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About the Book

Beyond the Book

616 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 36 illus., 6 maps, 2 figs., notes, bibl., index

ISBN  978-0-8078-5374-0
Published: March 2002

Troubled Memory

Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana

By Lawrence N. Powell

Awards & Distinctions

A 2000 Booklist Holocaust Literature Best of the Year Selection

2000 Kemper and Leila Williams Prize in Louisiana History, Louisiana Historical Association

2000 Lillian Smith Book Award, Southern Regional Council

This powerful work tells the story of Anne Skorecki Levy, the Holocaust survivor who transformed the horrors of her childhood into a passionate mission to defeat the political menace of reputed neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. The first book to connect the prewar and wartime experiences of Jewish survivors to the lives they subsequently made for themselves in the United States, Troubled Memoryis also a dramatic testament to how the experiences of survivors as new Americans spurred their willingness to bear witness.

Perhaps the only family to survive the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto as a group, the Skoreckis evaded deportation to Treblinka, by posing as Aryans and ultimately made their way to New Orleans, where they became part of a vibrant Jewish community. Lawrence Powell traces the family's dramatic odyssey and explores the events that eventually triggered Anne Skorecki Levy's brave decision to honor the suffering of the past by confronting the recurring specter of racist hatred. Breaking decades of silence, she played a direct role in the unmasking and defeat of Duke during his 1991 campaign for the governorship of Louisiana.

About the Author

Lawrence N. Powell is professor of history at Tulane University and a founding member of the Louisiana Coalition against Racism and Nazism.


"[Powell] tells this tale with wonderful narrative grace and moral force. He deftly explores ethical compromises and nuances."
--Walter Isaacson, Time

"[A] harrowing book. . . . Combines the sweep of history with the intimacy of memoir."
--Chicago Tribune

"This is a beautifully written, deeply researched, and heart rending narrative of the events triggered by a chance meeting between a Holocaust survivor and David Duke in 1989. . . . Powell is to be commended for this generally insightful analysis."
--American Historical Review

"Troubled Memory is the riveting story of a not particularly famous woman, Anne Levy, and the ways history shaped her life. . . . [It] is a good example of a piece of writing that proves that 'history matters.' . . . A fine piece of historical scholarship on both Poland and the United States and on the larger context of Jewish history. . . . A story of an American hero . . . . Worthwhile reading for anyone interested in using personal history to analyze larger events, Troubled Memory is also an inspiring story about standing up against evil."
--Journal of American History

"[A] vivid story. . . . [Powell] has succeeded in capturing a fascinating slice of American history along with providing a vivid portrait of how racist demagogues can succeed if alert citizens and watchdog groups remain silent."
--Jewish Book World

"A formidable scholarly and narrative achievement. . . . Wondrous proof of the transferability of historical skills. . . . [Powell's] retelling is brilliant. . . . Even readers who are knowledgeable about the Holocaust should be warned: Troubled Memory has the power to sting."
--American Jewish History

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