Father Edward Flannery, who died in 1998, was a Catholic priest who was the first director of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the U.S. Bishops' Committe...moreFather Edward Flannery, who died in 1998, was a Catholic priest who was the first director of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, a position he held from 1967 to 1976. His book was published in 1985.
Flannery's famous statement ... "it is little exaggeration to state that those pages of history Jews have committed to memory are the very ones that have been torn from Christian history books" ... was quoted by Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, his successor at the U.S. Bishops' Committee, in Dr. Fisher's comments praising my novel The Heretic for bringing those pages back to Christian view.
Father Flannery pulls no punches in his denunciation of the Catholic Church for its role in promulgating antisemitism and providing the foundation for Hitler's Holocaust ...
*** Pope Pius XII's silence during the Holocaust rested on the acquiescence of the German episcopacy, which in turn rested on the still wider apathy or collusion with Nazism of German Catholics, themselves so ill prepared for any better response by accustomed antisemitic attitudes so often aided and abetted in the past by the Church itself ... the Pope's "subjects" in Germany were little prepared to heed any denunciations of Hitler and Nazism
*** Judaism lived on as a theological challenge to the Christian claim to be a new and true Israel … the threat of that challenge can hardly be overestimated
*** in the minds of the Church Fathers the only solution to the appeal of the old Israel was to discredit the Jew theologically … to depict the Jew as rejected, even cursed, by God … diabolical, the slayer of God Himself … antisemitism based on theological rivalry
*** modern racial antisemitism - as exemplified by the Nazi regime - would not have been possible without centuries of anti-Judaic and antisemitic precedents … from the beginning, Hitler had his target, the Jews, already set up, defenseless, and discredited
Flannery's conclusion sets a monumental challenge for contemporary Christians ...
*** Christians must come to full recognition of the preponderant role played by the Christian churches in the development of antisemitism … and the huge crime committed by Christianity against the Jews … deplorable … should stain the souls of all Christians ... antisemitism is a denial of Christian faith, a failure of Christian hope, a malady of Christian love(less)
This is a powerful book, full of conclusions which are far from universally accepted. Here are some of the most thought-provoking assertions …
*** 160...moreThis is a powerful book, full of conclusions which are far from universally accepted. Here are some of the most thought-provoking assertions …
*** 1600 years of Christian hatred of Jews culminated in the Holocaust … Christianity did not create the Holocaust … but without Christian antisemitism, the Holocaust would have been inconceivable.
*** Jews, merely by continuing to be Jews, threatened the very legitimacy of Christianity … if Judaism remained valid, then Christianity was invalid … therein, from the days of the founding of Christianity, lie the origins of Christian hatred of Jews … Christianity had no choice but to deny the validity of Judaism.
*** the mere existence of Jews is a threat to the prevailing order of the societies in which Jews live … Judaism is an existential threat to the core values and beliefs of others … living with this threat often aroused deep and lasting hatred.
*** Jews allegiance to the biblical commandments of God, Torah and Israel have made Jews outsiders who challenge the validity of the non-Jew's gods, laws, and national allegiance.
*** economic factors, the need for scapegoats, resentment of Jewish affluence, ethnic hatred … these have all exacerbated antisemitism but do not explain its genesis.
*** any group acting so differently from the majority culture is bound to elicit hostility … by observing Kashrut, a Jew can eat little at a non-Jew's house … observing the Jewish Sabbath increases the otherness and isolation of Jews.
*** Nazi Jew-hatred was an end, not a means to an end … Nazism was a vehicle for antisemitism, not the reverse … Hitler used war as a means of killing Jews on a larger scale than he could do in peacetime.
*** Nazi antisemitism was based on hatred of the Jewish character, not hatred of Jews' non-Aryan blood … the Nazis hated the challenges to their view of the German world posed by Jews and Jewish values.
Prager and Telushkin offer considerable documentation in support of each of these statements. Sometimes I agree, sometimes not, but their assertions will provide many opportunities for discussions and arguments among the characters in my novel-in-progress.
One of the main props of Hitler's vitriolic propaganda was to condemn the Allies' position at Versailles that Germany should be the only nation to pay...moreOne of the main props of Hitler's vitriolic propaganda was to condemn the Allies' position at Versailles that Germany should be the only nation to pay reparations since it was solely responsible for starting the First World War. Putting aside the problems caused by the reparations, which were substantial and in hindsight bad policy, there remains the issue of who started the war.
Fromkin puts that responsibility squarely on Germany, which encouraged and manipulated the Austrian declaration of war against Serbia into its own war against Russia and France.
*** the internationl conflict in the summer of 1914 consisted of two wars, not one … both were started deliberately, one by the Hapsburg Empire and the other by the German Empire … the decision to launch war - in both cases - was made by a few individuals at the top ... both wars were about power, about the relative ranking among the great European powers ... both Germany and Austria believed themselves on the way down ... each started a war in order to stay where it was
*** it was (Chief of the German General Staff) Helmuth Moltke who wanted war against Russia and France … he artfully substituted his war for support of the Austrian-Serbian war … Moltke represented the Prussian Junker officer caste whose militarization of German life led to the war.
