In His Father's Footsteps

In His Father's Footsteps

by Danielle Steel


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this powerful novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Danielle Steel tells the story of two World War II concentration camp survivors, the life they build together, and the son who faces struggles of his own as a first generation American determined to be his own person and achieve success.

When U.S. troops occupy Germany, friends Jakob and Emmanuelle are saved from the terrible fate of so many in the camps. With the help of sponsors, they make their way to New York. In order not to be separated, they allow their friendship to blossom into love and marriage, and start a new life on the Lower East Side, working at grueling, poorly paid jobs.

Decades later, through talent, faith, fortune, and relentless hard work, Jakob has achieved success in the diamond business, invested in real estate in New York, and shown his son, Max, that America is truly the land of opportunity. Max is a rising star, a graduate of Harvard with friends among the wealthiest, most ambitious families in the world. And while his parents were thrown together by chance, Max chooses a perfect bride to start the perfect American family.

An opulent society wedding. A honeymoon in Tahiti. A palatial home in Greenwich. Max’s lavish lifestyle is unimaginable to his cautious old-world father and mother. Max wants to follow his father’s example and make his own fortune. But after the birth of children, and with a failing marriage, he can no longer deny that his wife is not the woman he thought she was. Angry and afraid, Max must do what he has never done before: struggle, persevere, and learn what it means to truly walk in his father’s footsteps, while pursuing his own ideals and setting an example for his children.

Moving from the ashes of postwar Europe to the Lower East Side of New York to wealth, success, and unlimited luxury, In His Father’s Footsteps is a stirring tale of three generations of strong, courageous, and loving people who pay their dues to achieve their goals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399179266
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 151,856
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 650 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include The Good Fight, The Cast, Accidental Heroes, Fall from Grace, Past Perfect, Fairytale, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved; and the children’s books Pretty Minnie in Paris and Pretty Minnie in Hollywood.


San Francisco, California

Date of Birth:

August 14, 1947

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


Educated in France. Also attended Parsons School of Design, 1963, and New York University, 1963-67

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

On April 6, 1945, the Nazis began evacuating Buchenwald concentration camp, on the Ettersberg Mountain, near Weimar, Germany. The camp had been in operation for eight years, since 1937, and two hundred and thirty-­eight thousand prisoners, men, women, and children, had passed through the camp by then. Fifty-­six thousand prisoners had died there: Czechs, Poles, French, Germans.

On the sixth of April, U.S. troops had been in the area for two days, and the Nazis wanted all the prisoners out of the camp before the Allied forces arrived. It was a labor camp, with a crematorium, a medical facility where horrific medical experiments were conducted, and horse barracks to house the prisoners. Stables which had once held up to eighty horses were lived in by twelve hundred men, five to a bunk. There were additional buildings for the men. And a single barracks for the women, which could accommodate up to a thousand female inmates.

On the sixth of April, most of the women prisoners were sent to Theresienstadt, once considered a model camp, used as a showplace for visitors and the Red Cross. The women who were mobile enough to go were moved by train or on foot. Those who weren’t remained in the barracks, ignored at the end. As many male prisoners as could be handled were evacuated too. They were to be moved deeper into Germany, or sent to other camps farther away. The evacuation continued for two days, as the prisoners wondered what would happen next.

On April 8, Gwidon Damazyn, a Polish engineer who had been at the camp for four years, used the hidden shortwave transmitter he had built, and sent a message in Morse code in German and English. “To the Allies. To the army of General Patton. This is the Buchenwald concentration camp. SOS. We request help. They want to evacuate us. The SS wants to destroy us.” Working with Damazyn, Konstantin Leo­nov sent the same Morse code message in Russian.

Three minutes later, they received a response. “Kz Bu. Hold out. Rushing to your aid. Staff of Third Army.”

As soon as the message was received, Russian inmates stormed the watchtowers with weapons they had hidden and killed the guards. The others in charge rapidly retreated and fled rather than face the advancing U.S. Army. There were twenty-­one thousand prisoners left in the camp after the evacuation, only a few hundred of them women.

Three days later, on April 11, 1945, troops from the U.S. Ninth Armored Infantry Battalion, from the Sixth Armored Division, part of the U.S. Third Army, entered Buchenwald. It was the first concentration camp to be liberated by American forces. Other camps had already been liberated by Russian forces advancing through Poland.

