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People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present

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Renowned and beloved as a prizewinning novelist, Dara Horn has also been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager. Often asked by major publications to write on subjects related to Jewish culture—and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks—Horn was troubled to realize what all of these assignments had in common: she was being a Renowned and beloved as a prizewinning novelist, Dara Horn has also been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager. Often asked by major publications to write on subjects related to Jewish culture—and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks—Horn was troubled to realize what all of these assignments had in common: she was being asked to write about dead Jews, never about living ones. In these essays, Horn reflects on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology that Jewish family names were changed at Ellis Island, the blockbuster traveling exhibition Auschwitz, the marketing of the Jewish history of Harbin, China, and the little-known life of the "righteous Gentile" Varian Fry. Throughout, she 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, her research, and also her own family life—trying to explain Shakespeare’s Shylock to a curious ten-year-old, her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks in her children’s school, the profound perspective offered by traditional religious practice and study—to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of Jewish life against an antisemitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of "Never forget," is on the rise. As Horn explores the (not so) shocking 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 radical argument that the benign reverence we give to past horrors is itself a profound affront to human dignity.


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Renowned and beloved as a prizewinning novelist, Dara Horn has also been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager. Often asked by major publications to write on subjects related to Jewish culture—and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks—Horn was troubled to realize what all of these assignments had in common: she was being a Renowned and beloved as a prizewinning novelist, Dara Horn has also been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager. Often asked by major publications to write on subjects related to Jewish culture—and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks—Horn was troubled to realize what all of these assignments had in common: she was being asked to write about dead Jews, never about living ones. In these essays, Horn reflects on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology that Jewish family names were changed at Ellis Island, the blockbuster traveling exhibition Auschwitz, the marketing of the Jewish history of Harbin, China, and the little-known life of the "righteous Gentile" Varian Fry. Throughout, she 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, her research, and also her own family life—trying to explain Shakespeare’s Shylock to a curious ten-year-old, her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks in her children’s school, the profound perspective offered by traditional religious practice and study—to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of Jewish life against an antisemitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of "Never forget," is on the rise. As Horn explores the (not so) shocking 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 radical argument that the benign reverence we give to past horrors is itself a profound affront to human dignity.

30 review for People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stacey B

