The Blot Against America
By David Patrikarakos for Tablet Magazine
British political journalist and spy-thriller writer Jonathan Freedland imagined a president in need of removal from office before Trump was elected
Jonathan Freedland is one of Britain’s foremost political journalists, and arguably its most prominent Jewish one. Writing under the pseudonym Sam Bourne, he continues in the British tradition (Chesterton, le Carré) of using genre fiction, especially the conventions of the mystery or spy thriller, with their murders and betrayals and deceit, to meditate on the nature of society, humanity and morality. The result here is To Kill the President, which deftly uses the thriller genre to critique a volatile, likely unhinged, president who remains unnamed throughout. It’s a trope that works to good effect in what is an exceptionally good novel. Naming this man—who comes complete with a “personal bankruptcy lawyer,” is given to fervid tweeting in the middle of the night, is busy rolling out a “registry of Muslim citizens,” and has, by the first few pages of the book, groped a White House cleaner and kissed the Dutch ambassador inappropriately—would be an act of redundancy.
Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity Gideon Reuveni
Review by Edward Shapiro for Jewish Book Council
In the last several decades, social history has displaced the more traditional fields of military, economic, diplomatic, and political history as history’s most exciting area of study. Social historians have used innovative technologies and asked new questions regarding birth and death rates, marriage, immigration, religion, education, gender, race relations, urbanization, migration, acculturation and assimilation, mass culture, and, as in the case of Gideon Reuveni’s new book, consumption patterns. Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in Modern Jewish Thought and Experience, and is an example of this new social history at its best.
Books that Shed Light on the Holocaust
Corine Gatti for BeliefNet
The Nazis killed two-thirds of Jews living in Europe. Those who escaped and survived remind us through the written word that we should never forget the sins and bloodstains of the past.
Over 70 years ago the Holocaust claimed the lives of 11 million people after Hitler took power in 1933. Of these victims were children, the disabled, the elderly, and gays. There were also gypsies, pastors, ending interracial marriages and the sterilization of black children. The reasons behind these despicable actions were to create a master race.
Jewish Books to Look Forward to in 2018
From Jewish Book Council
It's time to compile our reading lists for the year ahead. There are so many amazing Jewish-interest books coming out in 2018...We have a lot of reading to do! Here's just a small selection of forthcoming releases that we're particularly excited about.
Author Talk: Rose Tremain
By Joanne Sydney Lessner for Hadassah Magazine
The Gustav Sonata, winner of Hadassah Magazine’s Harold U. Ribalow Award as well as a National Jewish Book Award, is the first of Rose Tremain’s 14 novels to address a Jewish theme. Tremain, 74, who lives in Norfolk, England, often writes about social groups slightly out of the prevailing mainstream. Her Orange Prize-winner The Road Home concerns an Eastern European immigrant trying to make a life in England. The Gustav Sonata, set in Switzerland before, during and after World War II, traces the lifelong friendship between exuberant, ambitious (and Jewish) Anton and reserved, empathetic Gustav (who is not). While exploring the evolution of their relationship and the family circumstances that shape them, Tremain turns her delicately penetrating prose to themes of unspoken love, loyalty, music and the sacrifices made in pursuit of neutrality.
What was your inspiration for The Gustav Sonata?
Make My Sinai Your Sinai