Page 39 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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33
BLOCH ---- THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
an engaging pleasure in his own success, from his native New
York’s Lower East Side to his house in Westchester.
Interesting and decidedly autobiographical are the stories which
comprise
Sweet and sour
, by Joseph Wechsberg (Boston, Houghton
Mifflin, 1948), a collection of tales of the author’s youth in Czecho-
Slovakia and of his subsequent career as an international free-
lance-fiddler. The Hitlerian ravages have left few traces of that
society of “emancipated” German-speaking middle-class Jews
who lived, betwixt Czechs and Sudeten Germans, in the old
Bohemian and Moravian towns, the subjects of the author’s
tales.
Much of his own experiences as a naval Chaplain in the last
War is revealed by the late Rabbi Henry Joseph Berkowitz in
his
Boot camp
(Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1948), a
story of the adventures of young “ Buck” Levy who landed in a
predominantly Jewish training outfit in his boot camp where he
encountered antisemitism.
In
Mr. Benjamin s sword
, illustrated by Hershel Levit (Phila-
delphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1948), Robert David Abra-
hams tells of Judah P. Benjamin’s escape from Richmond just
after the Civil War. The book represents an endeavor to famil-
iarize young readers with episodes in the life of the distinguished
Jewish member of Jefferson Davis’ cabinet, and the “brains” of
the Confederacy.
A personal and engaging account of her participation in many
ventures for improving the lot of the women and the under-
privileged is contained in Mrs. Lucy Robins Lang’s autobiography
entitled
Tomorrow is beautiful
(N. Y., Macmillan, 1948). She
tells of her early life in Ukraine, of her experiences in slums and
sweatshops and of her faith that tomorrow can be beautiful.
Hcrrsecars and cobblestones
, by Sophie B. Ruskay (N. Y., Beech-
hurst, 1948), is a book of reminiscences of a Jewish childhood in
which the author describes her immigrant parents and their family
at the turn of the century in New York. Social and communal
Jewish life on New York’s East Side at the turn of the century
are described with authenticity and feeling.
Moritz Julius Bonn, a liberal and an intellectual who became a
professor and taught economics in various German, British and
American colleges, presents in his
Wandering scholar
(N. Y., Day,
1948) an interesting volume of reminiscences in which the dreams
and discussions of German liberals in Frankfurt of a hundred years
ago are recounted.
American spiritual autobiographies
edited by Louis Finkelstein
(N. Y., Harper, 1949) represents reflections and personal experi-
ences of fifteen Americans, through which they affirm their faith