To amplify Ecclesiastes, "Of making many books about Israel there is no end". Reading this latest addition to the plethora, from Leslie Stein, I had the vague feeling that perhaps I had reviewed a previous book of his.
As he lay dying, Saul Bellow asked a friend: "Was I a man or a jerk?" The case for the prosecution would argue he had five marriages, four ending in divorce, numerous affairs, and was too self-absorbed to be much of a father. "He had a biblical Old World morality," said one woman who encountered him, "but his fly was entirely unzipped at all times."
J onathan Sacks's splendid new book moves on three levels - a socio-political, explanatory level; a level of textual exegesis; and a philosophical-ethical level. In the first part, he mainly offers a theory about the roots of religious and other forms of social violence.
I must start by declaring an interest. It was Oliver Sacks's mother, Muriel Elsie Landau, who helped bring me into the world. One of the first female surgeons in England, her special expertise was in obstetrics and gynaecology while she also found time to be an active Zionist and to work for many Jewish causes. "Miss Landau" was a name I learned to revere as a child.
There is a growing genre of children's fiction about the Holocaust. In the past 10 years or so, we have had huge best-sellers like Markus Zusak's The Book Thief and John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Now we have Jim Shepard's The Book of Aron (Quercus, £18.99).
When Keren David set out to write This is Not a Love Story (Atom, £6.99), her intention was "to write a book about mainstream Anglo-Jewish teenagers because there weren't any in the books I read when I was growing up, and hadn't been any since. We talk a lot about diversity in children's books and this was a glaring absence."
At one time or another, we have all surely harboured that Antiques Roadshow fantasy: the old painting gathering dust in the loft turns out to be a lost masterpiece worth millions. For Annie McDee, heroine of Hannah Rothschild's The Improbability of Love (Bloomsbury, £14.99), the chance acquisition of a centuries-old revered work of art is a mixed blessing.
Confronting this huge volume, written by the German historian Peter Longerich, I found it hard to believe that this much new information could have been uncovered about Goebbels. It seems like scholarship to be weighed by the kilo rather than by the insight. And indeed I doubt that reading every page of it will change your understanding of the Nazi regime or the Holocaust.