    Sorry to edit this one again. I have to stop re-reading this. I'm just now finishing Horn's other book "The Rescuer" which is 36 pages. "People Love Dead Jews ..." is Horn's latest book written with a different perspective that I perhaps would not have recognized. It happens to be a finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize 2021 in Nonfiction which I wasn't aware of when downloading it. Both books speak about about Varian Fry, a man on a selfless mission to rescue jews from Nazi hands; many of them be Sorry to edit this one again. I have to stop re-reading this. I'm just now finishing Horn's other book "The Rescuer" which is 36 pages. "People Love Dead Jews ..." is Horn's latest book written with a different perspective that I perhaps would not have recognized. It happens to be a finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize 2021 in Nonfiction which I wasn't aware of when downloading it. Both books speak about about Varian Fry, a man on a selfless mission to rescue jews from Nazi hands; many of them becoming famous journalists, celebs, artists, etc. One of those people happened to be Hannah Arendt, who became a controversial name when covering the Eichmann trial and wrote that jews were to blame as well for basically being too passive in their resistance. Really? She got out before the war. (different discussion ) Whoa...Horn really chose an eye-stopping title for this book. She does an outstanding job of research "to legitimize" the purpose and drives her message home in such a manner that "only Horn could pull off." I used a quote from "Tablet Magazine" in lieu of spoilers that hints at Horns book .... "People Love Dead Jews..." reminds us that Jewishness is not a museum, a graveyard, or a heritage site but a lively ongoing conversation at a long table that stretches before and behind us. Come out of hiding, Horn urges us, it’s time to take part in Jewish life." //// To the authors point; as jews- if we don't play even a small role in any aspect of jewish life, anti semitism receives no pushback, chancing a permanent opinion.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “People Love Dead Jews”…..is a fricken BOLD title!!! “People love dead Jews. Living Jews not so much”. …..Is THE MOST MEMORABLE (unfortunately)….but POWERFULLY THOUGHT-PROVOKING….sentence of the YEAR!!!! This book is amazing — brilliant — unbelievably THOUGHT-TRANSFORMATIVE- AWAKENING - *NEW* THOUGHT ….(almost hard to discover any ‘new’ thought in 2021)…but Dara Horn delivered them! It’s also heartbreaking-painfully sad, anger-triggering-and at times a little numbing— Dara Horn challenges thoughts “People Love Dead Jews”…..is a fricken BOLD title!!! “People love dead Jews. Living Jews not so much”. …..Is THE MOST MEMORABLE (unfortunately)….but POWERFULLY THOUGHT-PROVOKING….sentence of the YEAR!!!! This book is amazing — brilliant — unbelievably THOUGHT-TRANSFORMATIVE- AWAKENING - *NEW* THOUGHT ….(almost hard to discover any ‘new’ thought in 2021)…but Dara Horn delivered them! It’s also heartbreaking-painfully sad, anger-triggering-and at times a little numbing— Dara Horn challenges thoughts about people who say legends don’t matter— doesn’t matter who your parents were or where they came from—“what matters is what you do now with the opportunities this country presents to you, and this is what we call the American dream”…. “The fact that this legend is untrue does not detract from its power; legends are not reports on reality but expressions are they cultures values and aspirations”. I absolutely love this book… I learned a lot. It changed and opened my thinking about Jews….(how Jews see Jews - how non Jews see Jews)….and TONS of important messages, insights, and education taught about BEING JEWISH - “we are not just - not Christian - or - Muslim - or whatever else other people are — we are also just not dead people”. Horn suggests: “Jewish communities, figures and abstract symbols of ‘the Jews’ have come to serve a moral role in the Western imagination, that when one takes a step back, it is bizarre and grotesque”. “It’s easy to acknowledge the darkness of the Holocaust and to marvel at the optimism of Anne Frank, but Dara Horn detects in that acknowledgment something insidious that hasn’t yet been fully revealed or explained”. I love this book so much - hard to keep to my under 5 minute review rule for myself— It was eye opening, fascinating, interesting, heartbreaking, maddening, tearful, moving, powerful, educational, transformative, entertaining, adventurous, and even funny. …… “As King Lear’s Fool put it, “They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying, and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace”.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Katz

