Tag: American

Review of The 40s: The Story of A Decade (New Yorker)

Monuments Men, a new movie directed by George Clooney and starring Clooney and an impressive roster of A-list actors, tells the story of the special Allied unit tasked with rescuing artistic treasures looted by the Nazis from European museums and galleries during World War Two. The film is based loosely on Robert Edsel’s 2009 book…

Author Joshua Max Feldman on ‘Book of Jonah’

From Canadian Jewish News, May 2014 Jonah Jacobson is a young Manhattan lawyer immersed in an important legal deal that could make him a partner, and in relationships with two beautiful women each in love with him, when the heavens open up and he has a bizarre and unexpected Biblical vision at a party. Suddenly…

A memoir of novelist Bernard Malamud by his daughter

My Father Is A Book: A Memoir of Bernard Malamud, by Janna Malamud Smith (Counterpoint Berkeley) One hundred years after his birth in 1914, acclaimed novelist and short-story writer Bernard Malamud has been surprisingly overlooked by biographers — in large part because his family had blocked access to his private papers. But in recent years…

Review: The Rise of Abraham Cahan, by Seth Lipsky

From the Canadian Jewish News, January 2014 Ninety years ago, New York newspaper editor Abraham Cahan was at the epicentre of international Jewish affairs — not a newsmaker himself but an opinion-maker, someone who had an extraordinary and powerful influence on the Jewish masses in New York, around the Diaspora and in pre-state Israel. As…

Meeting Nehemiah Persoff at David’s Deli, San Francisco

The rumbling is sudden and loud and the floor vibrates intensely. Yet patrons in this darkened theatre on Pier 39 in the Fisherman’s Wharf district remain calm. And why not? They have paid $7 to attend the San Francisco Experience, a 28-minute multi-media show that promises that “you will feel the earth shake.” Utilizing a…

Remembering screenwriter Robert Riskin

Certainly you’ve seen of some of the movies that he wrote — the list includes Lady for a Day (1933), It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Lost Horizon (1937), You Can’t Take It With You (1938) and Meet John Doe (1941) — but you may be forgiven if you don’t…

Devil in the White City: Murder & Chicago World’s Fair, 1893

In this riveting page-turner that reads like a murder mystery thriller, Erik Larson resurrects the legend of a forgotten American psychopathic mass murderer, the cold-blooded H. H. Holmes, and overlays it atop the equally dusty story of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, one of the most impressive achievements of gilded-age America. Satisfying the modern…

“David Levinsky:” Cahan’s classic novel of Jewish immigration

Literary critics often express hallowed praise for writers who have contributed brilliant works to English literature but whose first language was not English. Two supreme examples come to mind. Polish-born Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) did not learn English until he was in his twenties, yet he became one of the language’s great novelists and story tellers…

The Potash and Perlmutter Stories

For years the magazines sent him rejection letters, inferring that his short stories about a pair of Jewish cloak and suit makers in New York were about as unmarketable as last year’s suits and dresses. But in the early 1900s Montague Glass broke through to the big time as major American magazines like The Saturday…

Review: The Book of Mischief, Steve Stern

The Book of Mischief: New & Selected Stories, by Steve Stern. Published by Graywolf Press. Once, as a young teenager, I had an uncanny, almost otherworldly experience that seemed to free me momentarily from the confines of my familiar world. I’d had an emotional scene at home (the details are forgotten) and needed an escape.…