This is a personal history of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of Edith Kurzweil, author, teacher, recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, and editor of Partisan Review—a journal whose founders "resolv[ed] to stay independent of all factional politics, while holding on to Marxism and publishing the best of modernism"—during its final period. The reader follows Kurzweil on her brave and perilous journey, at the age of fourteen, to Belgium, through France, Spain, and Portugal, alone with her younger brother. Instead of entering college life, she eventually became a conventional American housewife. After personal tragedy, she pursued her early intellectual ambitions and eventually became a professor of sociology, studying Italian entrepreneurs, European history and French thought, psychoanalysis and anti-Semitism. Kurzweil’s journey has been one of courage, and of emotional and intellectual growth.