Despite its title, "Good Dogs Do Stray," a book I recently received from a good friend and former schoolmate, Emmerich Koller, is not about dogs. Although man's best friend does enter into the story every now and then, this is a memoir of the author's childhood in Hungary after WWII, coming of age in post-war Europe, and ultimate migration, with his family, to America.
It is a marvelous book, full of anecdotes of old Europe, a good bit of history, and a healthy dose of the opportunities the "new world" had to offer to a poverty-stricken family from Hungary. Their success in America, as individuals and as a family, shows that the determination and hard work necessary to survive in war-torn Europe served them well once the doors of opportunity were opened in their new home. Read the full review »
Emmerich Koller's book, Good Dogs Do Stray, is a heartrending story about a young Hungarian boy who leaves Hungary with his family right after the Revolution in 1956. Koller tells his tale with an in-depth look at the hardships of moving a family – of escaping from an oppressive government – to the United States. He is a terrific writer – capturing the intensity of the times, both externally and internally. I could not put it down – I felt the Iron Curtain and its evilness – and I loved the story of coming to America and how they assimilated in the 1960s. Good Dogs Do Stray is a memoir worth reading.
The Book Stall at Chestnut Court
For those who know Emmerich Koller as friend, colleague, teacher, or neighbor you are indeed fortunate. For those who will make Emmerich's acquaintance by reading his memoir, Good Dogs Do Stray, you are beginning an enriching relationship. Emmerich is a man who informs his life with faith, who embodies hope, and who practices care-for-others. As an author, his story of "coming to America," allows each of us to unravel and embrace our own life stories. Our stories shape who we become. His memoir comes at a most opportune moment as the topic of what it means to be an American and/or an immigrant is being discussed with great intensity; as is, what does it mean to be a person informed by faith.
Often the good dogs that do stray are called: pioneers, trail blazers, visionaries.
Penelope Rieck, Teacher of Jungian Studies
Women's Exchange, Winnetka, IL
A Celebration of Life . . . Emmerich Koller, in his recent memoir Good Dogs Do Stray: Memoir of an Immigrant from Hungary, celebrates human life in all its aspects. Life is a journey as Dante says in his Divine Comedy. Emmerich's life relives this journey: from war-torn communist Hungary to America, with all struggles, dreams fulfilled and unfulfilled; from a youngster in Hungary to seminarian in Austria and America, to teacher, father, grandfather, and above all, a lover of life.
Reading this very personal journey is like reading St. Augustine's Confessions: "Domine, creasti cor nostrum ad te et irrequietum est donec requiescat in te." — "Lord, you created our heart for You and it is restless until it rests in You."
Once we begin to read this autobiography, we feel the urgency to read it all at once. We need to reach the end of Emmerich's wonderful journey: the triumph of the human spirit over inequities, and we all say: Life is really beautiful
Raffaele Di Zenzo, Ph. D.
A wonderful, memorable work! This is one of the few books I want to re-read. A young man made a quantum leap in life in remarkably few years. A testament to diligence, courage, and faith. Good things do happen to good people. It made a lasting impression on me.
Thomas W. Rieck
An unforgettable book – From the moment I started reading this book it was very hard to put down, this is the best book I have read in a long time. The book is very well written and leaves you wanting to read more. The book places you with Emmerich and makes you feel and see what he goes through as he grows into a young man. The book made me realize and think of all the hardships that immigrants go through to get to this great country. It was those immigrants who made this country what it is today. Emmerich Koller and his family belong to those who shaped this country and who made it great!!! Thank you for this wonderful book!!!
Mr. Koller's remarkable book puts a new spin on the immigrant-makes-good story. This well written memoir offers a fascinating look into village life in occupied Hungary and beckons you to follow the author on his unforgettable, often heart-breaking journey to adulthood and a new life in the U.S . . . from poverty and repression to a distinguished teaching career . . . with surprising detours along the way. Readers of this poignant and uplifting memoir will be inspired by Emmerich Koller's incredible life and transformation. Thank goodness Good Dogs Do Stray! I loved this book!