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LIVING IN INTERESTING TIMES: A MEMOIR by Gabriele Neuhäuser Scott

LIVING IN INTERESTING TIMES: A MEMOIR

by Gabriele Neuhäuser Scott

340 pages
A memoir of life in Europe, Turkey, and Australia.

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About the Book
A memoir beginning with a precocious child growing up in a prosperous, assimilated German-Jewish family in Berlin, and a Germany roiled by war, the Great Depression, and the growth of anti-Semitism and National Socialism. To obtain her PhD in Zoology from Berlin University, the author learned Turkish and collected mammals in remote areas of Turkey. This was during the dictatorship of Kemal Atatürk, where she witnessed the conflict of secularization and traditional culture. After being awarded her degree, a process that required courage from her examiners, as Jews were no longer welcome in German universities, she left Germany in 1937, orphaned, stateless, and with an Australian two-year visa to collect specimens for the Field Museum in Chicago. In Australia she encountered at first some professional jealousy, but by the good auspices of Heber Longman of the Queensland Museum she was given assistance and encouragement to collect in the far north of Queensland. This was an isolated area at the time, and here she met a variety of unusual and eccentric people. Further trips took her to the outback of Queensland. In 1938 she married her husband of fifty-three years, and had two children. At the end of the Second World War she was asked to undertake another collecting expedition. The family travelled in a caravan, she collecting bird and mammals, and her husband doing contracting work on outback cattle and sheep stations, but they discovered that this was no longer economically feasible.

In 1950 the family moved to Mount Isa, a mining town in northwest Queensland. For twenty years the family lived in this isolated semi-desert region, while the author raised her children, coaxed a garden from the unpromising soil, and did a minimum of housework, a task for which she never had much interest. When her husband was promoted to Clerk of Works for the mining company, and the two children were in boarding school on the coast, she applied for, and obtained, a two-year job as kitchen maid in a local pub, a job both easy and physically difficult, and one that again introduced her to a spectrum of notable people. Later she began a correspondence course in Library Science, and after obtaining her degree she became at first an assistant librarian, and later head librarian in the recently created Mount Isa public library. Eventually she was appointed Regional Librarian for northwest Queensland.

Gabriele Neuhäuser Scott lived a life of extraordinary contrasts. She tells her story with scientific detachment and an astonishing recall.

 

 

About the Author
Born in Berlin, Germany, the author observed the excesses of the 1920s, and the ascendancy of anti-Semitism and National Socialism. She learned Turkish and conducted PhD research in Turkey, leaving Europe for Australia in 1937. Thereafter she spent years in outback Queensland. Scientific detachment and astonishing recall hallmark her memoirs.

 

 

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