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Earth And High Heaven

Most Canadians have never heard of Gwethalyn Graham’s novel, Earth And High Heaven, which was published 75 years ago this year. Although it was a phenomenal commercial success and a literary sensation in its day, it has almost been forgotten today. Published in 1944, when Canada had been at war for five years and Nazi […]

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How It Happened

Shortly after the end of World War II, Uj Elet, a Jewish weekly in Budapest, published an article by a Hungarian Jewish lawyer named Erno Munkacsi about the Holocaust in Hungary. Munkacsi had been the secretary of the Nazi-appointed Jewish Council during that dark period. His piece, an agonizing first-hand account of the process that […]

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A Cornucopia Of Books …

The life and times of a renowned philosopher. A Jewish woman recalls her Russian shtetl. A historically significant battle in Acre during the Third Crusade. The legacy of an Egyptian president. Martin Luther’s hateful message. These are among the themes of a new batch of books that have crossed my desk. Martin Buber, one of […]

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The Escape Line

Megan Koreman’s book has an inspirational tale to tell. The Escape Line: How the Ordinary Heroes of Dutch-Paris Resisted the Nazi Occupation of Western Europe (Oxford University Press) is about an intrepid network that saved lives during World War II. It’s the first work of its kind on the Dutch-Paris Escape Line, which smuggled Dutch […]

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A Memoir By Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 through 2019, had a special place in her heart for Israel. Like two of her predecessors, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, she constantly stood up to the UN’s “anti-Israel bias.” This is a theme that runs through her heart-felt and forthright memoir, With […]

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The Canadian Jewish Experience

Jewish Canadians are integrated into the mosaic of Canadian society, but as Allan Levine reminds a reader in Seeking The Fabled City: The Canadian Jewish Experience, published by McClelland & Stewart, this was not always the case, a theme that frames his reflective and thoughtful work. As he points out in the introduction, “the multicultural […]

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A Hollywood Memoir

Robert Riskin and his wife, Fay Wray, were a Hollywood celebrity couple in the 1940s, when the popularity of movies in American culture reached record heights. Riskin was a master screenwriter, cranking out scripts for classic films that helped define the United States to itself and the world: It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes To […]

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Modern Spain And The Sephardim

Spain’s complex, convoluted and tragic relationship with Jews is the theme of Maite Ojeda-Mata’s comprehensive and nuanced work, Modern Spain and the Sephardim, published by Lexington Books. Beginning her inquiry in the 12th century, when Spain launched its campaign of persecution and expulsion against its Jewish citizens, she then focuses on the 19th and 20th […]

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Broken Lives

The 20th century brought calamity and renewal to Germany, transforming it from a military aggressor into a pillar of European democracy. Germany suffered territorial losses and hyperinflation following its defeat in World War I. The Weimar Republic was a time of hope, but the Depression paved the way for Adolf Hitler’s racist regime, which persecuted its […]

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Intimate Violence

During a tumultuous six-week period in the summer of 1941, following Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union and the retreat of Soviet forces from Poland’s eastern borderlands, a wave of pogroms swept over hundreds of cities, towns and villages in a vast region stretching from the Baltic states in the north to Romania in the […]