Thomas Keneally: How I found Schindler

By Brenda Maddox, October 17, 2008

A handbag? Thomas Keneally's account of stumbling on the story of Schindler's list in an American handbag shop irresistibly evokes the tones of Lady Bracknell .

But that is how it happened. In 1980, Keneally was in Beverly Hills waiting for his return flight to Sydney. Wandering into "The Handbag Studio", he met the Jewish proprietor, who sold him a calfskin black briefcase and introduced himself as Leopold Page.


Imaginary strolls with Herzl

By Martin Gilbert, October 10, 2008

Many books have been written about the history of Zionism and the creation of Israel. Bernard Zissman's Herzl's Journey: Conversations with a Zionist Legend (Devora, £14.95) is one of the most readable. Taking as his method a series of imaginary meetings and conversations with Theodor Herzl, the champion of political Zionism, Zissman reveals many facets of the long Zionist struggle and brings us into the present day with considerable skill.


Street battles recalled from 90 years ago

By John Nathan, October 10, 2008

They do say that long-term memory is stronger than short-term memory. But you can't help wondering whether it is possible for a man of 97 to have total recall about his early childhood, as in Harry Bernstein's first memoir, or even his adolescence, remembered in his second.


Review: The Believers

By Madeleine Kingsley, October 10, 2008

By Zoe Heller
Fig Tree, £16.99


Review: Man in the Dark

By David Herman, October 3, 2008

By Paul Auster
Faber and Faber, £14.99

Paul Auster's thin new novel starts off as a story within a story. This is not news for Auster fans (or critics). The author of The Brooklyn Follies enjoys these games.


Review: Pius XII: The Hound Of Hitler

By Stephen Games, October 3, 2008

By Gerard Noel
Continuum, £20

The title of Gerard Noel's new book about Catholicism's most controversial Pope seems to announce its conclusion before it has begun: that Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli, who occupied the papal throne from 1939-58) failed to denounce Hitler or lead the Church in any opposition to Nazism. Yet it is also an attempt to redeem him.


Finding the faith in India

By Francesca Segal, September 26, 2008


Review: Excavating Kafka

By Nicholas Murray, September 25, 2008

By James Hawes
Quercus, £14.99

Milan Kundera, impatient at the excesses of Kafka critics, once lambasted what he called "Kafkology". Without the former's elegance of style but with plenty of chutzpah, novelist and former academic Germanist James Hawes has produced an indictment of what he calls "the K.myth".

Hawes says we need to read Kafka the real writer, not the creature of "myth", and get as close as we can to "the clean, beautiful originals" in brand new translations of the original German.


Hitler: there is still more to be learned

By Ben Barkow, September 25, 2008

Hitler, The Germans And The Final Solution
By Ian Kershaw
Yale University Press, £19.99

Hitler's empire: Nazi rule in occupied Europe
By Mark Mazower
Allen Lane

These are two works by acknowledged masters of their craft. Ian Kershaw is an historian of modern Germany and the (perhaps definitive) biographer of Hitler; Mark Mazower has written about the German occupation of Greece, the history of the Balkans and Europe in the 20th century.


Review: A Time To Speak Out: Independent Jewish voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity

By Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, September 19, 2008

Edited by Anne Karpf, Brian Klug, Jacqueline Rose, Barbara Rosenbaum
Verso, £9.99

In February 2007, more than 100 "Independent Jewish Voices" issued in The Times and the JC a manifesto critical of Israeli policies. Verso, an imprint of New Left Books, has now published a collection of 27 essays, mostly by signatories to that manifesto. They are varied in content, highly personal, fascinating and controversial.