Page 42 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

Basic HTML Version

36
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
1970’s. Two o u t s ta n d in g d o c to ra l d is s e r ta t io n s by now-
recognized experts in the field are
Class Struggle in the Pale
(Lon­
don, 1970) by Ezra Mendelsohn and
Jewish Nationalist and Soviet
Politics: The Jewish Sections of the CPSU, 1917-1930
(Princeton,
1972) by Zvi Gitelman. Mendelsohn’s book sheds new light on the
nature o f the Russian Jewish p ro le tariat and the formative years
o f the Russian Jewish labor movement, while Gitelman’s analysis
presents a pioneering exploration o f the
Yevsektsiya
o r Jewish
section o f the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. As con tem ­
porary interest focuses on more recent events in the Soviet Jewish
community, the reade r can find ajudicious account o f some o f the
factors behind the Soviet emigration movement in the au tho rita ­
tive work,
The Soviet Cage, Anti-Semitism in Russia
by William Korey
(New York, 1973).
The history o f the Jews in Poland is the subject o f two signifi­
cant social histories. Bernard Dov Weinryb’s book
The Jews of
Poland - A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in
Poland, 1100-1800
(Philadelphia, 1973) can be fruitfully read
with Celia Heller’s
On the Edge ofDestruction:J ews ofPoland Between
the Two World Wars
(New York, 1977) for a far-reaching view o f
the vitality o f a community caught within the vortex o f a tragic
history. Heller’s sociological background enhances he r discus­
sions o f the process o f Jewish adaptation to a progressively de­
teriorating situation.
The growing library on the history o f Zionism was enhanced by
two balanced, lucid and excellent books:
A History of Zionism
(New
York, 1972) by Walter Laqueur and
The Origins of Zionism
(Ox­
ford, 1975) by David Vital.
THE HOLOCAUST
Holocaust Studies have been the subject o f rising interest in the
1970’s, interest which has been a partial catalyst for the app ea r­
ance of a variety o f books in history, psychology, belles-lettres,
m em o irs an d theo log ic a l o r p h ilo so p h ic a l s tu d ie s . Lucy
Dawidowicz’s
War Against theJews, 1933-1945
(New York, and
Philadelphia, 1975) clearly stands ou t as the most im po rtan t ren ­
dering o f the history o f the Holocaust produced du ring the
decade. Its special strength lies not only in the eloquence yet
restraint o f he r prose but also in the special emphasis and insight