"Passage" is an incredible true story of Grace Balogh and her courage during a turbulent time in American history. Through her journals, "Passage" recounts the struggles of the Great Depression; America fighting two wars: one with unconditional public support and the other with public indifference; the letters from servicemen that are poignant and timeless; and the emergence of a Cold War that pits two ideologies against each other. Threats to the American way of life prompt the FBI to recruit Grace Balogh as an undercover agent whose job is to infiltrate a cell planning violent overthrow of the United States government. Grace leads this secret life largely unknown to her family and friends. "Passage" takes the reader on a journey into events of the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's that read like the headlines of today.
I wasn't extremely impressed by this little book, but it was an enjoyable read that was interesting for its primary source material. The author's mother, Grace Balogh, certainly had an interesting life, starting with her adoption and later abuse at the hands of her step-mother, covering the Great Depression and Second World War, and culminating with her secret involvement with the FBI in the Cold War. What made the book of particular worth is that it's almost entirely comprised of the correspondence and journals, interspersed with some pertinent newspaper clippings, of Grace herself. These bring to life the hardships and fears of the periods of American history that Grace lived through, giving the average American's view of such things. The only thing that I wish was different about the book is that I think more notes and explanations from the author would have been helpful in connecting some of the documents together and explaining events and relationships to others that Grace, writing for herself and for her children, wouldn't have thought to explain but that readers unfamiliar with her family and friends wouldn't know about. I found Passage to be unequal to some of the raving reviews I've read of it, but it's still an enjoyable, informative short little read.
I received Passage through LibraryThing's Member Giveaways program. Published by AuthorHouse, the book went on sale March 1, 2011.