IN MY NEW NOVEL-IN-PROGRESS ... I plan to incorporate Fromkin's controversial but well-documented conclusion (published in 2004) into a discussion one of my fictional characters will have with Marshal Josef Pilsudski of Poland. Pilsudski was involved in the WWI fighting, would probably have known the German generals and staff personnel, and was a brilliant strategist who could well have perceived events as Fromkin later reconstructed. Such is the opportunity offered to the writer of historical fiction to fill in the blanks of history - as long as the known (???) truth allows that it could have happened that way.(less)
We have been in Edinburgh during the Festival so Jardine's descriptions resonated. The plot was not totally believable, but the action was strongly pr...moreWe have been in Edinburgh during the Festival so Jardine's descriptions resonated. The plot was not totally believable, but the action was strongly presented. Surprisingly, the tension did not seem to rise to the level it should have. I think it might be because the actions and thoughts of the bad guys were never made part of the reader experience. Also, Skinner did not seem as 100% involved as he might have been - playing a round of golf? Thus, 3*** instead of 4****. Entertaining, but not gripping.(less)
It's been some years since I read Anne Perry and I'm looking forward to be lifted into Victorian England again.
The interactions between...moreIt's been some years since I read Anne Perry and I'm looking forward to be lifted into Victorian England again.
The interactions between William Monk and Oliver Rathbone and Hester Latterly reflect Anne Perry's superb ability to communicate the way people can feel about each other and yet leave so much unsaid. Perry leaves the reader (this reader anyway) thinking that perhaps this is the nature of all human interaction, even between people who care very much for each other.
The scenes between the young boy and girl, both physically damaged, are unbelievably touching.
Update FEB 18, 2014 ...
Anne Perry is a very patient author. For chapter after chapter her characters seek an answer to the underlying mystery, with no success. She describes the search so well that I am not frustrated with the delay. Now we have moved to the trial, where the truth must become known, but still it hasn't.
update FEB 20, 2014
A superb conclusion. The answers were withheld until the very end, with the characters learning what happened only a few pages before the reader. Some big surprises and some quite compassionate scenes.
The way Perry set the murder mystery against the very interesting and probably not well known background of Germany before the consolidation added to the read.
My only problem with this book was in the beginning, when Perry introduced all of the characters at the crucial party in a single overwhelming sequence that was impossible (for me) to absorb. I think she could have skipped this, since all the characters were re-introduced later, in a far more effective and reader-friendly way.(less)
An excellent suspenseful story from start to finish.
One aspect of this book that is very well done is the description of the choices a detective make...moreAn excellent suspenseful story from start to finish.
One aspect of this book that is very well done is the description of the choices a detective makes - what leads to pursue, who to believe - and the differences in these matters between the detective partners.
The lives of the wealthy - parents and children - on New York's Upper East Side are well presented: people who have such great opportunities and so little understanding of how to use them, even to make their own lives enjoyable and productive. In this story, it provided a thoughtful context that made this more than a simple mystery story. I wonder if Burke pursues this line of social commentary in any of her other novels.(less)
Malla Nunn has created a fast-past exciting crime story set in Durban, South Africa. This is the 2nd in a series (there are now 4) featuring Inspector...moreMalla Nunn has created a fast-past exciting crime story set in Durban, South Africa. This is the 2nd in a series (there are now 4) featuring Inspector Emmanuel Cooper struggling in the early stages of an emerging apartheid world. Nunn handles a multiplicity of characters deftly, without confusing the reader, and her ability to sustain an action sequence is impressive. Many of the characters could be (and probably are) continued in subsequent novels.
Nunn's questions for discussion and her own interview at the back of the book reflect her seriousness about South African issues which she seamlessly integrates into her novel without a smidgeon of preachiness.
My wife and I met Malla last week at the Key West Literary Seminar and she is personally outgoing and charming. She is a bright new light in the genre of historical crime fiction.
An excellent biography of a great man. Menachem Begin was in Warsaw during the time of my novel-in-progress. I have already written scenes where he me...moreAn excellent biography of a great man. Menachem Begin was in Warsaw during the time of my novel-in-progress. I have already written scenes where he meets and later defends Anna Gorska, my main Polish fictional character. These activities, while of course fictional, are totally consistent with Begin's real-life details. More such scenes to come. LEW ... http://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/(less)
I didn't really read this entire book; that would take years. I did read two chapters related to memory. In particular I was fascinated with Hofstadte...moreI didn't really read this entire book; that would take years. I did read two chapters related to memory. In particular I was fascinated with Hofstadter's description of how symbols used repetitively in connection with other symbols would form new "symbol groups" which would then be invoked in response to activation of any one of the various individual symbols. This, it seemed to me, was exactly the point of the propaganda message of Hitler and Goebbels which constantly linked the words ... Jew ... communist ... traitor ... unemployed ... hungry ... humiliation ... extermination.
This understanding will inform how the German characters in my novel-in-progress react to the unrelenting Nazi propaganda.(less)
I met Liz at a Key West author event and we, in effect, exchanged books. I'm about half through "Thursday Morning" and I'm thoroughly enjoying a very...moreI met Liz at a Key West author event and we, in effect, exchanged books. I'm about half through "Thursday Morning" and I'm thoroughly enjoying a very charming story. So far the only people who got murdered seem to have deserved it.
The story is complicated, sometimes it was hard to remember the many characters, and the police work was unorthodox and not wholly believable, but the bottom line is I enjoyed my visit with the ladies of Mount Penn and the gradually emerging story line kept me turning pages. It was a pleasant change-of-pace trip into a very different kind of book for me.
A very worthy first novel in what I imagine will be an entertaining series.
A powerful story brilliantly written. Cook's use of language is superb. I'm envious!
The story is very creatively conceived and written. I can't say m...moreA powerful story brilliantly written. Cook's use of language is superb. I'm envious!
The story is very creatively conceived and written. I can't say much without spoiling the read, except that the solution to the "crime" leads to the solution to the protagonist's personal issues. Fathers and daughters take note.
If you're a photographer, you will appreciate the photographer's "eye" that appears on almost every page. If you're a New Yorker, you will really appreciate the images seen by that eye.
I'm looking forward to meeting the author when he appears at the Key West Literary Seminar next month.(less)