The Passport as Home

Comfort in Rootlessness
Passport as Home by Andrei S. Markovits book cover
$22.95 / €18.50 / £16.99
Publication date: 
August 2021, 330 pages

This is the story of an illustrious Romanian-born, Hungarian-speaking, Vienna-schooled, Columbia-educated and Harvard-formed middle-class Jewish professor of politics and other subjects. Markovits revels in a rootlessness that offers him comfort, succor, and the inspiration for his life’s work. As we follow his quest to find a home, we encounter his engagement with the important political, social and cultural developments of five decades on two continents. We also learn about his musical preferences, from classical to rock; his love of team sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball, and American football; and his devotion to dogs and their rescue. Above all, the book analyzes the travails of emigration the author experienced twice, moving from Romania to Vienna and then from Vienna to New York. 

Markovits’s Candide-like travels through the ups and downs of post-1945 Europe and America offer a panoramic view of key currents that shaped the second half of the 20th century. By shedding light on the cultural similarities and differences between both continents, the book shows why America fascinated Europeans like Markovits and offered them a home that Europe never did: academic excellence, intellectual openness, cultural diversity, and religious tolerance. America for Markovits was indeed the “beacon on the hill,” despite the ugliness of its racism, the prominence of its everyday bigotry, the severity of its growing economic inequality, and the presence of other aspects that mar this worthy experiment’s daily existence.

Foreword by Michael Ignatieff


Chapter One: Origins: The Virtues of Rootlessness

Chapter Two: A Paean to Tante Trude (Who Might or Might Not Have Been a Nazi)

Chapter Three: Four Friendships: Discovering America in Vienna

Chapter Four: Daphne Scheer and Internationale (Inter) Milano: The Personal Meets the Political

Chapter Five: The Rolling Stones Play Vienna (Resulting in Bodily Harm to the City’s Jews)

Chapter Six: Arrival in New York: The Dream Meets the Reality

Chapter Seven: Columbia 1968: How the World – and Andy – Changed in a Single Year

Chapter Eight: Kiki: Big Politics and Little Andy

Chapter Nine: The Grateful Dead: My American Family

Chapter Ten: Harvard’s Center for European Studies: The Interloper Finds a Home

Chapter Eleven: Dogs: The Rescuer Rescues Himself

Chapter Twelve: Germany: Admiration for the Bundesrepublik; Discomfort with Deutschland