    I listened to the audio version so I can share no excerpts. This book is absolutely scalding in its approach to how dead Jews are memorialized, how the media covers antisemitic acts, how scholars have successfully whitewashed the vicious antisemitism of "The Merchant of Venice" (Horn has a PhD in English so she is definitely qualified to speak), myths about name-changing on Ellis Island, and a good deal more. Stated in the simplest terms, she argues that people love Jews who are dead -- killed b I listened to the audio version so I can share no excerpts. This book is absolutely scalding in its approach to how dead Jews are memorialized, how the media covers antisemitic acts, how scholars have successfully whitewashed the vicious antisemitism of "The Merchant of Venice" (Horn has a PhD in English so she is definitely qualified to speak), myths about name-changing on Ellis Island, and a good deal more. Stated in the simplest terms, she argues that people love Jews who are dead -- killed by pogroms, in the camps, in attacks on American streets -- but live Jews not so much. There's no way I can summarize the book without making it sound dry or polemical. It's not. Horn's voice is engaging and welcoming (so too is the astonishingly good job of reader Xe Sands -- wow!), and reading the book is like spending several evenings -- spread out over time, of course -- with a smart friend who knows a lot about a lot of things, is gifted in her ability to (warmly) share what she knows, has a good sense of humor, is brutally honest, and who is really angry. Among her topics: China spending millions of dollars to recreate the Chinese city, Harbin, that once was home to a large and prosperous Jewish community. They don't mention that Jews left the city under duress, and the reconstructed synagogue is merely a prop -- empty save for equipment used by municipal workers. Chinese officials do, however, acknowledge that the city was rebuilt with the express purpose of attracting Jewish travelers who might add Harbin to their itinerary and spend money. How a Jewish employee at the Anne Frank house was prohibited from wearing a yarmulke unless it was covered by a baseball cap because the idea was to keep the secret attic "neutral." They obviously didn't see the awful irony of forcing a person to hide his Jewish identity in a place whose purpose was to memorialize Jews who had to hide. And who died because they were Jewish. Horn uses this discussion to take apart how the world's portrayal Frank's experience has been molded into something different than what it really was. How her famous lines about people being "truly good at heart," quoted everywhere to convey a message of love, was tragically naive and wrong, as Anne herself learned, shortly after writing those very words, when she met people who were decidedly not good. Horn comments too on the bizarre phenomenon of bestselling novels set the camps or during the Holocaust years. Searing stuff, and convincing. Also: How the news media treats antisemitic attacks differently than it does other hate-motivated attacks. I don't agree with everything she says but that doesn't make her wrong or me right. (I have to acknowledge that as holder of a PhD in English myself I was resistant to her remarks about "Merchant of Venice" but came away believing her right.) She is, moreover, a far more observant and knowledgeable Jew than I am... by many, many leagues. But I didn't find that a barrier at all. A remarkable book. And again, I can't say enough to praise how good Xe Sands is in her narration. Listening to the book might have prevented me from taking notes and underlining passages, but her reading more than compensates.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    A deeply troubling, moving, painful, and inspiring examination into the eons of dead Jews that create the Jewish history the world knows. Anne Frank and her diary are only known because we know the tragic end to her story. But it’s hard to imagine her diary ever being published, let alone translated and distributed across the world, if she would have lived to have seen age 15 or any year after. Many can recall the names of Nazi deathcamps where the Yiddish language was nearly wiped out, but few A deeply troubling, moving, painful, and inspiring examination into the eons of dead Jews that create the Jewish history the world knows. Anne Frank and her diary are only known because we know the tragic end to her story. But it’s hard to imagine her diary ever being published, let alone translated and distributed across the world, if she would have lived to have seen age 15 or any year after. Many can recall the names of Nazi deathcamps where the Yiddish language was nearly wiped out, but few can name even a couple Yiddish poets or authors. The world hears of tragedies befalling Jews, their communities, and their places of worship but pays little attention to their vibrant culture or their valuable accomplishments. This is the basis of Horn’s compilation of essays—Jews are others, they aren’t Christian, they aren’t Muslim, they aren’t white but they aren’t brown, and the world only knows their story from the eons of tragic events that has befallen a global diaspora.