Later in the day, the U.S. Eighty-­Third Infantry Division arrived at the camp. None of the U.S. soldiers were prepared for what they found there, walking skeletons staring at them, some too weak to move or stand, others cheering and shouting as tears ran down their cheeks. Their liberators cried too. The prisoners attempted to lift them to their shoulders but were too weak. Several died as the Allies rolled into the camp, or minutes later. Starvation and the illnesses resulting from it, as well as the Nazis, had been their enemy for years.

The American soldiers entered the barracks and were horrified by what they found, the stench and the filth, the decaying bodies too weak to leave their beds, the people the retreating Germans had intended to kill, but hadn’t had time to.

As the soldiers entered the main barracks, a tall, ghoulishly skeletal man staggered toward them waving his arms. His head had been shaved, the filthy camp uniform he wore was torn, which showed his ribs. He looked like a corpse and it was impossible to determine his age. He was desperate as he approached them.

“The women . . . where are the women . . . are they all gone?” he asked.

“We don’t know yet. We haven’t found them. We just got here. Where are they?”

The man pointed in the direction of another barracks and started to stumble toward it.

“Hang on,” a young sergeant put out a hand to stop him, and then caught the man as he began to fall. “How long since you’ve had food or water?”

“Five days.”

The sergeant gave an order to two of his men standing near him and they hurried off to comply. The mayor of nearby Langenstein was to be commanded to supply food and water to the camp immediately. Another officer had already radioed for medical personnel. Every single member of the camp looked like the walking dead. “I’ll take you to the women’s barracks,” the newly liberated prisoner volunteered although he could barely stand up. Two soldiers helped him into a jeep. He was almost weightless as they lifted him. They tried not to react to the stench. His boots had the toes cut out and the soles were worn through. They were from the body of a dead man, killed by the Nazis. He directed them toward the women’s barracks, and when they got there, the women looked even worse than the men. Some women were being carried by others, and as many of them as could were coming out of the building to watch the American troops explore the camp. They had no idea what to expect now, but they knew it could be no worse than what they had lived through so far. Some had been transferred from other camps, all had been assigned to hard labor, and several had undergone unimaginable medical experiments. Many of them had died.

The prisoner directing the soldiers in the jeep introduced himself before they stopped at the women’s barracks.

“I’m Jakob Stein,” he said in fluent English, with a heavy German accent. “I’m Austrian. I’ve been here for five years.” They stopped at the women’s barracks then and one of the soldiers lifted him out of the jeep so he wouldn’t fall. He hobbled toward two of the women and spoke to them in German. “Emmanuelle?” he asked with a look of panic as the soldiers stared at the women in horror. They were ravaged and barely alive. “Is she gone?” Jakob asked with a grimace of terror on his gaunt face. The soldiers wondered if she was his wife but didn’t ask. They tried to smile at the women walking toward them so as not to frighten them.

“She’s inside,” one woman with blue-­gray lips said hoarsely, pulling the shreds of an old blanket around her. They were more filthy strings than anything that could keep her warm, and her eyes blazed with fever. She was shaking and stumbled into the arms of a soldier who lifted her into the jeep.

“We have medics coming,” the private told her, “doctors.” She looked terrified as he said it and shrank away from him. They had no way of knowing what she’d been through, but a festering open wound that ran down the length of her leg was part of it. By then, Jakob had hobbled into the women’s barracks, as the officer driving the jeep radioed for medical assistance for several hundred females and described where they were.

It was a long time before Jakob emerged carrying a woman who looked close to death. He stumbled several times but didn’t drop her. She was barely larger than a child and couldn’t have weighed more than fifty or sixty pounds. One of the soldiers took her from Jakob and set her down in the jeep. She tried to smile, but was too weak.

“I thought they sent you away,” Jakob said with tears in his eyes. He spoke to her in French.

“They didn’t see me in my bed. There are less than half of us left.” It was easy to see that she would have died on the march to Moravia or been crushed on the train.

