Tag: non-fiction

The oldest family tree in the world

From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 24, 2004 You may not find Dr. Neil Rosenstein’s new book listed on national best-seller lists, but the noted genealogist — with his tongue halfway in his cheek — compares it to the popular thriller “The Da Vinci Code.” Both books, the noted American genealogist and surgeon said, deal in…

Review of ‘Toronto: Biography of A City’ (Allan Levine)

Ambitious in scope and masterful in execution, Allan Levine’s panoramic portrait of our city from its beginnings to the present is sweeping and opinionated, judicious and clever, insightful and gossipy all at once. This is no dry academic survey but a lively, popular-style “biography” in the mode of Peter Ackroyd’s London (2000) and other recent…

Review: Alison Pick’s Between Gods

Seven years ago, as Toronto author Alison Pick began researching and writing what would become her prize-winning novel Far to Go, she realized that the seeds of two different projects — one a fictional manuscript, the other a closely allied memoir — were struggling for dominance within her mind. Giving priority to the novel, she…

Stefan Zweig’s ‘Impossible Exile’

Review of: The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World, by George Prochnik (Other Press, New York) From the Canadian Jewish News, June 2014 Born in Vienna in 1881, Austrian-Jewish writer Stefan Zweig was one of Europe’s most popular and most-translated writers until the Nazis forced him and countless others into exile in…

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…

New serial: The Girls I Might Have Married (1919)

Part One in a series of sketches by a prominent Canadian Jewish bachelor By Anonymous (originally serialized in 1919) Foreword I hope that none who read this chronicle of my adventures into the field of pro-matrimony (if I may so call it) will feel that I am writing in a spirit of boastfulness. On the…

‘Bushmeat,’ documentary by Dawna Treibicz (2001)

From Canadian Jewish News, October 22, 2001 Bushmeat, an hour-long television documentary soon to air on the Discovery Channel, is a riveting, tautly-edited expose of the illicit trade in gorilla and chimpanzee meat in Cameroon and other countries of Central Africa. Toronto filmmaker Dawna Treibicz defied the odds to make this film about a subject that…

‘My Mother’s Secret’ (Witterick) is riveting read

My Mother’s Secret, by J. L. Witterick, and other titles So many books, so little time. In my years of reviewing books, I have always endeavoured to focus not only on works from great international writers (Ozick, Englander, Stern, Roth, et al) but also on works from lesser known writers from our own national community.…

Review: “The Juggler’s Children,” by Carolyn Abraham

The late eminent American genealogist Rabbi Malcolm Stern once observed that there is nothing so fascinating to a person as his own genealogical research, and often, nothing so boring as being stuck at a dinner table with a family-tree enthusiast who insists upon endlessly discussing their latest research. With her recent book The Juggler’s Children:…

An 1839 travelogue through the Jewish world

In the year 1839, had you been a traveller along the road from Rzeszov to Cracow, you would have been obliged to show a passport in Podgorze, the suburb of Cracow on the Austrian side of the Vistula (“Weichsel”) River. After submitting to a cursory inspection from Austrian officials, your vehicle would have crossed the…