Nextbook Press Stream
We would like to extend wishes for warm family gatherings to Nextbook Press readers this season. Janet Maslin writes in her Times review of When General Grant Expelled the Jews, “Anyone seeking to rock the Passover Seder with political debate will find the perfect conversation piece in Mr. Sarna’s account of this startling American story.” The Civil War has always had a seat at the table during Passover. With President Lincoln’s assassination occurring on the fifth day in 1865, synagogue services took on mournful tones, grieving the loss of a leader who did great work on behalf of American Jewry—overturning General Grant’s General Order #11 among other feats. Tropes of freedom and slavery saddles both recollections of Moses and Lincoln.
So in inviting General Grant to the table, and in turn perhaps allowing substantive political discourse at your gathering, here are a few more highlights of Nextbook offerings relevant to Passover:
Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about how such a remarkable collection of documents came to exist, the many characters—from Schechter to a woman from the Middle Ages known as “Wuhsha the Broker”—associated with it, and what its contents reveal about historical celebrations of Passover. (April 2011)
An excerpt (p.27):
The Wicked Son
Also pick up Mamet’s Passover-inspired meditation on anti -Semitism, self-hatred and the Jews.
“This book, the most detailed study of the topic to date, takes readers from the issuing of the order to Grant’s demise. Sarna sheds light on a little-known aspect of the Civil War and the experience and treatment of Jews during the mid-to late 19th century. A valuable addition to all collections for Civil War and presidential history buffs and specialists, as well as for students of American Jewish history.”
Deborah Lipstadt | History After The Witnesses: When the survivors are gone, Holocaust education will lose a powerful tool
When I first began teaching the history of the Holocaust in the 1970s I invited a survivor of Auschwitz to speak to my students. It was the first time she had ever spoken publicly about her experiences, and was a profoundly moving moment for her as well as for the students. After that, having witnessed the power of the voice of the person who can speak in the first-person singular, I invited survivors to the class regularly. Their stories — some would call it testimony — galvanized the students’ interest, putting a human face on the history that they had been studying during the semester. It left far more of an impression than any of my lectures. Read more…
Wayne Hoffman Wins Stonewall Book Award
We are excited to announce that Nextbook Press deputy editor Wayne Hoffman has been awarded the Stonewall Book Award for literature for his novel, Sweet Like Sugar. The novel tells the story of the chance meeting and unlikely friendship between a young gay man and an older Orthodox rabbi.
Hoffman discussed the book with Vox Tablet this summer.
“Sacred Trash” wins Sophie Brody Medal; three honor titles also named
“Sacred Trash: the Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza” by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole (Schocken Books) is the 2012 recipient of the he Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Sophie Brody Medal Award for outstanding Jewish literature.
The award is an annual honor bestowed by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of RUSA, and is funded by Arthur Brody and the Brodart Foundation. It is given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible for the award.
“Sacred Trash” recounts the discovery and retrieval of worn-out Jewish documents from the Cairo Geniza. In this religiously-mandated repository, medieval documents were found that render a fascinating view of a 900-year span of a vibrant Mediterranean Jewish culture by examining not only sacred texts, but also wills, contracts, letters and other everyday documents.
The committee also selected three honor books:
“Jerusalem: the Biography” by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Alfred A. Knopf): This book provides an in-depth and balanced history of Jerusalem up to the Six-Day War. Montefiore covers the origins and evolutions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all of which have claims to the city, as well as the struggles that each group has faced throughout history. While the book is highly informative, its accessible style keeps the reader engaged.
“MetaMaus” by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon Books): Spiegelman explains his motivations and challenges in creating “Maus”, which is based on his parents’ Holocaust experiences. He also explains why he used a comic book format, as well as the difficulties he had in maintaining an accurate picture that corresponded to his father’s stories. Spiegelman also discusses how the world received “Maus” and his challenges in maintaining its integrity.
“Quiet Americans: Stories” by Erika Dreifus (Last Light Studio Books): This little book of short stories is a gem that anyone can read and enjoy. Its straightforward writing and understandable stories about German Jews and their descendants bring us into the everyday lives of Jewish Americans. Some stories are interrelated, but they stand alone in their own right.
The winner and honor books were selected by the Sophie Brody Medal Award Committee, whose members include Edward Kownslar, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (Chair); Emily Bergman, University of Southern California; Asia Gross, St. Charles City-County Library District; Danise Hoover, Hunter College; Judy Korn, Johnson County Community College; and Deborah Luchenbill, State Historical Society of Missouri.
Enjoy the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club this month, sponsored by Nextbook Press and our latest BEN-GURION: A POLITICAL LIFE by SHIMON PERES.
There she goes…
SACRED TRASH and THE EICHMANN TRIAL have been chosen as finalists in the 2011 National Jewish Book Awards. Congratulations to Adina Hoffman, Peter Cole, and Deborah Lipstadt from Nextbook Press.