Page 325 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

Basic HTML Version

1993 NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARDS
317
might. As a Jewish novel, it recreates the dramatic tension of
the Jewish people who, always on the brink of national destruc­
tion, somehow find the means to assure national continuity. We
are grateful once again for the superb translation of Hillel
Halkin, who has made accessible to English-speaking readers
yet one more masterpiece of Hebrew writing.
HOLOCAUST
T
he
L
eon
J
ol son
A
ward
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution
in Poland,
by Christopher R. Browning (Aaron Asher Books/
HarperCollins)
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution
in Poland,
by Christopher Browning, is not only a work of sound
scholarship, it is a chilling account of how “ordinary men” can
commit monstrous acts. It is a reminder that, given the proper
circumstances — i.e. peer pressure, social setting, political con­
ditions — most people are unable or unwilling to think or act
morally if they have to act alone. The book is also a searing
indictment of man’s ability to rationalize his inhumanity.
ISRAEL
T h e M o r r i s
J.
a n d B e t t y K a p lu n A w a r d
Land and Power: The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881-1948 ,
by Anita
Shapira, translated by William Templer (Oxford University
Press)
Anita Shapira’s
Land and Power: The Zionist Resort to Force,
1881 -1948
sensitively examines how the ethos of the Yishuv in
Palestine evolved from a “defensive” to an “offensive” posture
prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. The first gen­
eration of socialist Zionist settler-workers, restrained by a ro­
mantic faith in ethics and justice, was succeeded in the 1940’s
by native-born children determined to fight for the indepen­
dence of their beloved homeland. This dramatic transformation
in Jewish history, sparked by the Arab Rebellion of 1936-1939
and morally justified by the Holocaust, has been analyzed by
Prof. Shapira with thoroughness, objectivity, and a compelling
style.