  5. 5 out of 5

    A.

    People Love Dead Jews is a collection of essays on the disturbing and occasionally surreal ways the world gives attention to dead Jews and how this attention shapes the treatment of living Jews today. Author Dara Horn shares how individuals and institutions represent Jewish suffering and how this suffering is repurposed for the benefit of others. These nuanced accounts cover a number of time periods and places, with a few key themes running through the chapters. The first is trying to preserve th People Love Dead Jews is a collection of essays on the disturbing and occasionally surreal ways the world gives attention to dead Jews and how this attention shapes the treatment of living Jews today. Author Dara Horn shares how individuals and institutions represent Jewish suffering and how this suffering is repurposed for the benefit of others. These nuanced accounts cover a number of time periods and places, with a few key themes running through the chapters. The first is trying to preserve the past through writing, record keeping and cultural preservation. This seems natural when discussing a people which has faced cultural destruction, banishment and genocide for generations upon generations. The second is that many are more familiar with and prefer their Jewish stories to be about ‘dead Jews’ rather than to learn about or help preserve living Jewish culture. I knew I would enjoy this book in the opening story of how the author took part in an academic competition in Tennessee as a teenager. Her Jewishness was questioned because of her blond hair and blue eyes when one of the other girls said I “thought Hitler said you all were dark.” The author recognizes decades later that those girls were not stupid and probably not bigoted, but rather that their total knowledge of the Jewish people and their history was rooted in school lessons based on what Hitler said about them. People Love Dead Jews focuses heavily on the arts, including the restoration of Jewish historical sites, the development of Holocaust museum exhibits and portrayals of Jews in film and literature. Having lived in China and toured the reconstructed and redeveloping Jewish areas of Shanghai, I could relate well to the chapter on the reconstruction of Jewish sites in Harbin. The author takes a sad, cynical look at the lack of true historic preservation (frankly not uncommon across all types of sites in China) and how this area was developed in hopes of boosting tourism and potential Israeli investment. What good does it do if it doesn’t explain why there aren’t any Jews there now? Or why they were there in the first place? Or how they were fleeced and murdered? Or when the exhibits display fake objects? Renovated Jewish heritage sites are springing up everywhere, but avoid “all those pesky moral concerns – about, say, why these “sites” exist to begin with evaporate in a mist of goodwill.” In many parts of the world, you can no longer travel to meet Jewish people, you can only visit their graves. Many Americans are completely unaware that Jewish families have lived in areas such as North Africa, the Middle East or Asia. Another blood pressure raising example is when the famous Anne Frank House dragged their feet on allowing a Jewish employee to wear his yarmulke to work. As Horn says, “I had mistaken the enormous public interest in past Jewish suffering for a sign of respect for living Jews. I was very wrong.” I found her brief comments on what she considered to be the sources of modern anti-Semitism to be very interesting and wish she had written more on this subject. For example, when I was young, the 1997 film Life is Beautiful was quite popular, but it wasn’t at all uncommon to hear derogatory comments about someone being, looking or acting Jewish (even if they weren’t Jewish) from what seemed like the most unlikely sources. Would they be ‘called out’ nowadays or is making comments about groups such as Jews or Roma somehow acceptable even amongst progressive groups because one can slip these comments through by saying they’re a culture, rather than a race? There were two things that took me by surprise in this book. The first was the collective memory myth American Jews have created about changing their surnames when pursuing education or employment. Evidently many families didn’t even want to admit to themselves discrimination was an issue in the new world, and so created stories that their names were changed quickly by some silly bureaucrat at Ellis Island. Bravely contradicting this popular narrative, the author shows thousands of court cases where Jewish people were legally changing their names to avoid discrimination. Of course, they didn’t want to tell their children and grandchildren they had changed it out of necessity rather than accident. In a world where “Anti-Semitism” has a high bar of being the Holocaust, lower levels of persecution or intolerance slide by, and especially when that bigotry is quietly visible where “Jews themselves are choosing to reject their own traditions. It is a form of weaponized shame.” There’s genocide and there’s also the slow dismantling of Jewish civilisation. Jews hiding their identity and changing their names is a story that goes all the way back to Esther and Purim. In these name changes, we “witness ordinary American Jews in the debasing act of succumbing to discrimination instead of fighting it.” Of course, Horn recognises that sometimes you have to prioritise feeding your family over fighting discrimination. This section keenly observes how American Jews might have completely different experiences and struggles based on their personal history, place of residence or their class. Similarly, in another section, the violence against American Jews is justified by the local community and media because they were ‘gentrifying’ the area, even when the victims were living in poverty and had moved to that area to avoid the soaring prices of where they had come from. It seems only recently that mainstream English language books and online articles are catching up to the fact that Americans of Jewish background are a diverse group and aren’t necessarily Ashkenazi, well off and living in certain zip codes. The second surprise was how Yiddish and Hebrew literature differs from English literature in how they portray Jewish suffering. The Hollywood films and “uplifting” books which use concentration camps as a back-story have reduced victims to mere metaphors. Many English language books want a Holocaust story to have a redemptive ending where a protagonist learns something. Better yet, non-Jewish rescuers should be involved to save some “hapless Jews.” The Jews who should be saved should be very relatable, not terribly religious and certainly not speak Yiddish. The Jewish suffering must serve some larger purpose and