A HOST AT LAST by Abram L. Sachar


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One can overlook a certain proprietary air in Abram Sachar's history of the small Waltham veterinarian college that became Brandeis University. Brandeis' first president--he became Chancellor in 1968 after 20 years as chief administrator, troubleshooter, and fund-raiser--speaks as the embodiment of the Jewish community's pride in creating a top-notch nonsectarian university at which Jews could, at long last, play ""host."" Sachar underlines the commitment to excellence that preceded the multi-million buildings, the endowed chairs, the coming of scholars like Leonard Levy and Herbert Marcuse. As one of the founding fathers put it: ""if they cannot make the grade at Brandeis let them go to Harvard."" A good story teller, Sachar describes with relish his wooing of Jewish philanthropists to underwrite scholarships, research, the Wein International Center, and other facilities. The brouhahas over academic freedom that surrounded the ""firing"" of Herbert Marcuse and the hiring of Felix Browder, mathematician son of communist Earl Browder, are also described, the Chancellor noting that ""I had played no small part in creating this climate of freedom."" The tone is both liberal and ultrapatriotic with Sachar echoing a trustee who was ""pure Slobodka"" and therefore felt impelled to ""express appreciation for the freedom and dignity of American life."" There is also much that Sachar doesn't dwell on: the university's current financial woes, the changing composition of the student body, the fiasco of Morris Abram's abbreviated presidency. . . . For all those who contributed--a testimonial.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1976
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown