... a heartbreaking and timely read ... With a reporter’s eye for narrative and a historian’s attention to detail and context, Dobbs re-creates Jewish life in Kippenheim, a German village near the French border, on the eve of the Nazi onslaught. Then, thanks to a trove of carefully assembled archival material, photographs and oral histories, he follows these Jewish families through harrowing cycles of deportation and desperation as they attempt to flee to safety ... There are times when Dobbs’s precise recounting of the byzantine immigration process becomes tedious — but, of course, that was the point ... It’s not possible to read The Unwanted without hearing its echoes today.
Mr. Dobbs affectingly braids three separate narratives into one ... devastating ... Mr. Dobbs... chronicles in meticulous, suspenseful detail the desperate perseverance of one Kippenheim family after another to find an escape from Nazi Europe. These stories—recovered and reconstructed through letters, memoirs, family photographs, visa documents and oral histories—make up the book’s most wrenching sections.
... reads like a combination family history and national tragedy on two continents. It includes tales of heroism and sacrifice, ambition infected by evil, and politics tainted by corruption and ineptitude, and maybe worse, indifference. The British statesman Edmund Burke said it best: 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' In the end, The Unwanted is a call to action for good men and women everywhere. It is imperative that we heed the call.