Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Publisher's Summary. Passage" is an incredible true story of Grace Balogh and her courage during a turbulent time in American history.

Through her journals, "Passage" recounts the struggles of the Great Depression; America fighting two wars: one with unconditional public support and the other with public indifference; the letters from servicemen that are poignant and timeless; and the emergence of a Cold War that pits two ideologies against each other.

Threats to the American way of life prompt the FBI to recruit Grace Balogh as an undercover agent whose job is to infiltrate a cell planning violent overthrow of the United States government. Grace leads this secret life largely unknown to her family and friends.

"Passage" takes the reader on a journey into events of the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's that read like the headlines of today.

Review. Under the category of “truth is stranger than fiction” is the incredible life story of Grace Balogh as detailed by her daughter Sandy Powers in Passage. To the world (and her children) Grace Balogh appeared to be just another Middle America housewife and mother. However, shortly after her death, Powers uncovers her mother’s astonishing past which included a stint as volunteer spy for the U.S government; eyewitness to a murder; child abuse survivor, and an adoptee with a stolen inheritance!

Grace’s story spans from 1915 through the mid-1950s and is conveyed through her journals, letters, and newspaper clippings. An American saga is how I would describe Grace’s life because much of it reads as if written from the headlines of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s: a young Depression era mother struggling to feed her growing family; a World War II supporter and correspondent to several GIs; and a U.S. communist party spy for the government in the McCarthy Era. In fact, Grace does make the news as this headline attests: “Housewife Tells of Aid to FBI by Joining Reds.”

Passage is a book that I literally could not put down! Page after remarkable page kept me riveted to the final entry. And when it finished I wanted more which is always the mark of a great read! I especially would have liked additional information about the identity/ back story behind Grace’s biological parents. Still I loved Passage’s authenticity which included not only verbatim letters, journal entries, and newspaper articles, but also copies of official documents including a real ration booklet. Details like these made Passage feel like I was rummaging through Grace’s personal archives!

Thanks to Power’s Grace Balogh’s fascinating story is able to be shared with not only her children, but readers everywhere!

Review copy provided courtesy of the author.


  1. This is why I love book blogs. I would have never considered this book previously, but now after your enthustiastic review, I've added it to my wish list.

  2. Hmm, this sounds like a very good book! Great review!

  3. Thank you for the great review. I searched and other geneology records but could find no information on Orpha Farley, the name listed as my mother's mother at the orphanage. I'm hoping someone somewhere will hear of my mother's story and have information.
    Sandy Powers