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« Good-bye, Mary Travers | Main | "l'd" [by Jim Dolot] »

September 18, 2009


This is a very insightful review, David. I think you've found the heart of much misreading of the past. The comparison of Dreyfus to terror detainees is inapt, to put it mildly.

I'm also glad you noted the connection of this book to Yale University Press' cowardly act, one justly and widely condemned. I had a horrible experience with this Press myself. I wonder how many other authors did as well.

Thank you, Larry. I have heard scare stories about the purgatorial trials -- get me rewrite! -- authors have endured on the way to a non-tendered contract for a book hotly pursued by YUP. And then they wind up publishing a book (and I'm not mentioning its title) that takes a great subject and manages to make it dull. YUP has behaved very badly in the case of the Danish cartoonists. The discrepancy between stated ideals (lux et veritas) and actual practice is outrageous.

The "merely" is also part of the desire-to-trend to soften all hard news, to place us in a post-ethnic culture, but yes it ("merely" and other gestures and sidestepping) is specific to anti-Semitism. And, yes, I've gotten into arguments about the distinction between Jewish and Israel, partly because I'm unhappy, very, with Israel. (You may write me off as I'm a hybrid, Jewish father (b.1906, Manhattan), Christian mother (Queens) and exquisitely sensitive on many points. And I honor father and mother.) But yay for Begley. He's such a good writer.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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