Page 67 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 2

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CRITICS SAY
Reviews of some important books of the year culled
from various periodicals.
Compiled
b y
Louis
R
i t t e n b e r g
The most striking development of the literary year is the fact
that, despite wartime distractions, there has been a steadily grow-
ing public interest in books. Shortages in materials and govern-
ment-imposed restrictions, far from diminishing the output, have
had to cope with demands exceeding all peace-time records. In
the field of Jewish letters, or at any rate in subjects of special
Jewish interest, this same phenomenon is clearly discernible.
Particularly gratifying is the cumulative evidence that writers
of Jewish books continue to encompass the whole range of topics
immemorially basic to Jewish cultural endeavor.
The reviews presented herein below, of books published in
English, reveal creative preoccupation alike with history, religion,
biography, philosophy, fiction and kindred themes. The Jewish
past, rich in a gamut of memories, the poignantly parlous present,
and the inscrutable future of Jewish survival are sharply reflected
in the currently published works of Jewish writers. Some are
profound, others in a more popular vein, but in the aggregate
these books are replete with ideas at once stimulating, comforting
and enlightening to the reader in these crucial days of Jewish
history in the making.
Aware of the intricate mechanics of reaching the public, this
section of our
Book Annual
aims to relay, to all those capable of
influencing the reading public, the expert opinions of book re-
viewers on a representative cross-section of new books that deserve,
among others, a wider audience. The non-Jewish public is already
widely familiar with some of the works reviewed here, but the
strictly Jewish areas of readership are still largely untapped.
Thus editors, ministers, educators, lecturers, and librarians —
whom this
Annual
will reach — have a pleasant task ahead in
seeking to popularize good books — to extend the boundaries of
book appreciation.
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