Books

Review: Chagall: Life, Art, Exile

By Matt Shinn, November 20, 2008

By Jackie Wullschlager
Allen Lane, £30

Brightly coloured lovers flying over Russian rooftops; synagogues and rabbis; violinists; the odd donkey or two: few artists have a more easily recognisable style than Marc Chagall.

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Fry and Schama astride the American saddle

By Clive Sinclair, November 20, 2008

The American Future: A History
By Simon Schama
The Bodley Head, £20

Stephen Fry in America
By Stephen Fry
HarperCollins, £20

Pressing deadlines demand fast food, which is why Stephen Fry's book is only half-baked. Even so it contains a lot of plums. The guest of a nonagenarian Georgia matriarch named (I kid you not) Mrs Nancy Schmoe, Fry is required to mount a Tennessee Walking Horse, which promptly belies its appellation by bolting.

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Review: The Case Against Israel’s Enemies

By Geoffrey Paul, November 13, 2008

Reading Dershowitz (pictured below), it is easy to summon to mind the hero-knights of legend defending the drawbridge against an attacking mob of sword-waving and axe wielding assailants. Clashing his steel against theirs, he lunges here with a flash of forensics, there with a slash of semantics until, one by one, he reduces all about him to a bloodied pile.

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Review: Apology For The Woman Writing

By David Herman, November 13, 2008

Jenny Diski became a writer in her late 30s. Suddenly, words poured out: 16 books, fiction and non-fiction, in just over 20 years. She is as wide-ranging as she is prolific. Novels about Abraham and Sarah, a Jewish girl living in medieval Poland, and an anthropologist in Borneo. What is common to these otherwise very different books is their darkness: characters locked in an abusive relationship, eccentrics, madwomen and alcoholics.

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Iran: an under cover view

By Daniella Peled, November 6, 2008

In The Secret War With Iran, (Oneworld, £16.99) Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman has managed to pull off that much-vaunted trick, beloved of blurb-writers, of making a serious, investigative book read like a thriller.

This provides a fascinating insight into the clandestine battle which has raged between Iran, the US, Israel and other actors in the 30 years since the Islamic Revolution, with spies, secret deals, assassinations, terror plots and political intrigue.

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Review: Wartime Courage

By Jeremy Isaacs, November 6, 2008

By Gordon Brown
Bloomsbury, £16.99

Vividly, as a boy in Kirkcaldy after the Second World War, he recalls standing in the cold at Remembrance Day ceremonies, and the sense a community shared of respect and gratitude for those who gave their lives for our freedoms.

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A peek into the soul of Arsenal

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

On the cover of Alex Fynn's latest anatomy of Arsenal Football Club, Arsènal: The Making of a Modern Superclub, with Kevin Whitcher (Vision Sports £16.99), the club's manager Arsène Wenger (who gives the title its e-grave accent) is quoted, saying: "Alex Fynn is a football guru, and I'm always interested in what he has to say."

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Review: All Our Worldly Goods

By Anne Garvey, October 30, 2008

By Irène Némirovsky
Chatto & Windus, £12.99

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Anglo-Jewry’s leadership, savaged and savoured

By Stephen Games, October 30, 2008

Controversy And Crisis: A History Of The Jews In Modern Britain
By Geoffrey Alderman
Academic Studies Press, £37

Studies and profiles in Anglo-Jewish History from Picciotto to Bermant
By Israel Finestein
Vallentine Mitchell, £40

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Squalor, liquor and love: my life with the satire elite

By Gerald Jacobs, October 23, 2008

The Savoy Grill, London, 1963 - a 21-year-old former debutante sits nervously opposite an imposing businessman. It is a significant occasion, her first meeting with the man about to become her father-in-law.

"Tell me, my dear," he asks, "did you have much trouble at school, being Jewish?"

The man is Jock Luard. The young woman is Elisabeth Longmore, daughter of Wing Commander Richard Longmore, who was killed in action when his daughter was a child.

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