Reviews

Books

Beyond the Narrow Straits of Memory

We must face stories of suffering children, as well as the stories of suffering that we tell to children, in order to understand the religious tropes at work in American culture…. By facing our wounds across boundaries, we can struggle toward the blueprints of rebuilding our memoryscape.
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Books

To Deserve Such Pain

During his lifetime, Leonid Tsypkin, who survived Hitler and Stalin only to face the sterility to post-war Soviet life, was forced to write “for the drawer.” Discovered by today’s audience, his style, which blurs the background while simultaneously capturing the specific, has special resonance in an age of near-total surveillance.
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Books

A Painful Past Remembered from Within: Frederic Tubach’s Book on the German Experience During the Third Reich

At once a crash course in the history of Nazi Germany and a weaving together of non-Jewish Germans’ personal recollections, German Voices conveys a sense of what life was like for the average person living under Hitler. While acknowledging that no amount of understanding or empathy can heal the generational wounds of the Holocaust, Tubach nevertheless brings an identifiable human dimension to a period of history that is often dismissed as too horrific to comprehend.
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Books

Dream-Wizardry: A Collaboration Between Rodger Kamenetz and Michael Hafftka

Jacob and Joseph begat Freud who begat Jung, who begat the poet Rodger Kamenetz and the visual artist Michael Hafftka. Their collaborative wizardry, published in the book To Die Next To You, is stunning. The poems and drawings (always paired) create vivid, waking dreams on psychological and spiritual subjects—dreams that are as resistant and open to interpretation as Pharaoh’s.
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Books

Very Much Present at the Creation: John Judis’s Book on American Jews and the Establishment of Israel

Judis’s Genesis, which stresses the importance of American Jewish/Zionist activism and lobbying in persuading President Harry Truman to support the establishment of a Jewish state, is not that different from the received narrative. What is different is that Judis makes explicit that he doesn’t understand how American Jewish liberals could so completely forsake their liberal ideas in opposing Palestinian efforts to retain their homeland.
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Books

Alona Kimhi’s Magical Brutalism

Lily La Tigresse is unsparing in its critique, but it’s also seminal in terms of launching its indictment of Israel—a society that, in Kimhi’s view, is no more generous or compassionate than the barbarous terrain of Europe, not to mention the U.S.S.R.
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Books

Doing Justice in an Unjust World

Thad Williamson reviews Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation by Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda.
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Books

Woolf, West, and the Conundrum of Veterans

Arguably the two most immediate—and in my judgment, truest—books from the Great War, in spite of Hemingway’s assertion that there were none, were written by authors who not only never set foot on the battlefield; neither of them was a male.
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Culture

Where Is Home? A Revolution in Our Personal Lives

Harriet Fraad reviews books by Eric Klinenberg, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Hannah Rosin, and Charles Murray.
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Culture

Democratizing Wealth, Democratizing Power

Thad Williamson reviews What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution by Gar Alperovitz.
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Books

Spirituality in a Broken World

Larry Rasmussen reviews Spirituality: What It Is and Why It Matters by Roger S. Gottlieb.
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Books

Queering Palestinian Solidarity Work

Wendy Elisheva Somerson reviews Israel/Palestine and the Queer International by Sarah Schulman.
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Books

An End to Easy Answers: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s New Memoir

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore describes decades of queer activism in her new memoir, which is often scarring, startling, and never easy. But Sycamore confronts the problems in her life with real feeling, showing that emotion—if genuine—can often break us out of the corporate-sponsored numbness which so inundates our culture.
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Books

Hark! The Psychiatrists Sing, Hoping Glory for that Revised DSM Thing!

The DSM-5 is full of labels and misconceptions. Avoid it, if you can. If you can’t, at least know how it manipulates medical information to turn various mind-states into “disorders” and “diseases” which must be “cured.” The truth is, psychiatry can be a wonderful and holistic discipline, when not in the clutches of Pharma and the often useless drugs that industry peddles.
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Books

Dollarocracy and the Fight to Get Money Out of Politics

That the corporate-driven “medium” overcomes almost any conceivable “message” is one of the clearest lessons of the election of 2012. A review of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney
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