Nonetheless, Bronner may have written the best short book on antiSemitism. The 14 pages of chapter notes include useful...

A RUMOR ABOUT THE JEWS

REFLECTIONS ON ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION

A coherent treatment of a complex issue and its most significant secular document.

Before discussing the influence of ``The Protocols'' and commenting on selections, Bronner (Political Science and Comparative Literature/Rutgers; Moments of Decision: Political History and the Crises of Radicalism, not reviewed) traces the history of ``Judeophobia'' from the time that Judaism, not Jews, was the enemy. To pagan rivals, the Jews’ faith was despised for the arrogance of such monotheism. Economic resentment both predated and postdated Christianity, but envy would not target poorer Jews. Bronner sees Christian antiSemitism as the third and most dangerous wave of prejudice. In the Gospels all Jews, even the secular or poor, were demonized. Jews were inherently evil, eternally guilty Christ killers befitting the satanic snake stealthily squeezing the world, in the parlance of ``The Protocols''—a forgery by the czarist police in which a cabal of powerful Jews conspire to economically, politically, and culturally supplant Christian civilization. Both this tract and later Nazi ideology are secular, yet Bronner demonstrates that their satanic metaphors are as blatant as the vitriol of Martin Luther, and that “The Protocols'' infuse the realistic fears of losers in the march to democratic freedoms and modernity with the paranoid fantasies of religious myths. ``Hitler considered the logic of the `Protocols' his own . . . the Jews had declared war on him”; he knew, Bronner contends, the Jews were the agents of progress. From Henry Ford to Ezra Pound, from many Arab newspapers to skinhead Web sites, Bronner sees the letter and spirit of ``The Protocols'' living on. Perhaps out of fairness, he levels some blame at the victims, for the chauvinism of fundamentalist Jews, forgetting they weren't the threatening cosmopolites of his thesis.

Nonetheless, Bronner may have written the best short book on antiSemitism. The 14 pages of chapter notes include useful bibliographic information.

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-312-21804-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2000

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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