I simple but seemingly comprehensive breakdown of the history of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Fascinating and admittedly a bit tedious at time...moreI simple but seemingly comprehensive breakdown of the history of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Fascinating and admittedly a bit tedious at times, given the depth of the subject, but it makes the history of the Plot accessible and makes the reader aware of just how recent this Plot began...An important book in Jewish literature more so than in comic book history, but it is right up there with Maus, and Eisner's Contract With God Trilogy.(less)
This is a great read. In the same vein as Spiegelman and a great perspective on Jewish immigrant life in the dirty 1930s in the Bronx. The themes of t...moreThis is a great read. In the same vein as Spiegelman and a great perspective on Jewish immigrant life in the dirty 1930s in the Bronx. The themes of the book aren't only relevant to the Jewish community as it is more of a commentary of the time period and the people in that little microcosm. This book explores faith, desire, coming of age, and infidelity in a way that is accessible and at the core very human. The art is great and flows really well with the text. Each panel is a little piece of art on its own as well as a snapshot of a life from a different time. I look forward to reading the rest of the the trilogy. (less)
A solid if somewhat dated ethnography on the Hasidim with a particular focus on their communities in the United States. Very well done and thought out...moreA solid if somewhat dated ethnography on the Hasidim with a particular focus on their communities in the United States. Very well done and thought out, though the author draws a lot of source material from on book in particular, In Praise of the Besht...though his interpretations and corresponding interviews do make for a complete overview of the particular section he is discussing.
There isn't as much about the specific distinctions between the different Hasidic dynastics (i.e. Lubavitch vs Satmar vs Square, etc), as I was hoping for, but the author allude strongly to some very different traditions and political alignments of some of the dynasties. Unlike Fishkoff's The Rebbe's Army, which focuses primarily on Lubavitch in America, this book has a genuinely neutral feel and tone, which is very much appreciated and doesn't muddle the facts.(less)
This book explains in granular detail everything that I had hoped to learn in my French history classes back in college. Begley sets the scene nicely...moreThis book explains in granular detail everything that I had hoped to learn in my French history classes back in college. Begley sets the scene nicely by putting the Dreyfus Affair into the context of culture, how the French were feeling, what the people on the street saw and read, and why the French might have been so eager to find a scapegoat in Dreyfus. Furthermore, Begley's description of the living conditions while Dreyfus was in prison was another eye opening part of the story. Apropos to that, he makes the obvious connection to the (not so) secret American military prisons around the world, and this is ultimately my one issue with the book. The book is written in a way that might be interpreted as critical of the US, and that gets a little distracting as the book progresses, and you're not sure if you are reading a political commentary with history to support it, or history with political commentary to support it. And yes, the title says right off the bat that it is going to explain why the Dreyfus Affair is relevant to us today, but the leap from the turn of the 20th century to the turn of the 21st century is a bit jarring and while I agree with many of the links that Begley makes, they can be abrupt at times. I would have appreciated more detail of the Dreyfus Affair fallout and the implications from then till now, rather than then and now.
I do think this book would be a great addition to any university level History or Poli Sci class, as well as an important addition to the history of modern Jewish culture. Begley strongly implies that assimilation does not exist, but rather acculturation and with that, there will always be the "us" and "them". (less)