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Six Splendid Spring Reads

Book Review

The variety and excellent quality of books from publishers keeps on coming.  From a slim volume of poems by a world class poet to a chilling WWII military history, to a novel focused on dramatic rescue efforts  in the Warsaw Ghetto, to a collection of brilliant short stories from a young writer, to a work by a Pulitzer Prize Prize winning historian on the history of Islamic culture  to a collection of Einstein's private thoughts . . .there is more than enough riveting reading for any springtime.

"Failure" by Phillip Schultz (Harcourt, $23.00, 128 pages)  carries a hefty price for a small sized book, but it is well  worth it. There are poems here that tug at the heart, tickle the funnybone, make one think. An impressive work by a very talented poet.

"Retribution" by Max Hastings (Knopf, $35.00, 615 pages) including 24 pages of illustrations and 10 maps) is a masterpiece. Focused on the battle for Japan 1944-1945, this in depth scholarly but highly readable work presents a broad and grand and piercing account of the horrific battles waged. It is a "must place" on the bookshelves of all those interested in WWII history.

"The Zookeeper's Wife" by naturalist Diane Ackerman (W.W. Norton, $24.95, 368 pages) is hypnotic reading focused on the life of Antonina Zabinski who not only took care of animals in Warsaw's zoo during the second world war but also her "guests" many of whom were smuggled in from the Ghetto. More than 300 people were saved through her heroic efforts. This compelling story reads like fiction, but it is based on actual people and events.  It is a thriller.

"God's Crucible" by David Levering Lewis (Norton, $29.95, 473 pages) is an especially relevant piece of scholarship for the world today. A panoramic history of Islamic culture  in early Europe (570-1215) carefully organized and dramatically composed -   "God's Crucible" is a major contribution - filling in the blanks - for a time in history that has too often been overlooked and not given enough attention.

"Unaccustomed Earth" by Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf, $25.00, 333 pages) who was born in London and raised in Rhode Island and lives in Brooklyn is a carefully crafted master work of eight stories all filled with subtle nuances and skillful writing. HIGHLY NOTABLE

"Einstein on Politics" (Princeton University Press, $29.95, 523 pages) is one of the most unusual and affecting books we have come across in a long time dealing as it does with Albert Einstein's private thoughts and pubic stands on nationalism, Zionism, war and peace, and the Atomic Bomb.  It is invaluable as a tool into the world of this great man's political reveries and commentary.   Highly Recommended.

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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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