Page 31 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 9 (1950-1951)

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AMERICAN BOOKS ON ZIONISM
AND ISRAEL
1949-1950
By
C
a r l
A
l p e r t
W
HEN Palestine was on the agenda of the United Nations,
and when the exploits of the Haganah commanded the at-
tention of the news-gathering agencies, there was some reason
to expect public interest reflected in the publishers’ lists. The
number of volumes on Palestine issued during 1948-1949 was
indeed impressive.
Normally it might have been expected that publishers would
be wary of the subject by this time, fearing that the market had
been over-exploited and that the disappearance of the Palestine
problem from the front pages had curtailed the extent of the po-
tential reading public. The contrary has been true, at least so
far as the publishing production is concerned. Either there has
been a delayed reaction in the writing and printing of these books,
all inspired by the events of a couple of years ago, or the publishers
still have confidence in public receptivity. It is interesting to note
in the list which follows that most of America’s major publishing
houses are represented; each has its own venture in the field. The
appended list contains the names of all books on the subject which
have been published since the excellent survey written by Dr.
Joshua Bloch and published in last year’s
Jewish Book Annual.
There have been a number of splendid juveniles on Israel, but
these are listed separately elsewhere.
Despite the large number of books on Israel or Zionism, it can
not be said that many of the books are imposing or will be long
remembered. Neither can most of them be regarded as outstand-
ing commercial successes, with the exception of the Arthur Koestler
book. There has long been speculation as to the extent that non-
Jews buy books of Jewish interest, but the question remains un-
answered. Even the success of John Hersey’s
The Wall
does not
provide a reliable barometer. One would guess, however, that
with the exception of three or four titles in the following list, most
of these books were bought by Jewish readers.
Even a quick survey will reveal the wide range of topics covered,
with several developments of significance. There has been a dimi-
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