Exodus Unwanted


 This novel provides insight into the motives of an aristocratic family from northern Germany who immigrated, albeit reluctantly, to America in the period before the Civil War. Napoleon was a frequent topic at the Academy where Baron Friedrich von Damsgaard’s young son, Rudolph, studied. It was perplexing to Rudolph that some instructors clearly admired Napoleon while others despised him. For Rudolph’s family, Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo was cause for celebration. Rudolph’s brothers were allowed to return from their refuge in England once the war was over. Rudolph and his brother, Heinrich, traveled to Heidelberg where Heinrich studied and tutored Rudolph. Captivated by the University, Rudolph later returned to study forestry. Rudolph’s interest in the preservation of the forest was handed down from his father who had been Chief of Forestry in the court of Prince Franz. It was a proud day for the whole family when the prince appointed Rudolph to his father’s old position. At his investiture as a nobleman, Rudolph met Melanie, a daughter of a noble family. Their romance led to a happy marriage and two children. Rudolph adored his wife and was devastated when she died during childbirth. His mother consoled him, helped him with the children, and introduced him to another young woman. Rudolph needed a loving woman by his side and a mother for his children. Leonora soon became his wife. Difficult times were fast on the heels of Rudolph’s newfound happiness. Needing funds, Prince Franz announced plans to sell off forest land. Rudolph opposed the destruction of the forest. Despite advice to submit to the prince’s will, he resisted. Prince Franz dismissed him from court, ordering him to leave the country. Rudolph left his beloved homeland with reluctance. The family moved to a farm in Wisconsin. Rudolph, unable to accept this new country and their change in lifestyle, sank into alcoholism. Leonora and the children adapted easily to farm life, and his family flourished in the period following the Civil War.


Robert B. Kugel, MD.


2006, 5½x8½, paper, 148 pp.

ISBN: 9780788440762