I hope my memoir Becoming American will entertain you with a good story, but also that it will teach you something important. You may have read some of the dozens of essays which I previously published in major newspapers. This book is much more personal. It follows my experience of being transformed from a child of Holocaust survivors in post-war Europe to an American lawyer, academic, and activist involved in many of the most prominent political campaigns and causes of our time. You will find various parts poignant, funny, educational, surprising, and maybe even shocking, but not dull.
The story begins with my search for a hidden cemetery outside Prague where I hope to find the graves of my paternal great grandparents. That search leads me to recall experiences of becoming American: Army Counterintelligence agents gathered at my family’s home in Austria; a tense encounter with Russian soldiers during the post-war occupation; seeing Jim Crow racism in the South during a childhood visit to the United States; becoming an American citizen in my teens; having my citizenship challenged by American border guards; fearing for my new country upon witnessing the Watts riots during a visit to California; serving as an officer in the US Navy; rising to leadership positions in organizations shaping important government policies; and advancing the American dream as a real estate lawyer helping develop entire new communities. One reviewer characterized this story as “the saga of an entire generation.”
My book also is intended to address one of the great public controversies of our time. With issues of immigration policy and American identity so prominent in national political discussion, I hope this book provides an inspiring tale of how an immigrant can contribute to and become part of America’s social, political, and economic culture, while still retaining ties to one’s ancestral roots.
So, with that in mind, I wish you happy reading, and hope that you come away from my book entertained and also inspired.
About the Author
Cary Lowe is the author of the award-winning book Becoming American: A Political Memoir. He has published over fifty essays on political and civic issues in major newspapers, as well as professional reports and articles in professional journals.
Mr. Lowe is a retired California land use lawyer with 45 years of experience representing public agencies, developers, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations. He holds a law degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He taught courses in law and urban planning at USC, UCLA, and UC San Diego, and he writes and lectures on land use and environmental issues. In addition to his legal experience, Mr. Lowe is a credentialed mediator affiliated with the Land Use & Environmental Mediation Group of the National Conflict Resolution Center.
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About the Book
Becoming American is the inspiring story of the author’s transformation from a child of Holocaust survivors in post-war Europe to an American lawyer, academic, and activist associated with such famed political leaders as Robert Kennedy, George McGovern, Jerry Brown, and Tom Hayden.
Searching for his great-grandparents’ graves in a hidden cemetery outside Prague makes him recall his experiences of becoming American: listening to Army Counterintelligence agents gathered at his family home in Austria; a tense encounter with Russian soldiers during the post-war occupation; seeing Jim Crow racism in the South during his first visit to the United States; becoming an American citizen in his teens; having his citizenship challenged by border guards; fearing for his new country upon witnessing the Watts riots in Los Angeles; advancing the American dream as a real estate lawyer, helping develop entire new communities; and rising to leadership positions in organizations shaping government policies around some of the most important issues of our time.
Becoming American won the 2020 Discovery Award for best political writing from an independent publisher. It features a foreword by bestselling author Edith Eger.
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