A source book that will be of special value to those who see and are concerned about the new anti-Semitism.

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DECIPHERING THE NEW ANTISEMITISM

An old, noxious contagion of prejudice is on a rapid, virulent rise. These scholarly essays, collected by Rosenfeld (English and Jewish Studies/Indiana Univ.; The End of the Holocaust, 2011, etc.), review the epidemiology of anti-Semitism and seek to determine the etiology, roots, and history of this special form of bigotry.

Throughout history, many of the world’s problems have been blamed on the Jews. As this anthology’s contributors report, renewed Holocaust denial, naked prejudice in sectors of England, France, and the rest of Europe, calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions, the rise of militant jihad, and the unique standards applied only to Israel since the start of the 21st century all attest to what has come to be known as “the New anti-Semitism.” Zionism and the establishment and achievements of the Jewish state in the Muslim heart of the Middle East are central to the rise of hatred of all things Jewish. Notions that were once limited to the lunatic right are now, frequently, proud badges of the left. Certain precincts of academe accommodate the myths and misanthropy of anti-Semitism, supported by spurious public intellectuals. Ignorant entertainers, as well, have their say, and the notorious forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion sells quite well everywhere. International organizations and national governments allied with Hamas and Hezbollah threaten a minuscule spot on the planet, Israel, as well as Jews worldwide. These various essays, fully footnoted, consider each of these matters and others in detail in an effort to parse and tease out the history and historiography of today’s anti-Semitism. Some are stunningly perceptive, some explore new dimensions, and while not all offer lapidary prose (they are written by academics, after all), each offers new insights about the thoughts and activities of current anti-Semites and the evil they purvey.

A source book that will be of special value to those who see and are concerned about the new anti-Semitism.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-253-01865-6

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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