The glamorous girl with the grenades

By Vanessa Curtis, November 23, 2012

Christine Granville was the first woman to work as a special agent for the British during the Second World War and the country’s longest-serving such operative. Some of the stories of Granville’s bravery and quick thinking have become the stuff of legend.


Skipping a Lesson

By David Herman, November 23, 2012

Friedrich Torberg worked as a journalist in Prague and Vienna and fled in 1938 after the Anschluss. Like so many Jewish émigré writers, he travelled around western Europe until he managed to get to New York, invited by the Pen Club as one of “Ten Outstanding German Writers”. He returned to Austria in 1951, and died in Vienna in 1979.


Nostalgic and Aramaic

By Moris Farhi, November 16, 2012

For the displaced — despite the Torah’s commandments, we seldom love the stranger — “paradise” has a distinctive meaning. It portrays their old country and everything they left behind.


Professional football's net profits and amen corners

By Geoffrey Goodman, November 16, 2012

Why are Jews so addicted to football? Apart from boxing, where Jewish lads have often excelled in both Britain and America, participation in professional sport has not been a Jewish speciality. It’s very different when it comes to supporting or even managing clubs and, in more recent times, organising the financial take-over, or survival, of top British soccer clubs.


Lies, lies and love

By Ruth Rothenberg, November 16, 2012

After some heavy scene-setting, The Audacious Mendacity of Lily Green by Shelley Weiner (Caffeine Nights, £8.99), gets better as it goes on. Late-developer daughter, 34, a disappointment to her widowed mother, decides to end her dead-end, suburban life.


Polished black Polish

By Jenni Frazer, November 9, 2012

After Scandinavian noir and Finnish noir, we now have Polish noir. Or, should I say, Polish-Jewish noir.
For Zygmunt Miloszewski’s terrific A Grain of Truth (Bitter Lemon Press, £8.99) examines the fraught relations between Poles and Jews, 70 years after the country’s Jews were destroyed by the Holocaust.


Communal courtier of controversy

By Daniel Hochhauser, November 9, 2012

There is an interesting recent literature of reappraisal of Zionism and Israel by such writers as Bernard Avishai, Peter Beinart and Gershon Gorenberg, who are basically sympathetic to Israel and Zionism but examine the crisis exemplified by Israel’s settlement policies and failure to make peace with the Palestinians.


Beyond the Comfort Zone

By Francesca Segal, November 9, 2012

Not many novels that begin with a series of brutal murders can be described as redemptive, but A M Homes — author of 'This Book Will Save Your Life' — has never taken the predictable line.


Star who raised the bar

By Jonathan Goldberg, November 2, 2012

This biography of an extraordinary woman — sub-titled: The Story of England’s First Woman Queen’s Counsel and Judge — is written by her daughter Hilary, herself now a distinguished commercial Silk.


Something of the right about them

By Daniel Trilling, November 2, 2012

It is rare to recommend a book that makes one’s flesh creep but this is what I find myself doing in the case of Daniel Trilling’s forensic account of the political slugs who have crawled from under their stones in — as his sub-title puts it — The Rise of Britain’s Far Right.