It is 1938 when the Kolbers, Jews living in Vienna, flee their country for Shanghai. Eva and her daughter take the Trans-Siberian Railroad through war zones where they must confront border guards and Japanese imprisonment. Meanwhile, her husband Josef and their sons begin their 27-day, 12,000-mile voyage by ship to Shanghai.
Similarly in China, the politically powerful Gan Chen family finds their lives upended by Japanese invaders. Forced to abandon their estate, the family seeks refuge in Shanghai. While the families adapt to their new lifestyles during the war, their children meet. Walter Kolber is a handsome violinist; Chao Chen is a gifted pianist.
A remarkable true story, Thrown Upon the World tells the tale of two families brought together during World War II in Shanghai and the twist of fate that split them apart.
Reviews of Thrown Upon the World
"This true family saga of war and betrayal is both epic and intimate, pulsing with unforgettable characters caught in the tumult of history. Impossible to put down, it is deeply moving, answering heartbreak with healing through the sheer power of storytelling. What more can be asked of a book?"
—Nicole Mones, Author of Night in Shanghai, Lost in Translation, and
The Last Chinese Chef
“Thrown Upon the World tells a bitter truth that vividly depicts the damage inflicted on those forced into exile. The harshest truth of all is that not all who survived were ennobled by their suffering. Some were destroyed by it, and some destroyed others because of it.”
—Michael Berenbaum, Professor of Jewish Studies at the American Jewish University, & author of The World Must Know and A Promise to Remember