What am I reading?  

Posted by Abba-Dad in ,

I wanted to share what I've been reading lately. You may remember that I got on a Holocaust theme a while back and I am pretty much still there:

Right now I am reading "History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier" by Deborah E. Lipstadt, about a huge libel suit filed in England against Prof. Lipstadt by David Irving, the uber-douche Holocaust denier. It's an interesting legal battle for those who might enjoy that aspect too. Very good book so far. I am even thinking about going to hear Prof. Lipstadt's course at Emory this fall: REL 324-000: The Holocaust.

I would skip "Defiance: The Bielski Partisans" by Nechama Tec, because unfortunately it is just not written well. I am sure there is an amazing story there and I have not seen the movie yet, but I just couldn't get through this book.

Another one I am reading which is very interesting is "Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto" by Samuel D. Kassow, which not only touches on the actual Warsaw Ghetto life but gives a very interesting background on the political and social life of pre-war Jews in Poland. If you've ever heard of the Oyneg Shabes Archive - this is the book about it and Emanuel Ringelblum who created it. I never knew that Jews had such a complex political landscape with several parties battling it out in East Europe between the two world wars. Very interesting stuff indeed.

I've already written about "The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million" by Daniel Mendelsohn. This book is interesting in some ways and annoying in others. The inclusion of old testament comparisons to the authors life and experiences were too simplistic in my opinion and there is a lot of repetition. Mendelsohn is a true New Yorker and was even the book critic for New York magazine for a few years. Some people will enjoy his writing style where some sentences go on forever with a thousand commas and by the time you finish one you don't even remember where it started. It's a good book, but probably not at the top of my list.

And to round up this book review, one book that has nothing to do with Judaism or the Holocaust. I'm a couple of chapters into "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" by Walter Isaacson and so far I'm loving it. It's an interesting autobiography about an amazing character combined with a lot of history and great story telling. I look forward to reading more of it.

Have any of you read any of these books and have an opinion to share? Any other recommendations? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 9:47 PM and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Mendelson's tome reminds me of Moby Dick. Although I did manage to insert myself into Melvilles world and finish the book, I was unable to do the same with Mendelson's. Isaakson's Franklin was a pleasure. I also recommend his biography of Einstein, and The Wise Men.

August 12, 2009 at 9:12 AM

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