In the basement of the Cleveland synagogue where his father, Arthur, was a celebrated rabbi, Joseph Lelyveld finds a musty trunk of souvenirs. Applying his award-winning investigative skills, as both a newspaperman and author, Lelyveld uses his father's letters and mementos to rediscover his shakily remembered childhood, and his parent's unhappy marriage. Lelyveld's journey through personal history unexpectedly touches landmarks of the past century--the Scottsboro trials, the Zionist movement, the Hollywood blacklist, and Mississippi's ""freedom summer"" of 1964--and, in the words of Joan Didion, ""this astonishing journal of personal discovery"" combines ""both a powerfully affecting family history and a political history of the most complex kind.""
""[Omaha Blues] arrives at redemption and forgiveness through the meticulous act of finding out, and recording, the truth.""--The New Yorker
""Reminiscent of Proust's account of his forgotten childhood world suddenly reappearing. . . . His book is more like life than memoir. . . . Remarkable.""--Russell Baker, The New York Review of Books
""Lelyveld has blessed us with a careful, sensitive and moving book . . . a triumph of storytelling.""--Philip Connors, Newsday