“The Americans are here now,” he said in a comforting voice, and she nodded and closed her eyes. “Everything is going to be all right.” She opened her huge green eyes and looked at him and then at the soldiers and smiled. They could see the tattoo with her camp number on the inside of her naked forearm. Jakob had one on his arm too. They all did. They were numbers here, not people. No one in the camp had been considered human. They were to be eradicated. Jakob and Emmanuelle were both Jews. She was French and had been deported from Paris with her mother and younger sister. Her little sister had been killed when they arrived at the camp and her mother had died of illness a few months later. Other women had watched their families and children murdered. They were only kept alive if they were strong enough to work. Emmanuelle’s hands were filthy, her nails broken stubs with dirt under them. She had worked in the gardens, and had given Jakob pieces of potatoes and turnips from time to time when she met him. She could have been killed for it.

“I want to take these two women to get medical help,” the soldier next to Jakob said, “you too. We’ve got trucks coming for the others, they’ll be here in a few minutes. Our medics will take care of them. Will you tell them that? The Nazis are gone. No one is going to hurt them now.” Jakob translated what he’d said in French to Emmanuelle, then German, and Russian, which he appeared to speak fluently as well. The women nodded, and the jeep took off toward the main part of the complex with Jakob, Emmanuelle, and the other woman, who had slipped into unconsciousness by then. Jakob was holding Emmanuelle’s hand, and the soldiers noticed that they all had a dead look in their eyes. They had been through an unspeakable hell for as long as they’d been there. None of the Americans could fully understand what they were seeing, and the residents of the camp didn’t have the strength to explain, but they were walking proof of what the Nazis had done to them.

A medical tent had already been set up by then, and a soldier escorted Jakob and Emmanuelle inside. Another soldier carried the unconscious woman. As soon as Emmanuelle was being tended to by an army medic, Jakob hobbled back outside to help the soldiers with explanations about the locations of the camp offices and other barracks. There was a mountain of naked corpses the Nazis had wanted to have buried before they left, but hadn’t had time to see to it. The soldiers were devastated as they entered the dormitories, and medics followed them, carrying litters to bring out the sick and the dead. Jakob stayed with them for a long time, to be as helpful as he could, translating for them. And after that, he went back to the tent to find Emmanuelle. She was his friend, and the food she had stolen for him had sustained him. More than that was unthinkable here. Having a friend was rare enough, particularly a woman. She had been very brave to give him what she did. She had almost been caught once, when a guard suspected her of putting a potato in her pocket, but she had let it drop to the ground, and it was so small and rotten, the guard hadn’t bothered with it. He had hit her with a whip on the back of the neck and moved on. She had picked it up again before she left, when she’d finished work.

The medic tending to her asked her name, and Jakob supplied it. “Emmanuelle Berger. She’s twenty-­three years old, from Paris. She’s been here for almost two years.”

“Is she your sister?”

“No, I’m Austrian. We’re friends.” The young soldier nodded and made note. Eventually, they would have more than twenty-­one thousand histories to take, but the Red Cross would help them do that. Families and survivors would have to be reunited. This was only the beginning, and just in the short time they’d been there, prisoners had continued to die. For some, the Americans had come too late. For others, like Emmanuelle, just in time. The other woman from her barracks had died while they were examining her.

The following day, April 12, the Eightieth Infantry Division came to take control of the camp. Medical units had been arriving since the day before, responding to emergency calls from the Eighty-­Third Infantry. They’d never seen anything like it. It was a camp filled with living corpses who were barely clinging to life. How they had survived was beyond imagining. They were using all their translators to communicate with the freed prisoners, who spoke many languages, and after a cursory examination by the medics, Jakob had continued to help them where he could, since he spoke English, German, Russian, and French.

Reading Group Guide

1. In His Father’s Footsteps is the multi-generational story of an extraordinary family. Which character resonated with you most, and why?

2. After surviving the horrors of Buchenwald, Jakob and Emmanuelle are able to live a long, happy life together in America. What qualities make their relationship so strong?

3. Jakob and Izzie may not be blood-relatives, but they develop a special, powerful bond that spans decades. Is there someone in your own life with whom you share this connection? Explain.

4. During his summer vacation from Harvard, Max is finally able to visit Buchenwald and see where his parents met. Have you ever taken a trip that was similarly meaningful? What did you learn?

5. Compare and contrast Jakob’s and Max’s definitions of success and fatherhood.

6. Emmanuelle and Julie are obviously such different characters—do you think that is simply due to the disparity in their life experiences? Or do you think it is something more?

7. Max’s parents pass away within months of each other. How does Max’s character change following their deaths? Are these changes for the better?

