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  • Book Notes

American Jewish Life

The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism, by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007. 296 pp. $65.00 (c); $24.95 (p). ISBN 978-0-253-34902-6 (c); 978-0-253-21927-5 (p).

Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz exposes and challenges the common assumptions about who and what Jews are, by presenting in their own voices, Jews of color from the Iberian Peninsula, Asia, Africa, and India. Kaye/Kantrowitz argues that Jews are an increasingly multiracial people. The author examines the historical and contemporary views on Jews and whiteness as well as the complexities of African/Jewish relations, the racial mix and disparate voices of the Jewish community, contemporary Jewish anti-racist and multicultural models, and the diasporic state of Jewish life in the United States.

Art and Music

Anselm Kiefer / Paul Celan: Myth, Mourning and Memory, by Andréa Lauterwein. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2007. 256 pp. $75.00. ISBN 978-0-500-23836-3.

Celan's poetry, inextricably linked with the memory of the Holocaust, has haunted Kiefer's work for more than twenty-five years and has influenced him on every level, from the naming of works and exhibitions to the incorporation of symbolic materials from Celan's imagery into the physical reality of his paintings. Illustrated with reproductions of Kiefer's best-known works, this book explores the web of associations between the poet and the painter. [End Page 224]

Biblical and Rabbinic Literature

The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary, by Robert Alter. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. 517 pp. $35.00. ISBN 978-0-393-06226-7.

Robert Alter's The Book of Psalms captures the simplicity, the physicality, and the coiled rhythmic power of the Hebrew. His commentary shines a light on the obscurities of the text.

The Judas Brief: Who Really Killed Jesus?, by Gary Greenberg. New York: Continuum, 2007. 276 pp. $29.95. ISBN 978-0-8264-8999-9.

The Judas Brief challenges the fundamental Gospel concept that at least some leading Jews played a key role in having Jesus executed. Gary Greenberg provides a detailed examination of all Gospel accounts of hostile interaction between Jesus and the Jews, with special attention to the Jewish and Roman trials of Jesus.

Biography, Autobiography, Memoirs, Diaries

Adorno in America, by David Jenemann. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. 243 pp. $22.95. ISBN 978-0-8166-4809-2.

The German philosopher and cultural critic Theodor W. Adorno was one of the towering intellectual figures of the twentieth century, and between 1938 and 1953 he lived in exile in the United States. In this account of this period of Adorno's life, David Jenemann examines Adorno's confrontation with the burgeoning American "culture industry" and casts new light on Adorno's writings about the mass media. Contrary to the widely held belief—even among his defenders—that Adorno was disconnected from America and disdained its culture, Jenemann reveals that Adorno was an active and engaged participant in cultural and intellectual life during these years.

Einstein: A Biography, by Jürgen Neffe, translated by Shelley Frisch. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. 461 pp. $30.00. ISBN 978-0-374-14664-1.

Born in Ulm, Germany, in 1879, Einstein is most famous for his theory of relativity. He also made enormous contributions to quantum mechanics and cosmology, and for his work he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921. A self-pronounced pacifist, humanist, and, late in his life, democratic socialist, Einstein was also deeply concerned with the social impact of his discoveries. Unearthing new documents, including a series of previously unknown letters from Einstein to his sons, which shed new light on his [End Page 225] role as a father, Neffe paints a portrait of the tumultuous years in which Einstein lived and worked.

Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography, by Daniel Tanguay. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. 259 pp. $30.00. ISBN 978-0-300-10979-5.

Daniel Tanguay recovers Leo Strauss from the atmosphere of partisan debate that has dominated American journalistic, political, and academic discussions of his work. He offers a comprehensive overview of Strauss's thought, giving special...


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