Adam Kirsch is a contributing editor for Tablet Magazine and the author of Benjamin Disraeli, a biography in the Nextbook Press Jewish Encounters book series.
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Three-Part Harmony

A new book shows how Nazism and the Ku Klux Klan prompted the American establishment to look beyond longstanding divisions and see Catholics, Protestants, and Jews as kin

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Youth in Revolt

A new edition of Walter Benjamin’s early work sheds light his first reckonings with Jewishness and offers glimpses of the powerful thinker he would ultimately become

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House Divided

The history of the synagogue in America, a new book shows, is one of rifts, splits, factions, and the ever-evolving tension between tradition and modernity

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Paddle Tale

In The Mighty Walzer, Howard Jacobson serves up not just the greatest ping-pong novel ever written but a rollicking portrait of mid-century Jewish Manchester

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National Treasure

A critical edition of The Washington Haggadah, a 1478 manuscript housed at the Library of Congress, shows how much—and how little—Passover has changed since the 15th century

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La Dolce Vita

The Free World, David Bezmozgis’ novel about a family of Soviet émigrés stuck in Rome waiting for visas to North America, explores the joys—and costs—of newfound liberty

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Rooted

Jacqueline Osherow’s latest collection, Whitethorn, offers poems engaged at once with the literature of the Jewish past and the landscape of the American present

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Tried and True

In his 1988 novel Fiasco—only now available in English—Hungarian Nobel laureate Imre Kertész imagines an author exhausted by the Holocaust yet unable to write about anything else

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Makeover

A new Modigliani biography tries to undo the painter’s reputation for drunken excess and bolster his standing as a serious artist

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Evil Inclination

In Jerusalem, Jerusalem, James Carroll uses the city as a metaphor for the human tendency to combine religion with violence

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Dreams of Zion

A new book examines black, Jewish, and Irish quests for national redemption, identifying their century-old similarities but ignoring their more recent differences

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Alternate Route

A new book charts the course of America’s Hebraists, literary iconoclasts who eschewed Yiddish and the Holy Land—and regarded their new home with deep ambivalence

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Known and Unknown

Americans say that the Bible is central to them—a divine instruction manual for life on earth. How is it, then, a new book asks, that they know so little of it?

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Cost Analysis

In a new book, Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh assesses what Palestinians stand to gain from the creation of their own state—and what they stand to lose

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Macho Man

Exodus recast Israel’s founders as swaggering heroes and secured Leon Uris a place on the Jewish bookshelf even though, as a new biography shows, he was a mediocre writer and a troubled person

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Mugged by Reality

Irving Kristol positioned himself as a hard-headed realist willing to buck liberal pieties, but do his unsentimental pronouncements, collected in a new volume, stand the test of time?

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Prescient

I.J. Singer’s newly reissued The Brothers Ashkenazi may not be on par with the greatest realist epics, but it is an eerie foretelling of Eastern European Jewry’s eventual fate

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Ashen

In Thera, the Israeli novelist Zeruya Shalev likens her protagonist’s divorce to an epic volcano eruption on the Greek island of Santorini some 3,600 years ago

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Nowhere Man

The poet Joseph Brodsky, kicked out of the USSR and never fully at ease writing in English, was a man of many residences and few homes, as a new biography shows

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Final Verse

In the poems of Silver Roses, the late Rachel Wetzsteon—who took her own life last year—is still very much alive

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The Structuralist

A biography explores Claude Lévi-Strauss’ fascination with what makes cultures tick

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Bordering on Malicious

The new Words Without Borders anthology of writing from the Middle East is marred by a key omission

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Devastated

Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands contextualizes the story of Eastern European Jewry’s sad fate without relativizing it

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Caught on Film

An Israeli historian uses an iconic photograph to tell five intertwined stories of the Warsaw Ghetto

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Divided Soul

A new biography examines the conflicting passions that animated the life and work of Dybbuk playwright S. An-sky

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Convertito

The Jews of San Nicandro tells the remarkable story of a group of Fascist-era Italian peasants who became Jews and ultimately made aliyah

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Last Exit

In Gal Beckerman’s telling, the story of the Soviet Jewry movement becomes one of modern Jewish history’s great dramas

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Homecomings

A museum exhibition and a new translation from the Yiddish examine ‘heritage travel’ in the 1930s

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Counter-Revelations

In his subtle translations of the Bible’s Wisdom Books—Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job—Robert Alter highlights the canon’s subversive side

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Life During Wartime

In Nemesis, Philip Roth conjures Jewish Newark amid a 1944 polio outbreak