Page 38 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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JEWI SH BOOK ANNUAL
32
her career in the years of her life companionship with her distin-
guished husband in the furtherance of great causes in social and
civil welfare. I t reveals how a great woman and a courageous
Jew lived and served.
Life in the slums of New York and the problems they present
to social workers and others who are concerned with improving
the lot of the poor and of the underprivileged is to a very large
and vivid degree reflected in the pages of
Oath of devotion
, the
autobiography of Julius Isaacs (N. Y., Dutton, 1949), a former
New York magistrate. As one who is concerned with making
New York City a more decent place for human beings to live in,
he tells an exciting and important story. The son of a poor,
orthodox Jewish immigrant family, with pride and ambition suffi-
cient to provide an education for the future judge, he was a taciturn
youth full of fears, who compensated for a sense of inferiority by
excelling in debate.
In
So fa r so good
(N. Y., Harper, 1948), another segment of his
autobiography, Morris L. Ernst, with gayety, humor, indignation
and an unwavering sense of fairness, the famous lawyer, author
of
The best is yet
, writes of his fascinating adventures in happy
living and liberal crusading. In his opposition to Zionism, he is
almost as hysterical as he is in his opposition to Communists
whom he rates only a shade less dangerous to human liberty than
the National Association of Manufacturers.
The memoirs and reflections of Bernard Berenson, a noted
American art historian for many years residing in Italy, in which
he looks back over the course of his life and analyzes the many
and varying influences that have molded his philosophy are pre-
sented in
Sketch fo r a self-portrait
(N. Y., Pantheon, 1949). I t is
an assessment of his personality and a psychological self-study.
Indeed, it is a little memoir by one who is passionately concerned
with his own personality. The book was written in Italy between
1941 and 1945 while the author was in hiding from the Nazis. His
Sketch
is devoid of dates, almost bare of the persons and places
that fill and overflow most autobiographies. One would have
liked to know more about the Lithuanian boyhood of the scion
of the first Jewish family of his city, more about his coming to
America, much more about his experiences and reflections while
in hiding during the war, of which only a brief summation is given.
His promised
Diary
will probably offer the details.
Much of the material which make up
Wine
,
women and words
,
by Billy Rose, illustrated by Salvador Dali (N. Y., Simon &
Schuster, 1948), is autobiographical and decidedly entertaining.
A man of parts, Billy Rose has made a successful career in various
ventures, largely in public entertainment. Now he seems to take