8. What futures do you imagine for each of Max’s children? How can each of them honor Jakob and Emmanuelle’s legacy?

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In His Father's Footsteps: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it one night. Could not out it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much! I could not put it down. Read it in two days!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is very emotional. I laughed and I cried. I recommend it.
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
4 1/2 STARS! A powerfully compelling story of strength, love and gumption! We're magically thrust into a story of two people who face the worst and yet prosper with little more than the love they share and the clothes on their back simply because of their unique mindset of being grateful for every single thing they have in life. The two of them and the foundation they laid for their family simply made this story! The characters and early plot were complex and rich. The later story had a little less follow through but still gave a fulfilling conclusion. Overall I really enjoyed it! Through tortuous situations, heartache and loss, Jakob Stein and Emmanuelle Berger manage to hold on long enough to be rescued from their imprisonment in a German conservation camp. Knowing little about each other, but knowing a kindred spirit when they see one, they decide to trust in their friendship enough to wed before being sponsored to freedom in the United States and let their love brew and grow naturally. They find themselves living miserly in low paying jobs and hard conditions, but are thankful for how far they have come since losing their family, history and possessions to such horror. As the years pass, they lean on each other through it all and devote their lives to the son they were blessed with as they bask in their love. They try to teach him how important family is, and the proper work ethic to go through life with in order to never be placed in a position of having to pull yourself up from rock bottom. Their son Max grows into a well educated Harvard graduate who takes the knowledge and help his father shared with him to go on and prosper through real estate ventures to become an early success. He finds who he thinks is the love of his life and through an elaborate ceremony and opulent lifestyle sets out to grasp the world at his fingertips and go for a ride of riches and prosper. Years later he finds himself delighted with the birth of children, yet overworked and stressing more every day about becoming all that he can become while his marriage seems to get worse by the day with a woman that isn't at all what he was expecting. Finally finding himself faced with a dire situation, he must reevaluate his life and struggle like his parents before him to make sure his family is at the top of his mindset as he forges a new life from the ruins he's climbing out of.
Anonymous 8 months ago
A soul searching story about life! A Must Read
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
In His Father’s Footsteps by Danielle Steel takes us back to April 1945. Emmanuelle Berger and Jakob Stein are in Buchenwald when U.S. troops liberate the camp. Jakob had been in the concentration camp for five years and his entire family was exterminated. Emmanuelle was near death when the soldiers arrived. To avoid separation, the pair marry and relocate to America with the help from a sponsor. They work hard at labor intensive jobs and live in a small, dingy apartment on the Lower East Side. One day, Jakob meets Israel “Izzy” Horowitz, a diamond dealer, who offers him a job. Jakob learns the business quickly and is soon Izzy’s right hand man. As Jakob makes more money, he invests it into real estate. Jakob and Emmanuelle have a son, Max who they dote upon. Max attends the best schools with the determination that he will never struggle for money. Instead of following in his father’s footsteps after graduating from Harvard, Max wants to make his own way in the business world. He marries Julie Morgan at a lavish society wedding and installs her in a luxurious home with a large staff. Max is a successful business with a beautiful wife, extravagant home and children. However, he feels that he cannot have enough money and is constantly at work rarely seeing his wife and children. A tragedy makes Max see that he has a failing marriage and is setting a poor example for his children. While Max achieved the American dream, he neglected the basic lessons his father taught him. Can Max turn his life around? In His Father’s Footsteps is a well-written and engaging story. It is an emotional novel that takes us from horrific Buchenwald to the lavish Upper East Side. We follow our characters as they set out to achieve the American dream of becoming successful and having a family. Can you imagine living through the horrors of a concentration camp? It will indelibly leave its mark on a person as we see in this book. I could feel the characters emotions and struggles. The choices the characters made was based on their experiences. I thought the author captured the time period and the various settings. I admit that I enjoyed Emmanuelle and Jakob’s story better than Max’s. Max, though, was raised differently which caused him to make decisions that we may not like (or agree with) but were understandable. I appreciated the epilogue which nicely wraps up the book (we would expect no less from Danielle Steel). While there is some predictability to the story, it did not hinder my reading pleasure. I have been reading Danielle Steel’s books since I was twelve years old and I never get tired of reading her novels. I am giving In His Father’s Footsteps 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good I read it in 2 days. Great story line. Throughly enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Begining was great. Than at chapter 15 it went downhill too unrealistic and i hate when they say i love you after knowing them 2 days it kills the book for me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved reading about the holocost knowing something good happened to some of the people. A very touching story that started in an unbelivable time.
