Letters, Spring 2015
Stubborn Soul, Animal or Vegetable?, Life and Literature, David and Goliath
A Journey Through French Anti-Semitism
There is a problem with the inevitable reflexive warnings after every vicious attack not to slip into Islamophobia. A short personal history of how France got here.
Drawing Conclusions: Joann Sfar and the Jews of France
The great French comic artist is now working at the height of his considerable powers, and he is obsessed with questions of Jewish identity and life in Europe.
Lincoln and the Jews
Lincoln encountered a surprising number of Jews in his life. Throughout, he seems to have treated them with the benevolence and absence of prejudice one would expect from the Great Emancipator.
Coming with a Lampoon
Jacobson is a world master of the art of disturbing comedy and each new work of his advances the genre—his latest one by a giant step.
The Jewish peddler, the “slave of the basket or the pack; then the lackey of the horse,” did not have an easy time of it.
The Abrams Case and Justice Holmes’ Philo-Semitism
In 1919 Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind and in so doing transformed the law of free speech.
Lands of the Free
It is sad to watch the territorialists engage in their wild goose chases all over the globe at a time when multitudes of Jews were in need of a place, any place, to go.
Love in the Shadow of Death
This is a sad story, one that begins with Sarah Wildman’s discovery among the papers of her grandfather, a physician in Massachusetts, of a file of letters dating back to 1939–1942.
Assaf Gavron’s The Hilltop is a refreshing reminder that traditional realism is still an effective vehicle of insight into contemporary society and politics.
A Spy’s Life
Sylvia Rafael: The Life and Death of a Mossad Spy opens not with an intrepid secret agent about to pull off a bold maneuver, as books with such titles usually do, but with nine men gathered around a table in 1977, studying a picture of an Israeli agent.
Climate of Opinion
Academic scholars, of all people, should recognize that excoriation is not an acceptable substitute for argument, but, in fact, it pervades much of the discourse that today passes as “criticism of Israel.”
An Affair as We Don’t Know It
Harris retells the “Dreyfus Affair” from Lieutenant-Colonel Marie-Georges Picquart’s point of view, dramatically reconstructing how he zeroed in on the true culprit.
Bellow’s not so innocent knock in The Adventures of Augie March is generally taken as the moment when Jews barged into American literature without apology.
The Fifth Question
Whatever kind of Passover Seder one attends, there is a fifth question, usually whispered, that arises some time after the first four are asked . . .
Going Under with Klinghoffer
When it came to New York’s Metropolitan Opera this past fall The Death of Klinghoffer faced angry—and, it must be admitted, some pretty shrill—demonstrators.
Abraham Socher, Allan Arkush, Amy Newman Smith
The JRB editors celebrate our fifth anniversary with our top-five book lists.
Issue No. 53
Issue No. 52
Issue No. 51
Issue No. 50