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Monday, June 9, 2014

A Life on the Left

Victor Grossman speaks at Riverwest Public House

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In 1952, an American soldier swam across the Danube River and defected to the Soviets, stating fear of prosecution by U.S. authorities for his left-leaning activities and politics. This young soldier, who was only 24 years old at the time, subsequently settled in East Germany, where he studied journalism at Karl Marx University (he also graduated from Harvard University). He changed his name to Victor Grossman and went on to make a successful living as a publicist and author, penning countless articles evaluating both the failures and successes of East Germany’s “socialist experiment.”

Based in Germany, Grossman is the author of nine selected works, including an autobiographical story of his escape across the Danube and subsequent life in exile entitled Crossing the River: A Memoir of the American Left, the Cold War, and Life in East Germany (2003). Victor Grossman will be the featured speaker at the Riverwest Public House Cooperative (815 E. Locust St.) at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 15.

Another summer weekend means another charity race somewhere in Milwaukee, and this week youth runners can support reading with the SHARP Literacy Kids Run to Read fun run at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 14. This unique one-mile kids’ run, which coincides with the fourth annual Summerfest Rock ’n Sole Run, is open to kids ages 6-12 and will be held at Henry Maier Festival Park. More information can be found at rocknsolerun.com.