provide closure for the reader. This demand requires real dead Jews to “teach us about the beauty of the world and the wonders of redemption- otherwise, what was the point of killing them in the first place?” Of course, we know that the vast majority of real victims had their possessions seized and their families and love turned to ash. For those who survived, there was little welcome or support for them in their home countries after the war. In Yiddish literature, “the language of the culture that was successfully destroyed, one doesn’t find many musings on the kindness of strangers.” In this essay and others, the author helpfully shares her recommended Jewish literature, often available in translation, so your ‘to-read’ list will certainly grow after reading this book. The profile of American journalist Varian Fry, who rescued hundreds of artists, musicians, scientists and other intellectuals was a real page turner. Again, this book challenges our assumptions about what sort of person can be a brave rescuer and how victims to should act and respond. Here the author uses her incisive talent for puncturing the ‘feel good’ nature of these stories. Yes, it was wonderful that Fry did all he could despite his lack of resources, crumbling marriage and his own troubled mental health. He complained, “No, we should be able to save them all. Why just the world’s greatest painter?” Fry painfully understood that the U.S. government was only willing to save certain useful Jews, and that they determined what culture was worth preservation. Certain sub-cultures of Jewish arts and learning were wiped out forever, because they were determined by outsiders to be not worth the effort of saving. This cultural loss is again reflected in the chapter on Diarna, which uses new technologies such as 3-D modelling, satellite images, photography, and other methods to allow users to virtually visit disappearing or recently destroyed Jewish heritage sites. Another heartbreaking theme of this book is the recent deadly attacks on Jewish places of education and worship within the United States. When it comes to mass shootings at Jewish spaces, the author carefully reviews how the media coverage excuses these attacks, which contradicts the common belief that ‘Jews control the media.’ If Jews controlled all the media, attacks on Jewish children in the United States would not be excused by poorly researched articles providing “context” about why the victims deserved it. In one powerful paragraph, she describes how incredibly detailed holocaust museum exhibits mask lower level attacks on Jews that might not be “systemic” enough for the American public. Arson, assaults, shootings? Not the holocaust. “Doxxing Jewish journalists is definitely not the Holocaust. Harassing Jewish college students is also not the Holocaust…It is quite amazing how many things are not the Holocaust.” Are we educating people about bigotry or are we giving them ideas? People Love Dead Jews covers a number of heavy topics which will shatter preconceived notions and have you rethink the media you consume. Despite the themes outlined above, this book is often darkly funny and relatable. Well, relatable if you’ve experienced any sort of anti-Semitism or read a best selling concentration camp romance novel. The author’s voice comes through as if this was a close friend relating how these representations affect her and her loved ones. You feel the frustration over the hypocrisy, the fake concern and the commodification of Jewish suffering.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    It’s extraordinarily rare when almost immediately I know when I’m reading a 5 star worthy book. This is one of those very few books. I knew right away with this book. I wish I could give this book 6 stars. It’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read. Excellent! Well written, great storyteller, engaging, Thought provoking. Horrifying. Humorous at times. A wonderful variety of topics about the same basic subject. I’d like to read more books by this author so I’ll look at her novels and if their It’s extraordinarily rare when almost immediately I know when I’m reading a 5 star worthy book. This is one of those very few books. I knew right away with this book. I wish I could give this book 6 stars. It’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read. Excellent! Well written, great storyteller, engaging, Thought provoking. Horrifying. Humorous at times. A wonderful variety of topics about the same basic subject. I’d like to read more books by this author so I’ll look at her novels and if their stories appeal to me I’ll definitely add them and hopefully get to them and read them. There is a list of works consulted included at the end of the book. I thought that she might lose me in the last 10 pages but nothing could diminish the impact of the thoughts the author puts into these essays and I enjoyed even these last pages. In spoilers because this is NOTHING to do with this book and I hate to take attention away from its contents but (view spoiler)[ the musings here reminded me that much is the same for Native Americans (re the book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer that I read recently, and the Buffy Sainte-Marie songs I’ve known since I was 13) and other groups that have faced discrimination and violence against their peoples. (hide spoiler)] Brilliant book and I’d like to recommend it to all readers or at least all non-fiction readers or at least all who have Jewish heritage or know anyone who’s Jewish, but really almost all readers. The author is a LibraryThing author. I would like it if she also became a Goodreads author member.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I have been a fan of Dara Horn's since I read her debut novel In the Image in 2002. All Other Nights is one of my favorite books of all time. I heard her speak in person several years ago and she is brilliant. So, it's no surprise that the essays in this collection are excellent. Very thought provoking, interesting, and unique. I received an advanced review copy through Edelweiss but I can't wait to get my hands on the hard cover so I can re-read all of them. I'm sure the book will be getting lo I have been a fan of Dara Horn's since I read her debut novel In the Image in 2002. All Other Nights is one of my favorite books of all time. I heard her speak in person several years ago and she is brilliant. So, it's no surprise that the essays in this collection are excellent. Very thought provoking, interesting, and unique. I received an advanced review copy through Edelweiss but I can't wait to get my hands on the hard cover so I can re-read all of them. I'm sure the book will be getting lots of buzz when it is released on September 7.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erika Dreifus

