Books

Interview: Samantha Ellis

By Simon Round, January 20, 2014

Samantha Ellis can pinpoint the exact moment when the idea for her literary memoir How To Be a Heroine came into her head.

She was on a visit to Brontë country with her friend, Emma. Ellis's favourite Brontë character had always been Cathy Earnshaw in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights: "I was genuinely surprised and shocked that Emma was championing [Charlotte Brontë's] Jane Eyre.

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Kicking out falsehoods

By Robert Low, January 20, 2014

There can rarely have been more of an innocent abroad than Lance-Corporal Ron Jones at the start of the Second World War. Born near Newport, he was working in a Cardiff steel forgings factory when he was called up by the South Wales Borderers as a result, he claims, of a clerical error, a fact that still nettles him at the age of 96.

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Beauty in the all-seeing eye of the talented beholder

By Juliet Steyn, January 20, 2014

Erwin Blumenfeld
Ute Eskildsen (Ed)
Yale University Press, £30

No Place Like Home
Judah Passow,
Bloomsbury, £25

Diversity of art practices responsive to the events and pressures of the world around him is the stuff of the current Jeu de Paume exhibition of photography, drawings and montage by Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969).

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Idealist and realist: rich blend of Zionism’s instigator

By Oliver Kamm, December 12, 2013

HERZL: THEODOR HERZL AND THE FOUNDATION OF THE JEWISH STATE
By Shlomo Avineri
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20
REVIEWED BY OLIVER KAMM

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The more interesting face of publishing

By Gerald Jacobs, August 16, 2013

Today’s book trade has two distinct faces. Behind the smooth, younger-looking one sit Penguin Random House and Amazon-type conglomerates with their armies of marketing men and women. The other, more lined face is made up of independent publishers, small bookshops and individual enthusiasts.

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Review: Building: Isaiah Berlin, Letters 1960-1975

By Josh Glancy, August 11, 2013

Isaiah Berlin believed that some human values would always clash, so it is perhaps no surprise that his legacy continues to divide opinion today. To adapt an old Jewish joke, get three people to talk about Isaiah Berlin, and get five different points of view.

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A pretty much religious key to success

By Gerald Jacobs, August 7, 2013

Both the two novels by Jewish authors on the Man Booker longlist announced last week depict the claustrophobic anxieties of a young heroine locked within a powerful family hinterland. In Charlotte Mendelson’s Almost English, sparked by memories of her Hungarian grandparents, the family is, as she puts it, “the really embarrassing foreign kind”.

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The Flamethrowers

By David Herman, July 14, 2013

Rachel Kushner is an American living in LA. Her first novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Award in 2008. Now comes her second, acclaimed by Vanity Fair for its “blazing prose”. Both writer and novel are being hyped to the skies. Do they deserve it?

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Hill start for essayists

By Gerald Jacobs, July 7, 2013

Many are the clanger-dropping rejections that have been handed out over the centuries to writers, from Jane Austen to JK Rowling. And not just writers. When the Beatles failed an audition at Decca, they received the legendary consolation: “Sorry guys, but groups with guitars are on the way out.”

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Banker, Traitor, Scapegoat, Spy?

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 5, 2013

Next year we shall commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. When Britain declared war on Germany scenes of jubilation were seen throughout the UK. But as the war dragged on, and as British casualty lists climbed to obscene levels, violent anti-German hysteria, cynically exploited by politicians, gripped the nation.

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