Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pogrom: Kishinev and The Tilt of History by Steven Zapperstein

An Autodidactic Corner Selection 

Pogram Kishinev and the Tilt of History by Seven Zapperstein is a wonderful book.  It tells a detailed story about a pogram that took place in Tsarist Russia in April 1903 and included the murder of 49 Jews, the rape of many Jewish women and girls, the wounding of about 600 and the robbing and destruction of over 1000 Jewish owned homes and businesses.  Zapperstein goes into a lot of detail about what happened during those three terrible days in 1903.  People from neighboring areas actually brought in wagons to carry away stolen items.  

News of the pogram was widely written about in the American and English press.  The Hearst newspaper powerhouse gave very heavy coverage of the pogram.  Zapperstein explains how this journalism lead to the creation of The NAACP largely by New York City based Jews who saw in the wide spread lynching of Black men in the American south a horror much like the Kishinev Pogram.  Zapperstein details how to this very day the pogram caused most American Jews to be liberals.

One of the most valuable parts of this great history is Zapperstein’s account of how pogram lead to one of the most evil forgeries ever done, the 1909 production of The Protocals of The Elders of Zion.  This work, in which an Assembly of Jews allegedly laid out a plan to achieve world domination provided much of the justification for the Holocaust and is believed to this day by many idiots to be real.   It was written in part to excuse Russian government backed pograms. For me this alone makes this book must reading for the autodidactic.

Zapperstein also covers Jewish literary treatment of the pogram, iCultural impact it had on the founders of the Israeli Army.

Pogram Kishinev and the Tilt of History by Seven Zapperstein is an elegant work, deeply researched, very well organized.  It is not overly academic.  I think anyone with a serious interest in 20th century history will be glad they read this book.  It is must reading for those into Jewish history.

Steven J. Zipperstein is the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University. He has also taught at universities in Russia, Poland, France, and Israel; for six years, he taught at Oxford University. For sixteen years he was Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford. He is the author and editor of eight books including The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History (1986, winner of the Smilen Prize for the Outstanding book in Jewish history); Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism (1993, winner of the National Jewish Book Award); Imagining Russian Jewry (1999); and Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing (2008, shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award in Biography, Autobiography and Memoir). 

Zipperstein’s articles have appeared in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, the Washington Post, The New Republic, the Jewish Review of Books, Chronicle of Higher Education and elsewhere.  He was editor of the journal Jewish Social Studies for twenty years, and the book series Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture for a quarter of a century.  Together with Anita Shapira, he is series editor of the Yale University Press/Leon Black Foundation Jewish Lives series. Zipperstein is the immediate past Chair of the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History, in New York and is currently Chair of the Stanford History Department's Graduate Studies Committee.  .  From Stanford University

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