Books

Review: Cartoons and Extremism

By Ivy Garlitz, January 8, 2009

By Joel Kotek
Vallentine Mitchell

Joel Kotek cites Napoleon’s observation that “A good sketch is worth more than a long discussion” as an indication of the potency of the cartoon form and the danger that results when it promotes hatred. First published in French, this study investigates the portrayal of antisemitic themes in cartoons in the Arab and Muslim world, the echoing of these subjects and images in Western media, and observes how they contribute to the increase in antisemitism.

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Review: The Third Reich At War

By David Cesarani, January 8, 2009

By Richard Evans
Allen Lane, £30

In most Second World War histories that appeared in Britain from the 1940s until the 1980s there was little about antisemitism or the persecution and mass murder of Europe’s Jews. Few biographies of Hitler made this central to his world view or a determining influence on his conduct of the war. British researchers tended to focus on social history. Some of the best were constrained by a Marxist or functionalist approach that demoted the significance of ideology, including Nazi racism.

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Review: Ticks And Crosses

By Madeleine Kingsley, December 30, 2008

By Frederic Raphael
Carcanet, £18.95

Frederic Raphael proves no less the pyrotechnic penseur in his private diaries than he is in his 20-odd novels and such cinéaste-favoured screenplays as Darling and Eyes Wide Shut.

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Jewish fighters in the forest

December 30, 2008

Fifteen years ago, Steven Spielberg’s Hollywood Holocaust blockbuster was so successful that not only was the book it was based on re-published, its original title Schindler’s Ark was changed to that of the film: Schindler’s List. Whatever the name, those who discovered Thomas Keneally’s Booker Prize-winning book only after seeing the film were rewarded with a great read.

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Murder most Freudian

By Jenni Frazer, December 30, 2008

I think of my books as Trojan horses,” says Frank Tallis. “They are detective novels, and they are meant to be entertainment — but I like to drop some nuggets in which ought to leave the reader feeling enriched.”

Indeed, so enriching are Tallis’s books that reading them is almost like taking a university refresher course — on turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna. The four titles he has so far produced, forming the crime series, The Liebermann Papers, relate the adventures of Max Liebermann, a young Jewish psychologist, and his pastry-loving detective friend.

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Review: Wishful Drinking

By Alan Montague, December 23, 2008

By Carrie Fisher
Simon & Schuster, £12.99

It was George Lucas who ruined Carrie Fisher’s life. At least, that’s what she says. He did it 31 years ago, when Fisher was only 19, by casting her in a film he was directing. The film was Star Wars and the part was Princess Leia.

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When the parents are kids

December 23, 2008

Sunday Times film critic Cosmo Landesman’s parents are at once distinctly Jewish and militantly unorthodox. The biblical commandment against sex with other folks’ spouses seems to have been disobeyed by both Fran and Jay Landesman almost as a matter of principle, with unsettling consequences for their children, of whom Cosmo is the older (writes Michael Horovitz).

In the parts of Starstruck (Macmillan, £14.99) relating to his family, Cosmo, its author, exacts a near-merciless revenge, as though impelled by the highest critical imperatives to dishonour his father and mother.

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Review: The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From Its Ashes

By Daniella Peled, December 23, 2008

By Avraham Burg
Palgrave Macmillan £15.99

Avraham Burg was once at the very heart of the Zionist project. He is a former Knesset Speaker and a former head of the Jewish Agency. His late father, Josef, was a cabinet minister and chairman of the National Religious Party.
So when the Hebrew version of this excoriating attack on modern Zionism and the Israeli establishment was published, it created outrage.

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Dose of wisdom for teenybopper dreamers

By Angela Kiverstein, December 18, 2008

My Sister’s A Pop Star
I’m So Not A Pop Star

By Kimberly Greene
Usborne, £5.99 each

Sparkly and pastel-covered, Kimberly Greene’s two books about pony-mad Samantha’s experiences as sister to teen pop-star Danni are enormously appealing to nine-to-12-year-olds. But these books have added value — and we’re not talking a tacky plastic bracelet on the cover.

Living in LA and teaching child actors in a film studio, Greene became uneasy at her pupils’ attitude — “I’m gonna be famous, I don’t need to put in the work.”

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Review: Necropolis

By Angela Kiverstein, December 18, 2008

By Anthony Horowitz
Walker Books, £12.99

Spookily-clad in its dark-green, skull-embossed cover, with green dye tinting the sides of the pages like an evil moss, Anthony
Horowitz’s Necropolis is exquisitely deathly. And the contents, of course, do not disappoint.

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