My Bittersweet Homecoming


Holding his infant granddaughter in his arms for the first time, author Jory Berkwits was struck with a mix of emotions—as he imagined a future for the tiny newborn, he couldn’t help but reflect on his own past.

So when he stumbled on a class photograph taken in 1956 at Muhlenberg Elementary School in Allentown, Pennsylvania, he decided to do something with it. He returned to his hometown for the first time in almost forty years.

He was startled to find just how much things had changed.

During subsequent trips to Allentown, Berkwits located former classmates and rekindled friendships, but most of all he wanted to understand why and how the mid-twentieth-century boomtown had succumbed to blight, and whether it would ever be able to recover.

The result is My Bittersweet Homecoming—a moving look at growing up and going home again, and the effect of deindustrialization on middle-class America.

Part nostalgic exploration and part anecdotal history, My Bittersweet Homecoming will speak to anyone who grapples with the passage of time.



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