Great Time at the Camden County Library!

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Interesting afternoon at North Carolina’s Camden County Library discussing A Smile in One Eye: A Tear in the Other!  Thank you to both the Camden Book Lovers and the Wine, Women and Books book clubs for organizing – and to the library staff for opening up the program to the public.  Hope we can meet again at your wonderful facility and do a program on One More Moon!

The Rise of Nazi Germany

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00039]“These were difficult times.  The old order was quickly changing.  The Nazis were constantly issuing new orders to diminish the role of German Jews in daily German life. It was a slow, grinding process.  Each day, there was something new we were forced to swallow.  Like many, Father still hoped and believed that our normal life would return.  Governments had failed in the past in Germany. This government could fail too. Even though we did not understand, we were still patriotic.  I know I repeat myself. Jewish ancestry may have been in his blood, but more than anything else, Father was a proud German.”

Excerpt from A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other

2017 or 1933? Does History Repeat?


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00039]

“I can’t recite the chronology or elaborate on the facts. I can’t explain the reasons or defend how we lived our lives. What I can tell you is how the events of 1933 sowed the seeds that fundamentally changed our future, that there was little hand-wringing or emotion, that circumstances were beyond control, that there was no recourse or appeal. I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal.”

Ralph Webster, A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other

A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other


“Life does find a way to create a balance somewhere between smiles and tears. And, like a pendulum’s swing, life seldom stays in one place. Life keeps on moving until, one day, it stops.”— Ralph Webster

2016 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee!

A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other

Ralph Webster

The Third Reich is rising. The creeping madness in the heart of Germany   will soon stain the entire world. This is the chilling account of one family as they flee for their lives.

A 2016 Goodreads Readers Choice Nominee – Best Memoir!

Read sample on BookDaily     or     Download on Amazon

4th Continent in 4 Weeks


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Not a world tour, but a Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other is being noticed worldwide. This week we caught the attention of readers in India.  Thank you Sreesha Divakaran and your book blog, Rain and a Book for spotlighting the book and including a summary and excerpt.  Four continents in four weeks – North America, Australia, Europe, and now Asia!


Where should refugees go?

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Kate Lyons in the Guardian reports that the six wealthiest countries in the world host less than 9% of the world’s refugees.  There is no question that this is a complicated issue for any number of reasons.  I’m not about to argue who is right and who is wrong….but the question remains, what should we do?  All nations must protect themselves and care for their own citizens.  All the world’s people deserve the right to freedom, security, opportunity, and dignity.  We must find a way to bridge the divide.  History keeps on repeating.

Now available on Kindle!

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Book Clubs are making this their selection!

So excited! I am pleased to announce that the Kindle version of “A Smile in One Eye: A Tear in the Other” has been released. Softcover and ebook versions are now available worldwide. Reviews are being posted on Amazon and Goodreads.   I am grateful to the critics – kind and gentle so far!  Here is the link for more information.

Thanks everyone!


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I am excited to announce that A Smile in One Eye: A Tear in the Other is now available.  Click HERE to take a look.

Under the brutal Nazi regime, the Wobser family – Jewish by blood, Lutheran by choice – struggle to survive.  This stirring tale of courage and endurance will profoundly move readers everywhere.


Why I Wrote A Smile in One Eye

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During the fall of 2015, my wife and I took an extended trip across mainland Europe. This was a pleasure trip.  We were hiking.  As we went from place to place, there was something significant happening around us that we couldn’t help but notice.  The refugee crisis was escalating.  Thousands of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan were streaming across Europe in search of safety and security.  We watched the international news broadcasts each evening as they displayed image after image and discussed the many sides of the burgeoning, and often complicated, controversial refugee situation.  Throughout our trip, we met people from all over the world, and the conversation would frequently continue.  There were many varied opinions, sometimes finger pointing, and even a few heated exchanges.  It was and is a complicated issue.

On a few occasions, at train stations and on trains, we encountered groups of refugees trying to make their way north.  Most were headed to Germany.  And, in various countries, there were times we watched the police board our train and remove refugees from our midst.  We never felt danger.  We saw no disturbance.  What we watched were people striving to communicate through the medium of different languages.  We saw the stress, the toll that leaving one’s homeland takes.  Every interaction we watched between police and refugees was civil and polite; we never viewed anything less, only a silent procession of people in search of a new life.  We saw mothers, fathers, children, and groups of young men.  There was no avoiding this.  It was in our face, in front of our eyes.

I am the son of a refugee family.  Watching this crisis unfold gave me reason to consider my family’s journey to the United States and to telling this story.  In doing so, I have learned much that I did not know about this issue and my family.  I sympathize with the simple truth that today’s refugees become tomorrow’s aliens and recognize that can be a complicated topic too.  Of late, there has been much political discourse about refugees: where they should go, who should take them, the danger they could bring to our way of life.  Many believe that refugees and aliens may be wolves hidden in sheep’s clothing.  As with anything, I suppose there is truth in everything.

Common sense dictates that nations must concern themselves with their own internal security.  Who would argue against that?  It is a critical issue in today’s unsettled world that we must all care about. But it also is not unreasonable to suppose that some might overreact and generalize in their response.  Like most complex issues, usually the best answer is not as simple as it may first appear.

My book makes no claim as to who is right and who is wrong.  That’s not the point.  As some would say, I have no dog in that hunt.  I would only offer that most refugees, are people like you and me, except for that one single difference.  They were forced to leave the land of their fathers and mothers, and for most, this was through no fault of their own.  Many had created successful lives and have raised incredible families.  Now they hope to live with freedom, dignity, security, and opportunity.  They have made sacrifices.  They have traveled far.  Most ask only for a hand up and not for a handout.  Most, given the chance, offer more than they would ever take.  I have compassion for these people.