MASA: Odyssey of an American Jew by Lewis Weinstein

MASA: Odyssey of an American Jew

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Weinstein, now in his 8Os, recounts his life as a young immigrant, a student at Harvard Law School, a liaison officer between Eisenhower and de Gaulle, a community activist, and a ""friend"" of famous men like John F. Kennedy. The most arresting segment of this memoir involves Weinstein's activities during WW II. General Eisenhower visits Ohrdruf, a miniature version of the nearby death camp of Buchenwald only because Weinstein was ""persistent as hell"" (in Ike's words). Eisenhower vomits from what he sees and smells, but thanks his liaison officer for the education. The future leader of the Free World can only raise his finger to his lips when Weinstein pleads with him to bomb the railway tracks leading to the remaining death camps. Pre- and post-war, however, we have the record of a bright, hard-working Jewish community leader and advocate of American civil rights and worldwide human rights who desperately wants to be remembered as such. After the celebrity-hound photos and before the embarrassing poetic appendix comes a quote from the Talmudic sage Hillel that serves well as the author's writing and publishing credo: ""If I cannot be for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?"" An occasionally interesting, often self-serving autobiography, the bulk of which will be of interest mainly to historians.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1989
Publisher: Quinlan