Monday, November 19, 2018

Book Reviews—Intriguing Books of 2009

Book Reviews—Intriguing Books of 2009

December 6, 2011 in 2009 November-December
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Selected by Moment Contributors

Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West
Michael A. Ledeen (Truman Talley)
Ledeen makes a strong case that Americans and Europeans willfully failed to understand and respond to such threats as Nazism, Fascism and Communism. He argues that we are now repeating this mistake in the face of the threat from Iran’s revolutionary theocrats and the militant jihadist movements they have inspired. Leeden’s book is meant to be a wake-up call.—Clifford D. May, Moment columnist

Eating Animals
Jonathan Safran Foer (Little, Brown)
Blending personal narrative and journalism, Foer creates a cogent argument for vegetarianism. Whether visiting factory farms in the middle of the night or reminiscing about his grandmother’s relationship to food, Foer approaches each topic with genuine curiosity. Never shrill or preachy, Eating Animals is a thoughtful study of the ethics of eating meat in the modern world.—Sarah Breger, Rabbi Harold S. White Fellow

The Clothes on Their Backs
Linda Grant (Scribner)
This shrewdly observed novel by an outstanding British author, Linda Grant, dares to make human an odious exploiter and Holocaust survivor, Sandor Kovacs, “a certain kind of Jew who appears to ratify the anti-Semitic stereotype of a rapacious businessman.” By turning the perfidious cliche inside out, the novelist allows the reader to examine the dark side of survival. At one point Kovacs says, “People who like to hear the truth don’t know nothing about the truth. Truth would make them sick if they knew it.”—Mitchell Levitas, Literary Editor

Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife
Francine Prose (HarperCollins)
According to Prose, Anne Frank was more than a girl writing a diary in harrowing times, but someone with real literary potential. The controversies surrounding her “afterlife” of plays, books and movies make fascinating reading. —Eileen Lavine, Senior Editor

Homer & Langley
E. L. Doctorow (Random House)
This funny, moving and enormously imaginative work retells the true story of the famed Collyer brothers: hoarding recluses whose deaths in their Harlem Brownstone—one crushed under the weight of their possessions, the other a victim of starvation—shocked the nation in 1947. By extending the time period in which the Collyers lived into the late 1970s, Doctorow, whose parents were both children of Russian Jewish immigrants, shows the historical changes in the social landscape throughout much of the 20th century.—Eric Alterman, Moment columnist

Israel, One Land, One People, One Dream
Emmanuel T. Santos
(Jewish National Fund of Melbourne Australia)
We should be thankful that the Philippines-born Santos, who previously photographed the Jewish Diaspora, now turns his lens to the beauty of Israel’s diverse human and geographic landscape.—Naomi Ragen, Moment columnist

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