Bill Gladstone

Sledgehammer: An ambassadorial account of the Abraham Accords

Book review: Sledgehammer: How Breaking With The Past Brought Peace To The Middle East, by David Friedman, former US Ambassador to Israel. HarperCollins, 2022. In Sledgehammer, lawyer-turned-ambassador David Friedman offers some excellent background to the important story of the Abraham Accords, which stand as the most significant development in Middle East peace since Israel’s treaties…

Silas Hardoon, richest man in Asia

­Silas Aaron Hardoon was born into a poor Jewish family in Baghdad in 1851, but when he died in Shanghai China 80 years later, he was regarded as the wealthiest man in Asia, leaving behind a fortune worth as much as $15 billion in today’s dollars. When Hardoon arrived in Shanghai as a youth of…

Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews (review)

Shanghai’s Baghdadi Jews: A Collection of Biographical Reflections, by Maisie J. Meyer, author and editor. Large format, 480 pages, softcover. Blacksmith Books, Hong Kong, 2015. Shanghai’s community of Ashkenazic Jews, who arrived from Poland and elsewhere in Europe in the early 20th century and in advance of the Holocaust, is already fairly well-known. What is…

The Most Tenacious of Minorities: the Jews of Italy (review)

Review: The Most Tenacious of Minorities: The Jews of Italy, by Sara Reguer. Hardcover, 190 pages. Boston: published by Academic Studies Press, 2013. www. academicstudiespress.com The Jews have been booted out of so many places during their history, it seems only natural that they should have a long and colourful past in the Italian “boot.”…

Jewish Glasgow: An Illustrated History

Jewish Glasgow: An Illustrated History. By Kenneth Collins, Harvey Kaplan and Stephen Kliner. Published by the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre. Hardcover, large format, fully illustrated in colour, 192 pages. www.sjac.org.uk Jews have been in Scotland for a little more than three centuries, but in Glasgow for just about two centuries, and the Jewish community in…

Becoming Hapsburg: The Jews of Austrian Bukovina

Becoming Hapsburg: The Jews of Austrian Bukovina, 1774-1918, by David Rechter. Hardcover, 214 pages. Published by The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization. Portland, Oregon, 2013. www.littman.co.uk Author David Rechter, a research fellow in Modern Jewish History at Oxford, has made a full-length and comprehensively researched study of the Jews of Austrian Bukovina, beginning with the…

Review: ‘Our Litvak Heritage’

Our Litvak Inheritance, Volumes One and Two of Our Litvak and South African Jewish Inheritance, compiled by David Solly Sandler. Three large-format paperback volumes with b&w illustrations , published 2016.   Like most South African Jews, Sandler’s ancestors emigrated to South Africa from Lithuania between 1880 and 1920. A thorough historical researcher but not what…

Three Minutes in Poland illuminates a lost world

Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film, by Glenn Kurtz. Trade paperback, 420 pages. Published 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. www.fsgbooks.com In the summer of 1938, the author’s American grandparents, David and Liza Kurtz, took a six-week European vacation that included a brief visit to a Polish town,…

Peddlars All: Ashkenazi Jewish settlers in Barbados

From Avotaynu, 2018 Peddlers All: Stories of the First Ashkenazi Jewish Settlers in Barbados, edited by Simon Kreindler. Trade paperback, softcover, 450 pages. US $35. Published privately in 2017 by the author; iamsimonkreindler @gmail.com The British colonized the Caribbean island of Barbados in 1627, and the first Jewish settlers arrived the following year. In 1654,…

Adeline Moses Loeb and her early American Jewish Ancestors

Book Review: An American Experience: Adeline Moses Loeb (1876-1953) and Her Early American Jewish Ancestors. Contributors are John L. Loeb, Jr., Kathy L. Plotkin, Margaret Loeb Kempner and Judith E. Endelman, with an introduction by Eli N. Evans. Hardcover, large format, full colour, 350 pages, plus large genealogical poster in back pocket. Published by the…