Debi_2014andBeyond More than 1 year ago
While I often enjoy reading new authors that I find on NetGalley, there's also a certain level of comfort when I'm able to select a book from an author such as Danielle Steel.  Heck, my mom and I have been reading and enjoying her books for probably about 30 years and we know we can count on reading a book that we can consistently read cover to cover and be confident that the plot will be good and the characters will have the same drama and love as our own families. Today's book is In His Father's Footsteps by Danielle Steel, and once again, we were provided with a classic Danielle Steel book. I'll admit that sometimes I find that Danielle Steel's books can be repetitive and that gets on my nerves a little bit, but In His Father's Footsteps didn't read that way at all.  I will also admit I usually don't like to read anything "historical", so I was a bit surprised when I dug right into this book. I thought it might be a difficult read for me given my genre preferences, but Ms. Steel had just the right mix of storyline to keep me engaged. The book opens with Jakob Stein and Emmanuelle Berger, former prisoners of war during the Holocaust, being freed.  They are ready to start a new life together in America. They have been through tough times together in the concentration camp, so they decide to trust that friendship with grow into love so they wed before being sponsored to freedom in the United States. The story follows them through their life as they adjust to a new country, new jobs, and new family.  As the years go by, Jakob and Emmanuelle depend on each other and grow into love as they devote their lives to their beloved son. They try very hard to teach him how important family is, as well as teaching him the importance of proper work ethic.  Throughout the decades, Jakob achieves success in the diamond business through his talent, faith, and hard work, and shows his son that America is truly the land of opportunity.  As their son, Max grows older, he has the determination that he was not going to struggle for money like his parents. When he graduates from Harvard, he throws himself into work.  Max wants to follow his father’s example by working hard, making money and finding the a life partner.  He falls for Julie and marries her, but after the birth of children, he realizes that his wife is not the woman he thought she was. As a result, Max finds himself struggling and moving forward with perseverance learning what it means to walk in his father’s footsteps while at the same time trying to set an example for his children. In His Father's Footsteps is a typical Danielle Steel story full of love, hardship, and loss. I really loved the characters in the story too. I'll admit the history of the story also drew me in and I couldn't even imagine having to endure the life Jakob and Emmanuelle did during their imprisonment in the camp, but how they endured and prevailed was so awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get comfortable and enjoy.. You will not want to put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this from the first page! Characters are well developed and plot is riveting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick read. Fun because I was in Germany while reading this your books Danielle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1945 When the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany was being liberated, a prisoner named Jakob Stein, age 25 from Vienna, helped the soldiers liberating them. Jakob speaks 4 languages. His friend, Emmanuelle Berger, age 23 from Paris, had given him bits of food during their time in the camp. Now, Jakob has lost all of his family and wealth. Emmanuelle’s mother had been a seamstress in Paris and she had learned sewing from her. They decide to marry so that they can both go to New York as refugees. Their sponsors are Rachel and Gary Rosen and they have jobs in Mr. Rosen’s factory which makes women’s dresses. They learn that their studio, jobs, and pay are very minimal and they must agree to work for the Rosens for a year. They agree, but when Emmanuelle becomes pregnant and so as soon as their year is up, Jakob gets a new job with a diamond merchant named Izzie. He is very kind and generous to Jakob and becomes Grandpa to their son, Max. When Izzie dies, he leaves everything to Jakob. Yet all the time they have been in New York, Emmanuelle is still afraid that it could all come crashing down like when the Germans invaded. As Max grows and becomes a successful businessman himself, Jakob and Emmanuelle are very proud of their son. But when he meets Julie, from a very wealthy family that is not Jewish, Emmanuelle is convinced she is not the woman for him. The story continues as the reader follows Max and Julie’s marriage and the trials they face. Can they make a go of their marriage or, as Emmanuelle predicted, is Julie not the woman for him? This is a good story told in the smooth, conversational style of author Danielle Steel. As often found, there is some repetition in her writing, but it’s easy to overlook because the basic story is well-written. I’m sure readers will enjoy this book. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The cost of this authors books are to expensive. Why again........,.