Books

Wonder boy - and author

By Francesca Segal, June 6, 2008

Howard McNamee, the Glaswegian protagonist of The Truth About These Strange Times by Adam Foulds (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99), is 28, overweight and a towel collector in a gym. Until his mother’s recent death, he lived with her and now returns home each night to talk to her, addressing the clothes hanging in her wardrobe.

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Review: Waltenberg

By David Herman, June 6, 2008

By Hedi Kaddour (Trans: David Coward)
Harvill Secker, £20

Part spy-thriller, part novel of ideas, Hedi Kaddour’s huge, ambitious novel takes on the history of the 20th century, from the First World War to 1991. It tells the epic story of the dream of Communism and its failure through the lives of a group of French and German intellectuals, some of whom turn out to be spies. Being a French novel, though, it is as interested in discussing Flaubert and Marx as it is in espionage.

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Qaradawi predicts a Muslim apocalypse

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

The unexpurgated views of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi about Israel, Jews, Zionism and Palestine have been revealed for the first time in an English translation of a book he wrote in Arabic four years ago.

In a compilation of 14 rulings on various aspects of the Middle East conflict called Fatawa on Palestine, or “Rulings on Palestine”, the Islamic scholar feted by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone predicts an apocalyptic final battle between all Jews and all Muslims that would presage the day of judgement.

Mr Qaradawi believes that:

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Bibi plans ‘comeback book’ on the economy

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 30, 2008

Likud Leader Binyamin Netanyahu is preparing to bring out an autobiographical book on his term as Israel’s Finance Minister as part of his plan to rehabilitate his image and sweep back to power in the next elections.

The new book, expected to come out towards the end of summer, deals with the reasons that Israel’s economy is booming, despite a lack of natural resources and devoting a significant portion of its GDP to security costs.

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Review: On The Other Hand

By Jeremy Isaacs, May 30, 2008

By Chaim Bermant
Vallentine Mitchell, £17.95

Chaim Bermant, who died 10 years ago, wrote a weekly column for the Jewish Chronicle for more than 30 years. One of the most admired journalists of his time, he was looked up to not only in Furnival Street but also in Fleet Street.

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Review: 1948: The First Arab-Israeli war

By Ahron Bregman, May 30, 2008

By Benny Morris
Yale University Press, £25

Writers and scholars (myself included) have tended to ignore, or dismiss, the jihadi character of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and to regard the Arab rhetoric that accompanied their assault on the Jewish community and state as empty words.

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Review: A Question Of Honour

By Vernon Bogdanor, May 23, 2008

By Lord Michael Levy
Simon & Schuster, £18.99

In July 2006, Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s chief fund-raiser and personal envoy to the Middle East, was enjoying a birthday lunch with his family when he was told by his solicitor to report to Colindale police station, in North London, where he was going to be arrested. A Question of Honour describes in graphic detail the purgatory he and his family endured for over a year before he was released without charge.

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Review: The Story Of Israel From Theodor Herzl To The Roadmap For Peace

By Colin Shindler, May 23, 2008

By Martin Gilbert
Carlton Books, £30

This celebratory book, covering events from the endeavours of Herzl to the erection of the separation barrier, is all of 64 pages long. Yet it is replete with maps, detachable posters, illustrations and pull-out facsimile documents. It tells the remarkable story of Israel’s 60 years — an achievement recognised in the Arab world and beyond.

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Review: A Very Great Profession

By Sophie Lewis, May 23, 2008

By Nicola Beauman
Persephone Books, £10

This book about “the woman’s novel 1914-39” is not a work of academic criticism, although it is braced by exemplary indexes and references. It is a work of deep interest verging on obsession — with the lives and self-expression of unfashionable women in an unfashionable period.

Beauman focuses on the novels of middle-class women (working-class women hadn’t the time to write, while the upper classes had still some vestige of the unconstrained lives others could only dream about).

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Finchley rabbi quits to start new chapters

May 23, 2008

Rabbi Roderick Young is quitting Finchley Reform Synagogue to focus on his writing. He is finishing a children’s book and is about to embark on the story of his family and how he discovered Judaism at the age of 23.

Rabbi Young became the congregation’s principal minister in November 2006. Since January, he has shared rabbinical duties with Rabbi Miriam Bayfield, an arrangement designed to give him more writing time.

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