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And I Was There

Author: Martha Elliott

ISBN 978-1-62137-575-3 (softcover)
ISBN 978-1-62137-576-0 (eBook)

482 pages


A story based on the real life events of the author's grandfather, Stepan Bemko, a Ukrainian immigrant. Born in 1885, Stepan leaves his nurturing peasant family in a tiny village in Galicia, the heart of Ukrainian nationalism, at age twelve. Stepan's story is filled with his love for his Ukrainian heritage and his development from a peasant child to an independent, generous and loving human being. With nothing but the work of his own hands and his adventurous spirit, he finds his way to America and touches the lives of his family and all that know him. More than a story of one man's life, this immigrant story forces the reader to contemplate what makes a life truly meaningful, not only to one's self, but to the lives of others. The story is not unlike that of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who journeyed to America from Eastern Europe before World War I, yet it is a unique story of a kind human being. By understanding the struggles of the immigrants who helped to shape America, we come to appreciate the tremendous value of their individual contributions to lives that benefited from them.

Category: Fiction, Historical

Type: books

Vendor: Martha Elliott

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Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Teree Bergman
Immigrant Experience Beautifully Described

As our nation's discourse devolves into anti-immigrant ranting, this book reminds us that our country was built on immigrant contributions. In this story, Martha Elliott describes the immigrant experience, with all of its struggles, and she shows the immigrant contributions to American life and culture. The book is largely factual, and the accuracy of the history makes the book more engrossing. It is a good read, and I would recommend that anyone who is interested in the real story of immigrants, not just the fear-mongering accounts, read this book.

Marion Ritzel
A Grandfather's Journey

Elliott's tale of her grandfather's life is a feel good story. Leaving his humble roots to immigrate to America you will invest in Stepan's challenges and cheer his triumphs. Through hard work, sheer will and an indomitable spirit not only does he live the American dream, but sees those same characteristics take root in his children and grandchildren. Elliott's loving tribute to her grandfather is a true gift.

Don Weaver
A good read

Martha Elliott has written a very enjoyable historical novel, based on official records and her family’s memories of the life of her grandfather, Stepan Bemko. She includes slices of Ukrainian history and folklore, and cultural information from a country most Americans know little about. The book creates a picture of one immigrant’s journey across Europe, the entry process at Ellis Island, and the building of a new life in a new country, experiences shared by the forefathers of millions of Americans, who left difficult circumstances seeking a better life.

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