Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, historian, and novelist who, during the course of his long and varied career, has interviewed Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush; Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, George Shultz, and Lawrence Eagleburger; Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Shamir; and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Golden was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in the suburbs of South Orange and Maplewood, New Jersey, where he graduated from Columbia High School. He attended Ohio University for two years then transferred to SUNY Albany, graduating with a BA in Philosophy. He lives in Guilderland, New York, with his wife, a communication professor at University at Albany, and their son.
Golden’s new novel, Wherever There Is Light follows the intertwined lives of two families from the late 1930s until the mid-1960s—the Roses, who are Jewish and have fled Nazi Germany, and the Wakefields, a wealthy African American family that has founded a historically black college on the site of the former plantation where the maternal grandfather had been born a slave.
During the 1930s, African-American colleges rescued hundreds of Jewish professors from Hitler, and it is during a dinner at the college where the two main characters of the novel meet: Julian Rose, a former bootlegger, and Kendall Wakefield, who goes on to become a world renowned photographer. The novel follows their love story across nearly thirty years—from South Florida to suburban New Jersey to Greenwich Village and Paris.
The goal of the history is to explore the psychological conflicts behind the question of race. While Julian and Kendall are in love in Miami and later Greenwich Village, where Kendall begins as an artist, race is an uncomfortable presence in their lives and their relationship appears to suffer because of it. However, later on in postwar Paris, after Kendall has become famous (among her books is one on the liberation of the concentration camps), the same problems exist for Kendall even though Paris is not as racially constrained as America.
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