The Burning Bush

Barnet Litvinoff, Author, Emanuel Litvinoff, Author, Thomas P. M. Barnett, Author Dutton Books $22.5 (493p) ISBN 978-0-525-24602-2
Why did Nazism succeed in slaughtering two-thirds of European Jewry west of Moscow? Argues Litvinoff: the continent was already prepared psychologically for extermination of the Jews. Facism in general (not Nazism alone) extolled racial ``purity,'' and its pernicious theories found supporters in all levels of society. In a remarkable tour de force, the biographer of Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion offers an evenhanded, global assessment of the baneful effects of anti-Jewish prejudice over the centuries. He attributes the origins of anti-Semitism to the Crucifixion and early Church tenets; exposes Jew-haters like Voltaire and Balzac; and dispassionately analyzes Jews' seesaw relations with Arabs, blacks in the U.S. and the Soviet regime. One can disagree with many of Litvinoff's judgments, for example, his contention that most 19th century Eastern European Jews evinced little desire for emancipation. But, on the whole, this is a stirring, incisive chronicle, as much a history of the Jewish people as it is of anti-Semitism. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
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