern history.  We often view these forces— capitalism, fascism, mass migration, assimilation, and the like—only from a distance, as vast, impersonal abstractions.   But in Laskin’s magnificent book we see them in the intimate details of actual lives, deftly followed through a tangle of triumph, accommodation, and often unbearable suffering.  An extraordinary achievement.”
—Stephen Greenblatt, New York Times Bestselling Author 


“The Family belongs on the shelf next to Daniel Mendelsohn’s ‘The Lost as a response to Saul Bellow’s lament that American Jews ‘should have reckoned more fully, more deeply, with’ the Shoah.”
—John Strawn, Portland Oregonian

“[Laskin] knows how to zero in on a good story…An ambitious, experimental look at exodus, acclimatization and culture with a cast as diverse as any family photo album.”

Itel at the height of her career

“[Laskin’s] compelling narrative brings these individuals to life as we witness their triumphs and tragedies in vivid detail and at times in their own voices.”
—Library Journal

“This interesting and often moving family saga spans a century and a half, three continents, and touches most of the critical historical trends and events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries… Laskin…is a gifted writer who effectively blends family and world history in a deeply felt story filled with the joy and sadness that has characterized Jewish life in this period.”


“As rich and poignant as any novel, only all true and impeccably researched. David Laskin tells the moving and tragic story of three distinct filaments of his ancestral family and in the process brilliantly captures the dynamism, industry and sorrow of the Jewish experience in modern history, from the family’s roots in a shtetl in Eastern Europe, to Israel, Manhattan, and the darkest reaches of the Holocaust.”
—Erik Larson, New York Times Bestselling Author


“A true triumph of historical storytelling…. David Laskin is a magical searcher into the past….His generations of Cohens could be your Johansens, Smiths, Lopezes, Schmidts, O’Houlihans, even my Scottish peasant forebears….. The Family will touch you, heart and soul.”
—Ivan Doig, National Book Award Finalist

“I read The Family without stopping, except sometimes to weep (and occasionally to chuckle). Through the stories of members of David Laskin’s large, dispersing family, history sharpens into individual lives and deaths and losses and becomes personal and vivid and tragic.”
—Edith Pearlman, National Book Critics Circle Award Winner and National Book Award Finalist


“Entrancing….Laskin’s story is haunting, heartfelt, and deeply moving. And in the end—as Laskin eloquently points out in a beautiful, almost mystical, epilogue—his telling of it weaves another bright silver thread into the fabric that binds all of us together.”
—Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat

“At once heartbreaking and gloriously triumphant, it’s finally a story of love. Yes, a big unyielding, often rollicking and humorous history of one generation’s prevailing love for the next. A wonderful achievement.”
—Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Failure


“David Laskin’s The Family is an elegantly evocative meditation on the Jewish diaspora of the twentieth century. Deeply emotional at times, The Family is both harrowing and uplifting. Highly recommended!”
—Douglas Brinkley, author of Cronkite

“What a story! Scholars and scribes, Zionists and revolutionaries, Holocaust martyrs and the inventors of the Maidenform bra all march through these pages. The Family is the twentieth-century history of the Jews writ small.”
—Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University

“The Family succeeds in transforming the intensely personal account of how ‘history made and broke my family in the twentieth century’ into a powerful rendition of the tragic and triumphant history of the Jewish people.”
—Shelf Awareness