In 1870, when he was twenty-one years old, Robert Reitzel emigrated to America. Unable to find a job in New York City, he and his companions tramped through New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland in search of work. He kept a journal during the first years of his wild and colorful experiences in America. The entries into the journal later formed the skeleton of his witty, whimsical novel
Adventures of a Greenhorn. This work represents a fascinating and at times disturbing historical and sociological portrait of America as experienced by a young German immigrant.
Although Reitzel is the best prose stylist of all the 19th-century German-American writers, his work has never appeared in English translation.