What Is the Use of Jewish History?: Essays

What Is the Use of Jewish History?: Essays

by Lucy S. Dawidowicz
     
 

What is the use of Jewish history? Of history in general, for that matter? When one of the best-known Jewish historians asks this question at the end of a long career, we can be sure of an answer that is profound, passionate, and personal. Lucy Dawidowicz raised an original and deeply influential voice concerning the writing of Holocaust history. After the publication… See more details below

Overview

What is the use of Jewish history? Of history in general, for that matter? When one of the best-known Jewish historians asks this question at the end of a long career, we can be sure of an answer that is profound, passionate, and personal. Lucy Dawidowicz raised an original and deeply influential voice concerning the writing of Holocaust history. After the publication of her ground-breaking and best-selling history of the Nazi genocide, The War Against the Jews, in 1975, she continued to write numerous essays and articles countering the arguments of revisionist historians, as well as the charges of Jewish passivity and American complacency during the Holocaust. This posthumous collection of Dawidowicz's essays presents her published articles on contemporary uses and misuses of the Holocaust, as well as material relating to her last work-in-progress, a major history of American Jews. A testament to the historian's craft by one of its great practitioners, it will inspire all those who see in the writing of history a primary vehicle for the presentation of culture. Edited and with a luminous introduction by Neal Kozodoy, this volume brings to us Lucy Dawidowicz's sure and guiding voice.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The eminent historian and Holocaust scholar (The War Against the Jews), who died in 1990, was the historical conscience of her people. These lively, forceful, absorbing essays and lectures from the last decade of her life, many previously published in Commentary, Shoah and elsewhere, are among her best writings. In the title essay Davidowiez argues that collective Jewish consciousness is a myth and scans history for keys to the Jews' potential for survival. In Berlin Again chronicles her return visit to the former Nazi capital and calls for Jewish reconciliation with Germans. Elsewhere, Davidowicz repudiates charges of American Jews' passivity in the face of the Holocaust, attacks the anti-Semitism of the political left and lacerates functionalist historians who blame the murder of Europe's Jews on the near-autonomous workings of an impersonal bureaucracy rather than on the will and intentions of Nazi leaders. Other pieces deal with the way public schools teach students about the Holocaust, Jewish identity in America and Soviet denial of the Nazis' massacre of Jews at Babi Yar. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This posthumous collection of previously published and unpublished essays written over the last 14 years is vintage Dawidowicz, betraying a searching quest for historical truth, penetrating analyses, and lucid, even passionate, prose. The book, with a glowing tribute to the historian by editor Kozodoy, has three thematic sections: the utility of Jewish history and the pitfalls of writing autobiography; the use and misuse of the Holocaust by secondary school curricula, scholarly works, and outrageous revisionists; and the status and potential of Jews and Judaism in America. Always worth reading, Dawidowicz was an activist historian committed to the idea that accurate knowledge of the past must be put into service for the present and future. Ironically, however, contrary to her own belief, her essays underscore the lack of certitude in historical writing, and the fact that one historian's truths are another's unsupported hypotheses. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/92.-- Benny Kraut, Univ. of Cincinnati

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805210101
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/25/1994
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.91(w) x 9.45(h) x (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >