Books

Review: To the End of the Land

By David Herman, August 26, 2010

By David Grossman
Jonathan Cape £18.99

The lavish praise already heaped upon David Grossman's huge, ambitious new novel - Paul Auster has called it "a book of overwhelming power and intensity" and compares Grossman to Flaubert and Tolstoy; Nicole Krauss has written: "Very rarely, a few times in a lifetime, you open a book and when you close it again nothing can ever be the same" - is vastly overstated.

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Review: Crossing Mandelbaum Gate

By David Goldberg, August 19, 2010

By Kai Bird
Simon & Schuster, £17.99

This is an engaging memoir, although its subtitle - Coming of Age between the Arabs and the Israelis 1956-1978 - is a misnomer. In fact, the author arrived in east Jerusalem with his parents as a four-year-old a few weeks before the Suez War of 1956. He was evacuated with his mother to Beirut at the outset of hostilities, did not return until the summer of 1957, and spent only a further few months crossing to school in west Jerusalem.

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Review: This Room In The Sunlight

By Michael Horovitz, August 19, 2010

By Bernard Kops
David Paul, £9.99

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Tony Samara: A Modern Shaman… And Beyond

By Joy Sable, August 12, 2010

By Nomi Sharron Anthony Rowe
£14.99

This is a book whose author claims it will change readers' lives forever. Whether or not you are willing to embrace the teachings of Tony Samara ("a Spiritual Master for our age") will depend on how open you are to change. Or how sceptical. Personally, I felt that I had stepped back into a 1960s rant against Western civilisation. Whether Tony's peace, love and throw-away-the-antibiotics way of living is really the way forward, is at least open to question.

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Review: Young Hitler

By Monica Porter, August 12, 2010

By Claus Hant
Quartet, £25

German scriptwriter Claus Hant's "non-fiction novel", is an unusual book. First comes a 300-page fictionalised chronicle of how an itinerant would-be artist and sociopath rose to head up the nascent Nazi Party in 1920 and set himself on course to becoming the Führer, via the crucible of the First World War. This is followed by 150 pages of notes detailing the evidence on which the novel is based.

So, in effect, it is two books, involving much flipping back and forth.

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Review: A Film By Spencer Ludwig

By Jonathan Beckman, August 12, 2010

By David Flusfeder
Fourth Estate, £11.99

Spencer Ludwig is a middle-aged, balding director of films that garner praise from the critics though little commercial interest. He lives in London, doting on his enthusiastic if demanding daughter and playing a great deal of internet poker. His father, Jimmy, lives in New York with Spencer's stepmother, where he watches boxing on TV and conducts a campaign of attritional brooding against his wife.

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Review: British Jews with a separate identity

By Ruth Rothenberg, August 4, 2010

Jewish Refugees from Germany and Austria in Britain 1933-1970
By Anthony Grenville
Vallentine Mitchell, £45 (pb £19.95)
reviewed by Ruth Rothenberg

Between 1933 and the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, over 60,000 Jews fled to Britain from Nazi Germany and, later, nazified Austria and Czechoslovakia. Some went on to the USA and other countries but nearly 50,000 stayed.

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Review: Bagels and Bremner

By Jessica Elgot, August 4, 2010

Promised Land: The reinvention of Leeds United
By Anthony Clavane
Yellow Jersey Press, £16.99
reviewed by Jessica Elgot

Bill Fotherby, A former Leeds United director, told Anthony Clavane, author of Promised Land, that “there would be no Leeds United without the Jews”. As Clavane later points out, Fotherby was also the man who claimed that Diego Maradona was bound for Elland Road, but this time there was truth in his words. Leeds had Jewish directors long before Tottenham Hotspur did.

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Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Michelene Wandor, July 28, 2010

By Rebecca Skloot
Macmillan, £18.99

'Hela" is the native name for Sri Lanka. It is also a seaside resort in Poland. HeLa, however, is a shorthand reference to the "world's first immortal cells" - taken from the virulent cancer which killed their unknowing, black donor, Henrietta Lacks, in 1951.

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Review: The Finkler Question

By Anthony Julius, July 28, 2010

By Howard Jacobson
Bloomsbury, £18.99

The Finkler Question is very funny, utterly original, and addresses a topic of contemporary fascination. That is to say, it is about the anguish of middle-aged men, it consists of a series of loosely arranged episodes rich in argument and incident, and it examines how Jews now interrogate their relations with Israel.

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