Won’t you go home, Disraeli? Review

“Disraeli: The Novel Politician” by David Cesarani. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015, 236 pages. $25. When we play the Jewish pride game — you know, slapping ourselves figuratively on the back and naming Albert Einstein in physics, Sigmund Freud in psychiatry and Karl Marx in political philosophy as Jews of the modern era who… Read More

True stories of Israeli achievements — maybe

“Israel’s Edge: Talpiot The IDF’s Most Elite Unit” by Jason Gewirtz. Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing, 2016. 230 pages, $18. A long time ago, I was a reporter for an English-language, Tel Aviv-based news weekly called Newsview. One evening, Mabat L’Hadashoat, the Israeli nightly news program — there was only one Israeli TV channel back then —… Read More

7 Elie Wiesel books that show his influence

Most people know Elie Wiesel as the author of “Night,” one of the first published autobiographical accounts of what life was like inside Nazi concentration camps. The book, which helped shape the American understanding of the effects of the Holocaust, has since become a staple on high school reading and best-seller lists. But Wiesel, who… Read More

Verses from a life of anguish Review

For the Sake of the Living and the Dead by Gila Landman. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Charing Cross Press, 2016. 53 pages. $12. The poems in this collection are painful to read; I can only imagine the soul-wrenching that accompanied their creation. The anguish that inspired the poetry is palpable, as is the love and longing… Read More

Begin’s right-hand man spills few secrets Review

Right-Hand Man: The Biography of Yehiel Kadishai, Chief of Staff and Confidant of Menachem Begin by Menachem Michelson, translated by Jessica Setbon. Jerusalem: Geffen Publishing, 2016. 324 pages. $26. Menachem Begin is not only one of Israel’s most compelling political figures, he is one of the most fascinating politicians anywhere during the past 75 years…. Read More

Dreams of a horrifying reality Review

In the Land of Armadillos by Helen Maryles Shankman. New York: Scribner, 2016, 282 pages, $25 Only rarely do books have the literary wallop to break through my protective psychic defenses. In the Land of Armadillos is one such work, for the day after reading two of its short stories — “The Partizans” and “The… Read More

Richness of Judaism from a nonbeliever Review

Why Be Jewish? A testament, by Edgar M. Bronfman, Twelve, 2016, 237 pages, $26 For people perplexed because they identify as Jews but don’t believe in God, Edgar M. Bronfman, who died in 2013, has produced a small, modern guide. In Why Be Jewish, Bronfman, former head of Seagram Co., says he does not believe… Read More