Melting Point: Family, Memory and the Search for a Promised Land

Rachel Cockerell

'A truly radical book; radical in subject, radical in form. For the most tragic reasons, it could not feel more immediate; and yet it's a fluid, fast-paced, hugely enjoyable and engaging read.' - Andrew Marr

''Unforgettable... Non fiction will be different as a result.' - Jonathan Freedland

'This is an extraordinarily original way of writing memoir, history and truth. An enthralling book and a wonderful new writer.' - Laura Cumming

'So fascinating, so enjoyable, and beautifully told through diaries, memoirs, speeches and newspapers'. - Simon Sebag Montefiore

'a remarkable book' - Robert Macfarlane

On June 7th 1907, a ship packed with Russian Jews sets sail not to Jerusalem or New York, as many on board have dreamt, but to Texas. The man who persuades the passengers to go is David Jochelmann, Rachel Cockerell's great-grandfather. It marks the beginning of the Galveston Movement, a forgotten moment in history when 10,000 Jews fled to Texas in the lead-up to WWI.

The charismatic leader of the movement is Jochelmann's closest friend, Israel Zangwill, whose novels have made him famous across Europe and America. As Eastern Europe becomes infected by anti-Semitic violence, Zangwill embarks on a desperate search across the continents for a temporary homeland: from Australia to Canada, Angola to Antarctica. He reluctantly settles on Galveston, Texas. He fears the Jewish people will be absorbed into the great American melting pot, but there is no other hope.

In a highly inventive style, Cockerell uses exclusively source material to capture history as it unfolds, weaving together letters, diaries, memoirs, newspaper articles and interviews into a vivid account of those who were there. Melting Point follows Zangwill and the Jochelmann family through two world wars, to London, New York and Jerusalem - as their lives intertwine with some of the most memorable figures of the twentieth century, and each chooses whether to cling to their history or melt into their new surroundings. It is a story that asks what it means to belong, and what can be salvaged from the past.

  • Classification : HISTORY
  • Pub Date : FEB 29, 2024
  • Imprint : Wildfire
  • Page Extent : 416
  • Binding : HB
  • ISBN : 9781035408917
  • Price : INR 1,999

Rachel Cockerell

Rachel Cockerell was born and raised in London, the sixth of seven children. She did her BA at the Courtauld Institute and her MA at City University. Melting Point is her first non-fiction book. Her research has taken her to Texas, Ohio, New York, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

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