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Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home
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Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  165 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
A revelatory, visually stunning graphic memoir by award-winning artist Nora Krug, telling the story of her attempt to confront the hidden truths of her family’s wartime past in Nazi Germany and to comprehend the forces that have shaped her life, her generation, and history.

Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long sh
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Scribner
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Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
Can I give it an extra star?
Carrie Templeton
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am almost overwhelmed at the depth and intensity of this graphic memoir. My husband is a second generation German American, his father was born in Germany shortly before the end of WWII and his mother is of Jewish heritage. As a child, my husband wasn’t taught German and learned very little of his father’s family, never heard stories of the homeland. Reading this book felt like peeking behind an unspoken curtain into some inkling of my father-in-law’s thoughts. I was absolutely captivated both ...more
In "The Germans" episode of Fawlty Towers, Basil is told not to mention the war, but he does, frequently, until the guest break out in tears. At the time, I thought it odd that the germans would be upset about it. As Basil said, they started it.

I bring this up, because the author of this story, is one such German, who knows about the war, but it is not talked about, though her father's older brother fought and died in World War II. This memoir of how she doesn't feel that she has a home in her f
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Belonging is an absolutely beautiful memoir full of questions about identity, family and homeland. Nora Krug was born and raised in Germany, in the shadow of World War II. Belonging is a deeply personal memoir about her struggles with German identity, coming to terms with her family history, and exploring the German idea of Heimat, or homeland. Her journey leads her to talking to Holocaust survivors in her new homeland of Brooklyn, traveling with her mother and father to Germany, meeting many un ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Note: I received an advanced reader's copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley)

Between the real life photos and documents that are mixed with absolutely gorgeous art, and Nora Krug's meticulous documentation of her quest to unravel and understand her family's history, it's impossible to not feel like you were placed in the author's shoes and taken along for every single step of her journey. You will be unsettled by the same questions and worries that weigh on her, end up feeling the same thirst
Deanna (Deanna Reads Books)
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on my review blog Deanna Reads Books
This graphic memoir is a really deep and poignant look at one's self. It's a really heavy topic, but I found it awesome to experience Nora's journey of self-discovery cool to be done in the graphic medium. I also loved that it wasn't a typical graphic novel. The book was drawn as if written in a notebook, and there were even real photos put into it to make it feel more real. One page might have a real photo of her grandfather
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating memoir of one woman's attempt to understand and connect with her own past, as well as the complicated past of Germany. It's well worth a read.

I received access to this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We all Search: for roots, meaning, answers, stories, purpose. Nora Krug’s Belonging is the author’s journey of making her way back to the German towns her parents and relatives are from and learning their stories. It’s about Searching, Finding her own way, figuring out Collective Guilt, following the bread crumbs, hoping they’ll lead her ‘home.’

This ‘graphic memoir’ engaged me from the moment I opened it. Mesmerizing, creative, dramatic. I’ve never seen anything like it. (That’s a compliment of
Bruce Katz
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I’m not sure how to rate a book like this, what kinds of criteria to use. The author, a German expatriate married to a Jewish husband, has created a strikingly original work — a chimera — of enormous power, grace, and courage. Drawings, photographs, documents, and words are brought together in such a way as to capture the emotional complexity of her quest to discover her family’s lives (and, to a very real extent, the lives of other Germans) during the Nazi years, both before and during the war. ...more
Jessica Samuelson
This was such a stunning book for me. “Stunning” in that it affected me in a way I did not expect.

I have read lots of books about WWII—non-fiction, fiction, children’s & YA books, even a couple graphic novels/memoirs. Despite all that though, I had never given much thought to how that time period affects modern Germans. When I thought of post-war Germany at all it was mostly in relation to the Berlin Wall.

With Nora as my guide, however, I began to understand the struggle that many Germans fa
I don't think there are enough words to accurately describe how beautiful this graphic novel is. The mix of various diary entries, photographs, various illustrations, and excerpts from propaganda combine to pack an emotional punch. I can't recommend this memoir about growing up German after the horrors of the Nazis enough.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I love that the whole of this book was handwritten.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this memoir, Nora Krug researches her German family to help alleviate her feelings of guilt about World War II. She includes research from government sources and family photos to help her tell her family's story. Her book has the feel of a journal with her personal feelings about her discoveries, and a scrapbook with her drawings, photos, and documents that she explains to weave the story together. It is artistically arranged, and feels personal and confessional.

**Read via NetGalley
Jesica DeHart
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brace yourself to be consumed by this raw, deeply personal and revealing memoir. As a German, Nora Krug yearns to know the truth of her fractured family and in searching she aches to be absolved.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a free digital copy!

In Belonging, Nora Krug wrestles with questions about what we inherit and the ways we can (and can't) heal. Though this account was deeply rooted in Nora's family history and her questions about her grandparents during WWII, I (a Southern American) found it deeply relatable and touching. All families have fractures, and Nora's narrative did full justice to the longing to understand and to reconcile that sometimes comes w
This book is so powerful and emotional and eye-opening. Krug takes us with her on a journey to uncover the buried history of her homeland and her family; Krug's watercolor-esque illustrations, historical photographs, and found objects take it to another level. Everyone should read this.

*Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book, for many reasons. I come from a country that was occupied by the Germans during WWII, and have heard horrific stories about them. The entire male population of a village next to the one where my parents grew up was executed by the Germans, while children such as my father were malnourished because the Germans were stealing everything the village produced. Everywhere in the country there are monuments that remind everyone of the atrocities committed by German soldiers.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
It's not popular to rate this only a 3, but I have to do it. The illustrations throughout were truly interesting and the best part of the book. I really liked that each page was it's own little surprise of images. The writing though... it dragged. It dragged for so long with little to come of it. You know those movies you watch where they just ramble through a day and there is no real 'story'? That's how this book felt. She has guilt, curiosity, and more guilt. Which is fine, but it was boring a ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a thought-provoking and interesting read. I like the medium she used to tell her story - the graphic novel, more like a scrap book, with everything written by hand and put together so carefully.

The author grew up in 80s Germany with always a feeling of shame about the past, even though her parents were both born after the end of WWII. She moves to the U.S. and it's still there, not helped by comments and stereotypes made by others. She never feels that she belongs in any place.

She final
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author is on a journey,a very personal quest to discover the Heimat of her family before, during and after WWII. Her desire to find out what happened is told in a most unusual way, through a hand printed, memory scrapbook.

I have wondered for some time how Germans lived through the war; how they regarded their role as it played out at home. What did they know? How did they participate in the execution and transportation of Jews from their communities to the death camps? Silence? Denial? To an
Wayne McCoy
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
'Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home' by Nora Krug is a non-fiction graphic novel about the difficulty of finding one's place in the world with a troubled national history.

Nora was born long after the fall of the Nazi party in Germany, but the guilt of her nation still hangs over her. She has an uncle that died in the war, and a grandfather that may or may not have been involved. Family accounts say he wasn't, but what is the truth?

Nora travels back to a town in Germany to find out
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As soon as I read a review of this book, I simply had to have it. I put it on my Christmas wish list because of the cost, but when I walked into my local book store, it was there, an irresistable temptation. So it ended up being a birthday present to myself.
I'm a big fan of graphic novels, a somewhat silly term invented to make comics somehow respectible. I suppose you really couldn't call this book a comic, since it never follows a traditional panel format. It is a visual feast! The topic was
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Belonging was a narrative of the author's ancestry told by using non-traditional pieces of history.

I've truly never read a book formatted like this before. Not only was it entirely handwritten, it featured German schoolwork, old photographs, the author's illustrations, and more. It feels as-if I just read through a private scrapbook.

This story was not only unique in the way it was told but in the message it was conveying. As an American, I have never stopped to think about the shame Germans carr
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"I feel a sudden pain, shallow but sharp and all-consuming as a paper cut, because even inherited memory hurts."

It's been a very long time since I have felt a book so deeply and I find it difficult to adequately express that depth of emotion. Having never given much thought to the subsequent generations that are coming after the war I am blown away by how blind I have been to the lasting and wide-spread impact of such a world event. This book was presented with such beautiful innocence and hon
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of "Belonging" by Nora Krug, through the "Good Reads First Reads Giveaway."

Hitler was a master of evil, who twisted a technically advanced and cultured nation into a horrible attempt to dominate the world.

This is an honest and sincere attempt to review the impact of WWII on a typical German family. Both my father and father-in-law, risked their lives fighting the Nazi war machine and this made me uncomfortable regarding Germans in general. This book softens my attitude to
I found this account to be both fascinating and moving. It grapples head-on with the unease of being part of a population coming to terms with acknowledging past abuses on a national scale, the topic of reparation and whether that can ever be enough, and the immediacy of identity dysphoria that inherited shame creates. This is a topic that I expect/hope to see more of in the future -- I think America has a lot of buried topics that we need to unearth and confront, and I admire this book as a sor ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I really enjoyed this book. The great details (pictures/information) made me feel like I was there alongside her during her journey. It was such a quick read because I didn't want to put it down. I really wanted to know what she would discover next. Sometimes, when reading books with this subject matter, I can take months to read the whole thing. I think the fact that this was a graphic memoir, it really drew me into the story much more than a typical text-heavy book would have done. I'd recomme ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly done - difficult to read at first due to cartoon handwritten format - but once you adjust, you read the author's personal journey of discovery. I would love to communicate with the author as I spent many years during the Cold War as an American child-teenager living there. At that time, the focus was on the communist threat, that was our reason for being there. My classmates and I loved living in Germany. The descriptions of German bread, UHU glue, mushrooms, and more really hit home w ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are books I love to read, subjects I love to read about, and books I love to recommend. This one checks 2/3. Nora Krug’s search for identity and place is a fascinating one and is told skillfully here with photos and documents and illustration and mixed media. It’s just understandable heavy. So heavy that I had to take multiple week-long breaks which is wholly uncharacteristic for me.

Nora’s father was born to be a replacement for a child that was lost to war, so much that he was given the
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“Our backyard in Karlsruhe, in the south of Germany, faced a US military air base, where planes regularly took off and landed. I heard them hissing and roaring above our house like dangerous animals that had - unbelievably - decided to spare our lives. I understood that something had once gone terribly wrong, and that they were watching us to assure we didn't do again whatever it was that we had done before.” 0 likes
“I don't remember when I first heard the word Konzentrationslager, but I became aware of it long before I learned about the Holocaust. I sensed that concentration camps were sinister places, and I imagined that the people who lived there were forced to concentrate to the point of physical anguish. But I was too afraid to ask, feeling that this was something embarrassing to talk about, something that grown-ups discussed in whispers, something evoking the same unsettling feeling as the man who sometimes gave candy and balloons to my brother and me when we were playing alone in the front yard.” 0 likes
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