Books

Review: Power and Pragmatism

By Martin Bright, August 26, 2016

By Malcolm Rifkind
Biteback Publishing, £20

On any objective measure, Sir Malcolm Rifkind has led a fascinating life at the highest level of politics. He served as a minister from the moment Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 until the Labour landslide of 1997.

More..

Review: Les Parisiennes

By Madeleine Kingsley, August 26, 2016

By Anne Sebba
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20

Anne Sebba's tour de force of research and reflection, Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s is a testament of silk and sacrifice; of choices to resist or collaborate with the Nazis; of dalliance, defiance, and survival that turned on a concierge's random kindness or a stick of gelignite strapped to th

More..

The violinist, the Nazis and the Ouija

By Jessica Duchen, August 25, 2016

My novel, Ghost Variations, is a fictionalised account of how the Violin Concerto by Robert Schumann came to light in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, 80 years after the composer's death.

The true story, though, is stranger than fiction. And finding the right format for that story, and a means to disseminate it, was suitably strange, too.

More..

A Jewish-Asian love affair

By Jessica Weinstein, August 25, 2016

Amy Chua, the notorious "Tiger Mom", described it as the "triple package". This is the idea that minority groups such as Jews and Asians experience disproportionate success because of shared values, which spring from the immigrant experience - namely insecurity and outsiderdom, "good impulse control", and what she refers to as a "superiority complex".

More..

Review: Zionism Without Zion

By Bryan Cheyette, August 18, 2016

By Gur Alroey
Wayne State Univ Press, £22.50

Gur Alroey is a historian based at Haifa University who has written two outstanding books on Jewish migration to Palestine in the early 20th century.

More..

Review: Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan

By Sipora Levy, August 18, 2016

By Ruth Gilligan
Atlantic, £12.99

Ruth Gilligan has turned on its head the old adage that a novelist should write about what he or she knows. Instead, she has confidently written about what she wanted to know - namely, the history and experience of Jews living in Ireland.

More..

Descended from evil

By Angela Kiverstein, August 18, 2016

As we meet Max, he is clinging to his mother's womb, trying not to be born until past midnight. Then it will be April 20 and he will share his birthday with the man he calls father - the Führer.

More..

Review: The Storyteller

By Stoddard Martin, August 12, 2016

By Walter Benjamin (Trans: various)
Verso, £12.99

This is a collection of incidental works by the multi-faceted thinker Walter Benjamin. Many were not published in his lifetime, which was short: 47 years, ending in suicide in Spain while trying to flee to America from Nazi-dominated Europe. Some are mere fragments, from as early as Benjamin's teenage years in his native Berlin.

More..

Maimonides Between Philosophy and Halachah: Lectures on the Guide of the Perplexed

By David Conway, August 12, 2016

Lawrence Kaplan (Ed)
Ktav Publishing, £24.50

Moses Maimonides, or Rambam, as he is often called, wrote his Guide of the Perplexed to assuage the unease felt by many of his coreligionists at the apparent inconsistencies between science and philosophy on the one hand and the Torah on the other.

More..

On the bookshelf

August 12, 2016

Suffering and suffragette
Later this month, Hutchinson are releasing Helen Rappaport’s Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917, in which she conveys a view of the Russian Revolution through the eyes of foreign witnesses, including Emmeline Pankhurst from Britain.

Spirit of invention

More..