A vital history that draws a direct line from Eastern European antisemitic violence to the Holocaust.



A chillingly thorough study of how the Nazi extermination of Jews was foretold in Ukrainian pogroms 20 years earlier.

Based on extensive research in recently opened archives and newly available witness reports and trial records of the pogroms, Veidlinger—a professor of history and Judaic studies at the University of Michigan and winner of the National Jewish Book Award, among other honors—finds a predictable pattern of scapegoating of Jews for the perceived excesses of Bolshevism. As the author unequivocally shows, the cycle was repeated and expanded by the Nazis two decades later. At the end of World War I, Eastern European boundaries shifted, and Jews deported from the war were displaced. As the Russian Revolution provoked a civil war, tensions in Ukrainian communities were heightened, and Jews became the convenient scapegoats. Hopes for a Ukrainian republic were dashed by Bolshevik incursions, and “militias acting as part of the army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic initiated or authorized attacks on Jewish civilians” under the pretext that “the Jews were planning an uprising to install a Bolshevik government.” More than 100,000 Jews perished during the pogroms, which the author vividly depicts as “public, participatory, and ritualized.” He notes how early on, “they took place in a carnivalesque atmosphere of drunken singing and dancing; crowds allowed for a diffusion of responsibility, drawing in otherwise upright citizens and ordinary people who in different circumstances might not have joined the proceedings.” The White Army, composed of czarist remnants, also attacked the Jews as perceived allies of the Bolsheviks. Veidlinger also chronicles the international outcry at these pogroms, which helped to instigate important Jewish refugee relief programs while also hardening nations like the U.S. against allowing the immigration of desperate Jewish displaced persons. The last part of the book is an elucidating discussion of how the massive refugee problem galvanized the rise of right-wing politics, especially in Germany.

A vital history that draws a direct line from Eastern European antisemitic violence to the Holocaust.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-11625-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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An overdue upending of art historical discourse.


An indispensable primer on the history of art, with an exclusive focus on women.

Prominent 19th-century art critic John Ruskin once proclaimed, “the woman’s intellect is not for invention or creation, but for sweet ordering, arrangement, and decision,” and traces of this misguided and malignant sentiment can still be found over a century later in art institutions around the world. A 2019 study found that “in the collections of eighteen major US art museums, 87 percent of artworks were by men, and 85 percent by white artists.” There’s a lot to be mad about, but London-based art historian Hessel nimbly pivots that energy into a constructive, revelatory project. This book is not a mere rebuttal to the aforementioned discrimination; deftly researched, the text reveals an alternate history of centuries of artistic movements. With palpable excitement, the author shifts the focus from widely known male participants to the unsung female players of the time. Art aficionados will delight in Hessel’s sleight of hand and marvel at her wide, inclusive reach. Spanning from Baroque art to the present day, she effortlessly removes “the clamour of men” and, in a series of short biographical profiles, shapes a historical arc that still feels grounded even without a familiar male presence. Art history must “reset,” Hessel writes, and she positions her book as an important first step in that reconfiguration. While the author progresses mostly movement by movement, her broader tangents are particularly profound. One of many highlights is a generous overview of queer artists of the Weimar era. Hessel is occasionally uneven with how much content she allots each artist, and some perfunctory profiles feel like the result of trying to highlight as many names as possible. Nonetheless, even the shortest gloss provides enough intrigue to be a successful introduction to an artist who might otherwise be forgotten.

An overdue upending of art historical discourse.

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780393881868

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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A rousing, suspenseful adventure tale.



A harrowing expedition to Antarctica, recounted by Departures senior features editor Sancton, who has reported from every continent on the planet.

On Aug. 16, 1897, the steam whaler Belgica set off from Belgium with young  Adrien de Gerlache as commandant. Thus begins Sancton’s riveting history of exploration, ingenuity, and survival. The commandant’s inexperienced, often unruly crew, half non-Belgian, included scientists, a rookie engineer, and first mate Roald Amundsen, who would later become a celebrated polar explorer. After loading a half ton of explosive tonite, the ship set sail with 23 crew members and two cats. In Rio de Janeiro, they were joined by Dr. Frederick Cook, a young, shameless huckster who had accompanied Robert Peary as a surgeon and ethnologist on an expedition to northern Greenland. In Punta Arenas, four seamen were removed for insubordination, and rats snuck onboard. In Tierra del Fuego, the ship ran aground for a while. Sancton evokes a calm anxiety as he chronicles the ship’s journey south. On Jan. 19, 1898, near the South Shetland Islands, the crew spotted the first icebergs. Rough waves swept someone overboard. Days later, they saw Antarctica in the distance. Glory was “finally within reach.” The author describes the discovery and naming of new lands and the work of the scientists gathering specimens. The ship continued through a perilous, ice-littered sea, as the commandant was anxious to reach a record-setting latitude. On March 6, the Belgica became icebound. The crew did everything they could to prepare for a dark, below-freezing winter, but they were wracked with despair, suffering headaches, insomnia, dizziness, and later, madness—all vividly capture by Sancton. The sun returned on July 22, and by March 1899, they were able to escape the ice. With a cast of intriguing characters and drama galore, this history reads like fiction and will thrill fans of Endurance and In the Kingdom of Ice.

A rousing, suspenseful adventure tale.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984824-33-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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