Books

Review: An Armenian Sketchbook

By Oliver Kamm, October 2, 2014

By Vasily Grossman
MacLeHose Press, £8.99

Vasily Grossman, the Soviet Jewish writer, has steadily acquired a deserved reputation among English-speaking readers. He was born in 1905 and showed great promise as a writer of fiction. During the Second World War, he turned his talent for prose to journalism, and filed despatches of historic significance for the Soviet newspaper Red Star.

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Interview: Amy Bloom

By Charlotte Oliver, September 23, 2014

Who does the letter belong to? Does it carry the same meaning for both the writer and the recipient? And what if it never reaches its final destination?

For American author, Amy Bloom, the unsent letter is just as revealing as the one that arrives on your doorstep. "You think of the letter as existing between the writer and the reader, but of course it exists as soon as it is written.

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Review: A Replacement Life

By David Herman, September 23, 2014

By Boris Fishman
One, £12.99

One of the most exciting developments in American literature in recent years has been the emergence of a new generation of Jewish writers from the former Soviet Union.

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Review: The Children Act

By David Herman, September 18, 2014

By Ian McEwan
Jonathan Cape, £16.99

Much of Ian McEwan's best writing has been about children. From his astonishing early stories in the 1970s to The Child in Time and, above all, Atonement, he has seen childhood through a glass darkly. Whether it is what adults do to children or what children do to adults, it rarely ends well.

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Review: Cursed Victory

By Colin Shindler, September 18, 2014

By Ahron Bregman
Allen Lane, £25

Ahron Bregman's new book is an intelligent, critical account of contemporary Israeli history after the 1967 Six-Day War. The conquered territories, occupied and then colonised, became an ideological albatross that has hung around Israel's neck ever since.

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Review: Rebbe

By David Lehmann, September 11, 2014

By Joseph Telushkin
Harper Wave, £20

Under the leadership of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Chabad (Lubavitch) grew from a small circle of Chasidim (no numbers are given in this book) into an omnipresent and unified force in world Judaism.

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Small is beautiful in Berks and Cornwall

By Malcolm Weisman, September 11, 2014

Royal Jews

By Jonathan Romain
Grenfell Publishing, £15.99

The Jews of Cornwall

By Keith Pearce
Halsgrove, £29.99

Two new books on aspects of Anglo-Jewish history cover a period from pre-Norman conquest to the present day. Both make a valuable contribution to our knowledge of Anglo-Jewry outside its traditional main centres of activity.

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Review: The Betrayers

By David Herman, September 4, 2014

By David Bezmozgis
Viking, £12.99

The man chided: "No Yiddish and no chess? What kind of Jew are you?" The answer is, a troubled one. Baruch Kotler, the central character in The Betrayers is on the run. He has been blackmailed, betrayed and has turned betrayer. He is in a mess.

David Bezmozgis is hard to categorise. Born in Riga, in Latvia, he grew up in Canada.

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Review: Jabotinsky: A Life

By Colin Shindler, September 4, 2014

By Hillel Halkin
Yale University Press, £18.99

This is a revelatory exploration of Vladimir Jabotinsky, "father of the Israeli right". He has been projected as a colossus by Menachem Begin and succeeding generations of Likud leaders. The Zionist left, aided and abetted by David Ben-Gurion, depicted him as a neo-fascist.

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Village that defied the Nazis

By Simon Round, August 28, 2014

In the catalogue of genocide and barbarism that was the Holocaust there were heartwarming instances of people and communities risking their lives to rescue Jews. One thinks of the rescue of Danish Jews, the work of Oskar Schindler and many other cases of individual bravery.

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