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Not So Innocent: Wendy Lower’s ‘Hitler’s Furies’ details the involvement of Nazi women as persecutors of Jews.
Not So Innocent: Wendy Lower’s ‘Hitler’s Furies’ details the involvement of Nazi women as persecutors of Jews.

By Julia M. Klein

Published August 30, 2013, issue of September 06, 2013.
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NON-FICTION

● The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler
By Ben Urwand
Belknap Press, $26.95, 336 pages

Out September 10

This stunning book, which details the acquiescence of the American film industry in censorship demands by Hitler and his representatives in the 1930s, has already excited both acclaim and controversy. Urwand, a Junior Fellow in Harvard University’s prestigious Society of Fellows, draws on archival evidence to show that Jewish film moguls abandoned or cut film scripts critical of Nazi Germany in order to preserve revenues from the German film market: truth that does seem stranger than fiction.

● Like dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation
By Yossi Klein Halevi
Harper, $35, 608 pages

Out October 1

The iconic photograph on the cover of American-Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi’s new book shows the Israeli paratroopers who captured the Western Wall from Jordan during the Six Day War. Inside, Halevi tells the stories of seven of those soldiers, and what happened to them after their famous victory. From the fighter who became a settler leader to the one who became an anti-Zionist and a spy for Syria, Halevi’s narrative covers the epic sweep of Israeli politics and society over more than 40 years.

● The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye
By Jeremy Dauber
Schocken, $28.95, 464 pages

Out October 8

A must for every Jewish bookshelf, this is the definitive biography of the Yiddish writer. Best known for the Tevye stories that inspired “Fiddler on the Roof,” the pseudonymous, multilingual Sholem Aleichem (1859–1916) was born in Ukraine. He married into inherited wealth and decided to write in Yiddish to shore up the tradition — even as he explored challenges to it. Dauber, professor of Yiddish literature at Columbia University, knows the territory, and situates the writer in a time of upheaval and transition.

● Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields
By Wendy Lower
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 288 pages

Out October 8

The extent of the complicity of ordinary Germans is one of the great historiographical questions of the Holocaust. Drawing on both archival records and interviews, Lower, a historian at Claremont McKenna College and a consultant for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, chillingly details the involvement of Nazi women as persecutors of Jews in the ghettoes of Eastern Europe and as enthusiastic mass murderers in the killing fields of the Eastern Front.

● The Rise of Abraham Cahan
By Seth Lipsky
Schocken, $26, 240 pages

Out October 15

The founding editor of the English-language Forward and The New York Sun tackles the story of Abraham Cahan (1860–1951), the founding editor of the Jewish Daily Forward. The socialist daily newspaper (launched in 1897) and its advice column, A Bintel Brief, were integral to New York’s assimilating Eastern European Jews and attained national influence. Lipsky is ideally placed to demarcate the relationships among journalism, community and social reform in the world of our grandparents and great-grandparents.

● Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books
By Claudia Roth Pierpont
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27, 368 pages

Out October 22

Essential for Philip Roth enthusiasts, this is a critical evaluation of one our most prolific and prodigiously talented novelists by a longtime New Yorker staff writer (no relation). Rather than a standard biography, “Roth Unbound” is an attempt to interpret the writer through his works — an endeavor both tempting and treacherous, given Roth’s postmodernist manipulations of his autobiography.

● My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel
By Ari Shavit
Spiegel and Grau, $28, 464 pages

Out November 19

Ari Shavit’s British great-grandfather visited Palestine on a Zionist tour in 1897, and his grandparents settled in Jerusalem. Shavit is now a well-known Israeli journalist and television commentator. In “My Promised Land,” he juxtaposes family memoir and narrative history in an elegantly written, fair-minded contribution to the debate about the meaning and future of Israel.

Julia M. Klein is a cultural reporter and critic in Philadelphia and a contributing editor at Columbia Journalism Review. Email her at julklein@verizon.net or follow her on Twitter, @JuliaMKlein


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