Page 18 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

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JEW ISH NON -F ICT ION BOOKS
1951-1952
By I.
E
dw a r d
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E
ARNESTNESS visibly meets the eye as one scans the list of
books for the period covered by this compilation. Although
the quan tity of books in this category decreased noticeably com-
pared to the previous year, this was more than compensated for
by the exceptional quality of many of the new books included
here.
Without attempting a critical appraisal of any of the works in
this list, it can be stated th a t two works by American Jewish
historians lead the roster of scholarly contributions. Because of
mastery of their subjects and their literary grace as well as the
novelty of their interpretations they have shed new light on
Jewish history in ancient times and in colonial America. These
examples of scholarship and fine writing emphasize the value of
individual studies as the result of fruitful research into the social
and religious life of the Jews of the past. Their awareness of
society of the present as well as of the past marks their effort to
relate the past to the needs of the present.
American Jewish history, which will engage many historians in
the Tercentenary celebration soon to be observed, has been en-
riched by two scholars who have made extensive use of letters to
weld together the story of the early settlement of the Jews in
this country and the par t they played later during the crisis of
the Civil War.
Individual biographies and memoirs of Jews in different
fields of endeavor have also added some new light about their
interesting achievements and contributions both a t home and
abroad.
The striking number of volumes interpreting Judaism and
Jewish theology a ttrac ted serious readers and stimulated general
interest in the Jewish interpretation of modern religious problems.
More popular introductions to the wisdom and ethics of the
Talmud, and an English translation and commentary on two of
the trac tates of the Mishnah presented American readers with an
insight into Rabbinic doctrine. The writings of Maimonides have
been translated further. The Mahzor, the prayer book for the
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