Page 18 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 2

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THE YEAR’S BOOKSHELF
(A Survey of Jewish Books in English for 1942-43)
B y J
o s h u a
B
loch
Too large is the year’s output of American publications dealing
with aspects of Jewish life, lore and learning, and to undertake an
adequate appraisal of all would require much more space than allot-
ted. The war effort in all belligerent countries has touched Jewish
life profoundly; as victim and warrior the experience of the Jews in
recent years finds a measure, though an uneven one, of reflection
in the literature dealing with causes, effects and outcome of the
war. The output of current fiction inspired largely by the war is
rich in Jewish interest. Virtually every recently issued popular
novel contains some touch of Jewishness; in some novels Jewish
characters and the Jewish scene are conspicuous; in others casual
references to the people or their plight in war-ridden countries
are met with and few indeed are the pieces of contemporary fiction
where these are altogether absent. This literature is vast, and it
is impossible to take full cognizance of all the books within that
category. Only such printed publications as are exclusively Jewish
in content and character will be included in the present survey.
The most important contribution to Jewish history published
during the year came from the pen of Abraham A. Neuman,
the learned and genial president of the Dropsie College for He-
brew and Cognate Learning. I t is a two-volume work deal-
ing with
The Jews in Spain\
their social, political and cultural
life during the Middle Ages (Jewish Publication Society). An
interesting, indeed novel, approach to the understanding of
the development of Jewish communal life is contained in
The
Jewish Community
; its history and structure to the American
Revolution, a work in three volumes by Salo W. Baron (Jew-
ish Publication Society). I t is an attempt to offer a histor-
ical and sociological analysis of the entire evolution of Jewish
communal life to the Emancipation era.
The Yellow Badge in
History
by Guido Kisch is a publication the implications of which
are obvious in the light of recent Jewish experience in lands domi-
nated by Nazi authority. In Joshua Bloch’s
Hebrew Printing in
Naples
an effort was made to deal with the subject within the
frame of Jewish experience during the fifteenth century. These
publications represent contributions to Jewish historical literature,
a subject in which a constantly increasing interest is observed.
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