Louise Steinman

THE SOUVENIR: A Daughter Discovers Her Father’s War (Algonquin and North Atlantic Books)

THE CROOKED MIRROR: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation (Beacon Press)

The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father's WarLouise Steinman’s writing frequently deals with memory, history and reconciliation. Her book THE SOUVENIR chronicles her quest to return to its rightful owner a Japanese flag her father sent home from the Pacific War. In the process, her journey illuminates how war changed one generation and shaped another. The book won the 2002 Gold Medal in Autobiography/Memoir from ForeWord Magazine and has been the selection of several all-city and all-freshman reading programs. In her new book THE CROOKED MIRROR, she sets out to examine the burgeoning Polish-Jewish reconciliation movement through the lens of her own family’s history, joining the ranks of Jews of Polish descent who are confronting both Poland’s heroism and occupation-afflicted atrocities, and who are seeking to reconnect with their families’ Polish roots.

Louise’s articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, New York Times Syndicate, L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Salon.com, Washington Post, and other publications. Her features include profiles of Zen rabbis, elevator operators, artists, memoirists, combat veterans, translators, filmmakers, and an innovator in deaf education.  “Ordinary bodhisattvas,” she calls them. The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation

For the past two decades, Louise has curated the award winning ALOUD lecture/reading series at the historic Central Library in the heart of L.A. She is also co-director of the Los Angeles Institute of the Humanities at USC. From 2000-2005, she was Senior Creative Advisor for the Sundance Institute Arts Writing Program.

For THE CROOKED MIRROR, she has received support from the California Arts Council, the Yablon Family Foundation, and most recently, the Polish Ministry of Culture. She has been a resident artist at Mesa Refuge, Ucross Foundation, Centrum Foundation, and Blue Mountain Center.  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, sculptor Lloyd Hamrol, and two persnickety cats. Visit her at louisesteinman.com.


The Crooked Mirror is both provocative and ultimately redemptive, a book that will appeal to a wide audience of readers who care about history, genealogy, and the possibility of peace between estranged peoples.” –Jonathan Kirsch, author of The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan


“Partly a detective story, partly a meditation on the legacy of war…this is a bold, unusual, and moving book.” —Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost

“A graceful, understated memoir… that draws its strength from the complexities it explores” —New York Times Book Review

“…an intimate and powerful story of the effects of war.” —James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers

The Souvenir is a powerful testament that, regardless of time and place, the effect of war on the human spirit remains the same. Steinman’s remarkable discovery shows how war separates our common humanity. It is a journey to repair that broken bond, a journey to know the humanity of those we have made enemies.”
Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Author Photo Steinman "Louise Steiman's [The Crooked Mirror] is heroic in all the old senses of the word: a journey of a literal sort; a journey into the terrible past; and a journey into her own soul.  Unblinking, scrupulous and enduring."  --Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight