Page 51 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

Basic HTML Version

39
BLOCH----THE YEAR’S BOOKSHELF
French of being an English secret agent. Made increasingly
aware of her equivocal position by frequent inquiring visits from
security officers, both French and British, Armande decided to
take measures. She sought out and offered her services to David
Nachmias, one of the Jewish Agency’s expert Arabists, then work-
ing with British Intelligence. Her first assignment was a brilliant
success — technically. It involved wheedling a cache of the best
of his hoarded arms from old Sheikh Wadiah Ghoraib, a Maronite
Christian Arab who ruled a principality of his own in the hills of
Lebanon. When Armande discovered that the arms she had
wangled so proudly for her country were actually destined for a
future war against it in Palestine she was disgusted. It becomes
a story of a war within a war and the scene of the story shifts to
Palestine, as it focuses on the tensions gathering between the
British and the Jewish Agency, personified by Nachmias, and the
Agency and the Irgunists, who threaten the great Zionist dream.
The characters in the novel are colorful; some of the minor ones
are comic, some pathetic, some astute and powerful and some
fanatical and vicious, but they are all interesting. Such characters
still keep Palestine on the list of the world’s urgent and difficult
problems.
Two stories comprise
Straw to make brick
, a first novel by Alan
Marcus (Boston, Little, Brown, ’48), the second of which con-
cerns the feelings of a Jewish GI, Corporal Mark Gordon, of
A. M. G., who must day by day deal with the people who exter-
minated six million of his own people. As an added cause of
bitterness, his brother was among the GI’s shot down ruthlessly
by German tankers at Malmedy after surrendering. In spite of
all this and family opposition from both sides, he falls in love with
Elsa Bruner, a beautiful German girl whose own father was de-
capitated by the Nazis but whose brother returns from the battle-
fields a bitter German nationalist. Though striving to be objective
in the performance of his official duties, Mark’s attitude is at
first, nevertheless, one of cold hatred and distrust toward all
Germans. After falling in love with Elsa, he relents a bit, but
when Elsa fails to report a mutinous scheme in which her brother
is involved, Mark breaks with her. The story ends on a note of
failure.
The great hope
by Marguerita Rudolph (N. Y., Day, ’48) shows
the bitter struggles of a Jewish family in the Ukraine between
two World Wars. Fanya, the oldest daughter, finds means in the
new order to educate herself for service in the Soviet Union. Vinya,
the second daughter, takes her baby twin sisters to America after
her parents’ ghastly death at the hands of bandits.
Four literary masterpieces by distinguished non-Jews about