Books: Growing Up In Hell

A fine, flinty memoir from Intel's Andy Grove

Anyone who sentimentalizes childhood is, of course, an idiot. Childhood is an ordeal and a journey--dangerous, magical, sometimes humiliating and, since you are at the mercy of adults, fairly weird. Little Andris Grof's childhood was somewhat more so.

In wartime Hungary, Andris--age eight and passing as a gentile under the Slavic name Andris Malesevics--learned never to urinate in front of other children, lest his circumcised penis give him away. Sensible policy. In Budapest's City Park one day in 1943, a little girl turned to him and said, "Jesus Christ was killed by the Jews, and because of that, all the Jews...

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