More than sixty- ve years after the bombing of Dresden and over twenty years after the reuni cation of Germany, Angela Thompson paints a vivid and passionate picture of her mother, Elfriede Richter (1920-1999), in Blackout: A Woman's Struggle for Survival in Twentieth Century Germany. This memoir, written from the point of view of two women-a mother and her daughter-narrates a story of this dark chapter in history. Thompson captures the essence of the time as she tells the story of her family's ght for survival after Hitler's rise to power, followed by World War II, the catastrophic bombing of Dresden, the emergence of two German states, and the family's eventual escape to West Germany before the building of the Berlin Wall. Blackout tells how a family is torn apart rst by two diametrically opposed political systems and later by great distance, as Thompson moves to the United States. In her search for understanding and universal truths, she presents a hauntingly personal insight into the heroic struggles of a woman who t only ghts for survival but strives for dignity in her married life and the new West German society as it slowly emerges after World War II.