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"The Looming Tower" and Other Must Reads

Book Review



MOST NOTABLE:  "The Looming Tower" By Lawrence Wright (Knopf, $27.95, 464 pages) is one of the most important books in recent years - as timely - or even more so than today's headlines -  it is cogent, clear, comprehensible and compelling - a road map that focuses brilliantly on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and those who were in pursuit of him before 9/11.

The book is a history lesson that shocks and illuminates - the war between Islam and western democracies, how Israel's 1967 triumph in the six-day-war humiliated and at the same time set in motion more radical Islamists, the suicide attack on the USS Cole, the unwillingness of the CIA to share info and on and on to the horrific September day. Lawrence Wright is an excellent writer and researcher - his book should be required reading everywhere.

"A Woman in Jersusalem"  by A.B. Yehoshua (Harcourt, $25.00, 256 pages) like "A Looming Tower" is as timely as today's newspaper headlines and the doings in the world.  It is a book that probes away at the fabric and soul of Israel today.  The plot lines focus on a woman's body unidentified in a morgue in a hospital. She was a victim of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem.  As the plot develops, it becomes clear that the woman had worked in a bakery as a cleaning woman, that she was an engineer from the former Soviet Union, that she was in her 40s and beautiful.  "A Woman in Jersusalem" moves along in its narrative of turns and twists told by a master writer - it is a book to savor, to think about. HIGHLY

"Absurdistan" by Gary Shteyngart (Random House, $24.95, 333 pages) is rollercoaster ride of a book - part slapstick, part political commentary, part pathetic, part satire and all a hell of a read. Complex in conception and marvelous in execution, "Absurdistan" takes the reader along on a Kurt Vonnegut-type trip to a far away land and its madcap characters including, of course,  Misha Vainberg, 325 pounds, son of the 1,238th richest man in Russia.  Enjoy!

From Houghton Mifflin comes "Donald Hall's "White Apples and the Taste of Stone" ($30.00, 431 pages), 226 poems from one of America's favorite poets, the Poet Laureate of the United States. To read one of the poems is to crave to read them all. This must have book contains a CD of poems read by the author.

"The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards now in paperback (Penguin Books, $14.00, 401 pages) is the kind of book to be read in one or two sittings on a long airplane ride or a relaxing weekend at the beach or in the backyard. This novel will grip you at each turn from the winter night in 1961 when Dr. David Henry must deliver his own twins because of a blizzard through its unfolding secrets as the story brilliantly develops. 


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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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