SHEILA ISENBERG DISCUSSING HER BOOK, MURIEL'S WAR, APR. 3, 2011
Brief summary of the book:
Born into a wealthy meatpacking dynasty in Chicago and educated at Wellesley, raven-haired beauty Muriel Gardiner renounced her family’s materialistic lifestyle and as a young woman left the United States. First studying at Oxford, then attending the University of Vienna medical school, Muriel befriended Anna Freud and studied the fledgling science of psychoanalysis just as the dark clouds of Hitler’s war were moving across Europe. During this tumultuous time, she married twice, had a daughter and, in Vienna, fell in love with a leader of the Austrian underground.. When Germany finally annexed Austria in March of 1938, Muriel began to help Jews and anti-fascists escape, smuggling forged documents across borders and risking her own life. Eventually, she left Europe for New York—but using her wealth and vast network of connections, continued to rescue many still trapped behind enemy lines.
Here, for the first time this electrifying woman who impressed everyone she met with her intelligence and powerful personality, receives her due. An American heiress turned resistance hero, Muriel went on to become an eminent psychoanalyst, and was a founder of the International Rescue Committee. Drawing from Gardiner’s unpublished writings and interviews with those who knew her best, Sheila Isenberg offers Muriel’s astonishing story of moral courage and humanistic zeal. With all its twists and turns, this inspiring account reveals a heroic woman who lives on as a legend of her time.