top of page

Books and Essays

Lemon: A Global History

Reaktion Books, London. 2012

Shared Sorrows: A Gypsy family remembers the Holocaust

University of Hertfordshire Press, UK, 2002

"Lemon: A Global History will make you pucker with pleasure"

                        -- ForeWord


"This book is a reminder of how something as simple as the lemon can have quite a complicated past."

          -- The Inquisitive Eater

"This book is tough, sad, truthful, and full of information that has been missing or insufficiently understood in Holocaust histories. This is an extraordinary untold story."

                                -- Grace Paley, author


"...a touching collection of Holocaust memories that builds a bridge between the Gypsy and Jewish experiences."

                           -- David Crowe

                        Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Fruit Fields in My Blood: Okie Migrants in the West

University of Idaho Press, 1992.

"The story of a life among migrant workers is as deeply moving a memoir as Grapes of Wrath is a novel. A necessary work."

                                                -- Studs Terkel


"An extremely important book full of information on a subject so often ignored. . . full of erudition, eloquence, and moral passion."

                                                 -- Robert Coles

Western States Book Award -- Citation for Merit

A sampling of published essays and articles:
Eric Sonneman immigration ID, St. Patrick's Day arrival in America

Tablet Magazine (online), March 14, 2014

" In the story of my father’s escape from Nazi Germany, the bright St. Patrick’s Day arrival was inextricably linked to the dark memory of Kristallnacht."

A Sinti Gypsy family in Germany before their flight from the Nazis

Tablet Magazine (online), July 31, 2014

"The Sinti Gypsies I met in Germany dispelled the stereotypes. Their families had been settled in Germany and Austria for hundreds of years. They lived in houses, worked as antique dealers or musicians, and sent their children to school. There was no legitimate reason to label them or their children as criminals."

Amish clothesline, Iowa

Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 3, 1998

"There will always be something lovely about the orderly procession of clothes precisely pinned, something earthy and essential about blue work clothes drying in the sun, something romantic about white sheets pinned to a clothesline and blowing in the breeze."

Toby Sonneman, Rick Steigmeyer, picking cherries

Christian Science Monitor, November 4, 1998

"Fruit picking brought me face to face with nature, with physical sensations of the outside world, sensations that seem to be disappearing in our increasingly "virtual" workplaces. Never before or since have I been so connected to my environment."

Toby Sonneman, Rick Steigmeyer, picking cherries

Christian Science Monitor, November 8, 2001

"My drawing style is... primitive at best. A photograph would provide a more factual and realistic record, and take much less time. But that's the point, for me: spending time and creating my own skewed personal impression of what I've seen. . .

 I use my sketchbook as a reason -- an excuse, perhaps -- to sit down and look more closely. It's like the person who uses fishing as an excuse to loiter by a river.

bottom of page