Page 101 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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89
RITTENBERG ----CRITICS SAY
against the brutal “Herrenvolk,” knowing tha t the hour of liberation is
near. This well-written book contains overwhelming documentary evi-
dence of Nazi atrocities and several striking photos more convincing than
any written account.
— A l f r e d W e r n e r i n
The National Jewish Monthly
The Middle East: Crossroads of History.
B y E
l i ah u
B
e n
- H
o r i n
.
N e w
York, W. W.
N
orton
& C
om p a n y
,
1943. 248
p a g e s .
$3.00.
The author offers his book as an introductory scene in the Middle
East for the benefit of the American reader who is not sufficiently en-
lightened on the subject.
There is no doubt tha t the a t temp t to view the problem of the Middle
East as a whole is valuable, but it is very doubtful whether the suggestion
tha t the peoples of the Middle East be put under international trustee-
ship has any chance of success. This, not so much because of the difficul-
ties inherent in the establishment of an effective and reliable trusteeship,
but because, for good or for evil, the peoples of the Middle East have
already come into their own politically, and will not be persuaded to
give up their statehoods.
The author believes tha t the problem of Palestine can be solved by
transfer of population, i.e., by an exodus of the Arabs of Palestine to
the rich country of Iraq which is indeed badly in need of settlers.
Mr. Ben-Horin, of course, offers his plan within the framework of
his wider scheme for international planning and administration, and only
as par t of tha t scheme could such a transfer be considered a t all. In any
case, he slices out a free “living space” for a Jewish state. But the
Jews will not qualify for immediate independence because “ the Jews
as a people have not led the life of a self-governing nation for two thousand
years and their ability for self-government is atrophied.”
— M o s h e P e r l m a n n i n
The Reconstructionist
The Rise of the few in the Western World.
B y D
r
. U
r iah
Z
ev i
E
n g e lm a n
. N e w
York,
B
e h rm a n
H
o u s e
,
1944. 238
p a g e s .
$3.50.
I t comes as something of a shock even to the reader relatively familiar
with Jewish history, to learn of the extent to which Jews engaged in
agriculture during the first thousand years of the Christian Era. The
evidence marshalled by the author gives ample proof of the importance
of farming to the Jews of the pre-feudal period. I t must be underscored
tha t agriculture of tha t day was not competitive, consequently the bread-
and-butter element of anti-Semitism was entirely lacking.
I t was the emergence of the feudal order — a system in which the
baron, the peasant and the priest constituted the only essential elements
of this self-contained society — tha t placed the Jew outside the orbit
of economic activity, and brought him to the very verge of extinction.
I t is the author’s analysis of Jewish survival at the lowest ebb of our
people’s life in the Feudal era tha t shows his keenest understanding of
the forces tha t mould Jewish history.
Perhaps it is because other historians have not given sufficient emphasis