Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Eichmann Trial, Gandhi biography, the Civil War, and more in the book pages

"To write about the trial of Adolf Eichmann is to put its most notorious court reporter, Hannah Arendt, in the dock," writes Franklin Foer in a review of THE EICHMANN TRIAL by Deborah E. Lipstadt, in the New York Times. Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem "has come to overshadow its subject."According to Foer, "Lipstadt has done a great service by untethering the trial from Arendt’s polarizing presence, recovering the event as a gripping legal drama, as well as a hinge moment in Israel’s history and in the world’s delayed awakening to the magnitude of the Holocaust."  Continue reading here.

Anita Desai reviews Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India by Joseph Lelyveld in the New York Review of Books.  Desai notes that "this is not a conventional biography in that he does not repeat the well-documented story of Gandhi’s struggle for India but rather his struggle with India, the country that exasperated, infuriated, and dismayed him, notwithstanding his love for it....Lelyveld’s argument is that it was South Africa that made him the visionary and leader of legend."  Read the rest here.

With the sesquicentennial of the Civil War coming up, in the Los Angeles Times recommends "two excellent anthologies [that] commend themselves to readers who want to hear and feel the immediacy of the Civil War as experienced by its participants."  The books are Hearts Touched by Fire: The Best of "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" edited by Harold Holzer, and The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It edited by Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears and Aaron Sheehan-Dean.

Tamar Jacoby takes up A Nation of Immigrants by Susan F. Martin in The New Republic/The Book.  Jacoby finds it "a relatively slim, readable volume," informed by Martin's decades of work in immigration policy.  

Also this weekend, reviews in the New York Times of BROTHERS, RIVALS, VICTORS:  Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership That Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe by Jonathan W. Jordan; and SISTERS OF FORTUNE: America’s Caton Sisters at Home and Abroad by Jehanne Wake.