new york review of books

The Crisis of Peter Beinart: On New York Magazine's New Profile

What Peter Beinart doesn’t lack is attention—what he lacks is friends.  That’s the conclusion you can draw from New York magazine’s lengthy profile of Beinart, the fiery liberal Jewish journalist who recently published his jeremiad warning of Israel’s imminent demise.  In “The Crisis of Zionism,” Beinart’s much bally-hooed new book, he argues that if the state continues to hold

Gertrude Stein: Why Her Fascist Politics Matter

Gertrude Stein’s collaboration with the fascist Vichy government was never a secret.  But, until now, many have simply ignored it; or, to use the critic Frederic Jameson’s phrase, given over to the “innocence of intellectuals.”  Stein’s avid support for Petain, the Nazi collaborator who headed the Vichy government, has often been written off as merely the tragic consequence of many a brilliant artists.  What mattered was her prose, not her politics.

Richard Taruskin and Classical Music: Good for the Jews

Perhaps the greatest irony of classical music is that, while Jews have excelled in the genre as both composers and musicians, they have left very little notable music with an identifiable Jewish strain.  Many have tried, to be sure—Leonard Bernstein and Steven Reich, to name two.  But both those greats will be forever famous for their non-Jewish work.

The Jewish Conspiracy That Actually DID Happen...

Umberto Eco's latest novel, "The Prague Cemetery," has received tons of attention.  But few reviewers have added anything interesting in their criticism, other than the usual banal stuff (not necessarily untrue) of it being "boring" or "over-stuffed" or intellectually ambitious, but less successfully executed.  If you want something interesting, check out Neal Ascherson's take in The New York Review of Books.  He actually has plenty

Saul Bellow's Jewish Problem: The Lost (And Recently Found) Lecture

The New York Review of Books published the second and last installment of Saul Bellow's lectures on being a Jewish writer--and, boy, is it a complicated. At root, he's gives his take on what it means to be a secular Jew in the modern world, particularly if your Jewish identity is central to you.

Notes from the Grave: Saul Bellow's Unpublished Jewish Lecture

“Saul Bellow: Letters” had plenty of un-read Jewish material in it when it appeared last year. But apparently it didn’t have the astounding lecture “A Jewish Writer in America,” published for the first time in the New York Review of Books this week.

The IDF Speaks: Violence and the West Bank

Wars are never pretty.  They're even uglier in the Middle East, where the lines between conflict and quiet are always in flux.  The images that greet us daily from the Muslim world are the most glaring; the endless rampage of hate-fueled violence makes you sick.  Forget about the millions who are cowed into silence; even more abhorrent is the constant stream of popular support violence receives.  Just look at The New York Times' front page story today on the many respe

Gone Fishin' (Plus: The Sinbad Awards!)

Dear Readers,

I'm on vacation this week, so this is the last post you'll read till I'm back on Monday, Jan. 3.  So an early happy new year!

Timothy Snyder on "Shoah": Lanzmann's Triumph, and Tragedy

Last summer the Yale historian Timothy Snyder drew much attention with his provocative essay detailing the ways Auschwitz is a poor symbol of the Holocaust: Jews died mainly by bullets, not by the gas chambers typified in Auschwitz. And while most Jews sent to Auschwitz were from Western Europe, the majority of those murdered came from the East.

Timothy Snyder on "Shoah": Lanzmann's Triumph, and Tragedy

Last summer the Yale historian Timothy Snyder drew much attention with his provocative essay detailing the ways Auschwitz is a poor symbol of the Holocaust: Jews died mainly by bullets, not by the gas chambers typified in Auschwtiz. And most Jews sent to Auschwitz were from Western Europe, yet most those murdered came from the East.

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