Page 21 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 10 (1951-1952)

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AMERICAN BOOKS ON ZIONISM AND ISRAEL
1950-1951
By
C
arl
A
l p e r t
T
HE first tourists to visit the new-born state of Israel, the
observers who happened to be on the spot during the early
historic days, and the “name” writers who visited Israel thereafter
could be reasonably sure of a market for their books on a theme
which still enjoyed a degree of novelty. Few publishers approached
the records set by Arthur Koestler’s
Thieves in the Night
(1946),
Bartley Crum’s
Behind the Silken Curtain
(1947), or Jorge Garcia-
Granados’
The Birth of Israel
(1948), but there was sufficient
response from the public to warrant continued publication of
books on Israel.
The year 1950 marked not only a let-up of interest in the
Jewish State but a diminution in general book-buying as well,
and the past season therefore witnesses a decrease in the number of
titles eligible for listing under our rubric.
Books of general reportage or history of the period continue to
predominate in the list, as they did last year. The appearance of
several volumes of light humor may be subject to some interpre-
tations. The most obvious lack is in the fictional area. One would
suppose that all the raw ingredients of gripping fiction are present
in the Israel scene, yet there was only one novel dealing directly
with Israel published in the United States last year, and only
one this year, Zelda Popkin’s
Quiet Street
, which made its appear-
ance just as this review was going to press. It is no secret that
Young Hearts
, the 1950 novel, disappointed the hopes of all con-
cerned. If Mrs. Popkin’s work proves more popular it may
inaugurate a new and long-awaited era in the field of literature on
Israel.
Last year at this time it was possible to list a number of forth-
coming books on Israel or Zionism. Today there are barely two
or three named on publishers’ advance lists, and the implications
are that the coming twelve months will see an even more meager
crop.
A number of books published in Britain and in South Africa
have enjoyed a fairly wide distribution in this country, and it is
felt that their inclusion in the bibliography will add to its com­
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