Page 21 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

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THE YEAR’S BOOKSHELF*
A Survey of Jewish Books in English for 1943-44
B y J
o s h u a
B
l o c h
A survey of Jewish literature in the English language, produced
during the year ending June 30, 1944, shows that the difficulties
presented by prevailing war conditions have not in any appreci-
able measure interfered with its normal growth. Shortage in
materials and manpower seems to have interrupted but little the
output of Jewish publications in the English language. In fact
the war and all the problems that it has created for the Jews
have contributed in no small measure to the increase of that
output; it would seem that they tend to intensify the zeal which
authors and publishers exert in bringing before the public an
avalanche of Jewish publications in many languages the like of
which is not known in normal times. Quite a large proportion of
the literary output of the year is made up of pamphlets, bulletins
and like publications issued by various organizations and institu-
tions concerned with the welfare of the Jews everywhere and with
the advancement of Jewish causes, all of these dealing with one
aspect or another of current Jewish interest. So large is their
number as not only to defy evaluation but even to render it almost
impossible to record them all with a measure of bibliographical
and informative accuracy. This is almost equally true of the
extraordinary large number of publications in the realms of fiction,
drama, and poetry, in which Jewish characters and experiences
play their roles. One thing is certain: they have all contributed
to the growth of interest in the life and worth of the Jews and their
place in history. In the circumstances, this survey will deal only
with such publications as are more readily accessible and have a
more or less durable reference value.
The need of making Jewish history more widely known and
better understood is a constant one; it is certainly an urgent one
in fateful days when the destiny of the Jewish people is being
weighed in the balance. Though the number of publications in
this field is not as large as it might have been, one meets with
several striking and indeed useful books. In issuing the late
Professor Ismar Elbogen’s
A Century of ,Jewish Life
, (Philadelphia,
*Through the courtesy of Harry Schneiderman the writer was able to make
advantageous use of the American Jewish Bibliography 1943-1944 which Miss
Iva Cohen compiled for the
American Jewish Year Book.