NANCY & DON CARTER CAMPUS
Finalist for the 2021 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction
A starting and profound exploration of how Jewish history is exploited to comfort the living.
When Horn realized that her assignments were often about dead Jews, never about living ones, she created these essays to reflect on subjects as far-flung as the veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology that Jewish family names were changed at Ellis Island, the traveling exhibition Auschwitz… Horn challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, and so little respect for Jewish lives unfolding in the present.
Horn draws upon her travels, research and own family life to assert the vitality, complexity and depth of Jewish life against a rising anti-Semitism. As she explores attacks on the American Jewish community in recent years, she reveals the subtler dehumanization built into the public piety that surrounds the Jewish past, making the argument that the benign reverence we give to past horrors is itself a profound affront to human dignity.
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