Thursday, October 28, 2010

Books and Ideas

Yehuda Mirsky reviews two rather different books. First, Michael Brenner's  Prophets of the Past: Interpreters of Jewish History. If you're perturbed by Shlomo Sand's book about the invention of the Jews, this book may set you at ease. According to the review, Brenner read all the same historians Sand did, only with greater seriousness, and came away with different insights. If, on the other hand, you're not losing any sleep over Sand's silliness, and you're not concerned which the ways different generations of historians see things, then you may find the review will suffice and you don't need to read the book. I leave that to you.

The second review is of Gal Beckerman's new (first?) book, When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry. For Jews of a certain age, much of this will be like wandering down memory lane; if you're younger than that, however, it may well be receding history with vague outlines. I'll bet none of my children know much about all this, in spite of their many friends who moved to Israel because of it. Come to think of it, the friends may not know much about the matter, either. So without having read it myself, this is a story I recommend.

Then there's the idea I promised in the caption, above. It's by Eamonn McDonagh, and it's about the idea that nations have been where they are since time immemorial. Further I won't say: go, all, and pump up his viewer's stats.

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