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Abe Roth is just eight years old in 1901, when he leaves his home in a Polish shtetl with his mother and siblings, to travel by ship to America. His father, Jake, has gone ahead to find a job and secure housing for his family, as he feels there is trouble brewing in Poland. At this time, opportunities in America abound, and it is rapidly ascending as a world power.

A Kopek in the Dust follows Abe as he maneuvers his way through life and achieves his American dream as an academic physicist. Even so, he struggles to find a spiritual identity that is compatible with both his commitment to reason and his loyalty to his Jewish heritage. In his search, he finds a sustaining spirituality rooted in the natural world and strengthened by a great and tender love and his links to a Unitarian congregation and its minister.

As Abe’s journey unfolds against the backdrop of the often tragic history of the first half of the twentieth century, he discovers some surprising connections to his roots in Europe. Multifaceted, this historical novel narrates an immigrant tale, provides a reflection on religion, gives a view of the physicist’s world, and tells a love story.

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