    My thanks to MOMENT magazine for inviting me to write about Dara Horn's new essay collection: https://momentmag.com/book-review-do-.... My thanks to MOMENT magazine for inviting me to write about Dara Horn's new essay collection: https://momentmag.com/book-review-do-....

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Swartz

    If I said this book was disconcerting, I would not be wrong. If I said this book was hopeful and inspiring, I would not be wrong. So well written and so interesting. I will be sending unsolicited copies to friends and relatives.

  10. 5 out of 5

    BOOKLOVER EB

    "Dead Jews are supposed to teach us about the beauty of the world and the wonders of redemption," claims Dara Horn. Her book, "People Love Dead Jews: Reports form a Haunted Present," is a compilation of essays about such topics as hate crimes against Jews, the vast number of books and films about Holocaust, the Auschwitz exhibit at the Museum of the Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, and the significance of Shakespeare's Shylock. The premise is that, although many individuals are preoccupied with "de "Dead Jews are supposed to teach us about the beauty of the world and the wonders of redemption," claims Dara Horn. Her book, "People Love Dead Jews: Reports form a Haunted Present," is a compilation of essays about such topics as hate crimes against Jews, the vast number of books and films about Holocaust, the Auschwitz exhibit at the Museum of the Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, and the significance of Shakespeare's Shylock. The premise is that, although many individuals are preoccupied with "dead Jews," perhaps they should pay more attention to contemporary Jews who are attacked while praying, shopping in stores, or walking down the street. Horn bemoans the fact that "grim reality is both inconvenient and irrelevant," and that it is easier to sweep the truth about anti-Semitism under the rug rather than face it head-on. Famously, Anne Frank said, "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." Horn considers this sentiment comforting but naïve. Why? Such optimistic statements "make us feel forgiven for those lapses of our civilization that allow for piles of murdered girls." To preclude further atrocities, Horn argues, we must be clear-eyed about the dangers that Jewish men, women, and children face today and, whenever possible, take appropriate steps to avert them. She puts her ideas in historical context with pieces about the exploitation, expulsion, and murder of Jews not just in Europe, but also in China and Russia. Horn is a Hebrew and Yiddish scholar and historian who believes that, for Jews, the past and present are inextricably intertwined. Those who are unfamiliar with Jewish practices may resent Orthodox Jews for marching to their own Heavenly drummer and being out-of-step with mainstream culture. Although the author is an accomplished, witty, and thought-provoking writer, some of her essays are long, rambling, and only marginally relevant to her central thesis. However, in her more incisive passages, she raises interesting points that are well worth exploring. The bottom line is that if the only exposure that youngsters have to Judaism is through social media and classroom discussions of Elie Wiesel's "Night" and "The Diary of Anne Frank," it is small wonder that they know so little about the richness and variety of Jewish life. Instead of being outraged about our fellow citizens' shortcomings, it might be helpful to encourage current and future generations to respect individuals of good will whose race and/or religious beliefs may differ from theirs. Horn wisely concludes that "there are ways to rebuild a broken world, and they require humility and empathy, a constant awareness that no one is better than anyone else."

  11. 4 out of 5

    RMazin

    Dara Horn has written novels structured around Jewish characters and themes. Some of her novels have soared into magic realism giving me a sense that I was looking into a keyhole of the past and a promise of a future. Here, Horn forges new pathways in her essays, People Love Dead Jews. These pathways are not easy reads, but they are necessary, illuminating, tragic, ironic, even a bit comic but always heartfelt and well-reasoned. This is book that demands the reader pick it up and put it down….an Dara Horn has written novels structured around Jewish characters and themes. Some of her novels have soared into magic realism giving me a sense that I was looking into a keyhole of the past and a promise of a future. Here, Horn forges new pathways in her essays, People Love Dead Jews. These pathways are not easy reads, but they are necessary, illuminating, tragic, ironic, even a bit comic but always heartfelt and well-reasoned. This is book that demands the reader pick it up and put it down….and then quickly pick it up again. You need to re-think what you know, what you will learn and challenge beliefs in almost every chapter. Through her unique vision she gives depth to currents of anti-Semitism: how the past bleeds through to the present and how it is used to shape and mis-characterize events, venerate a past over the present, and threaten the future. Read this book that touches upon so many avenues of thought: the Jewish community of Harbin in China, shootings and synagogue tragedies, a revisit with the Merchant of Venice, the “sanctification” of Anne Frank’s life and legacy, and the ongoing threat to Jewish culture. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this important book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dara

    Dara Horn is a writer I have been familiar with for many years, as I always remembered her name (as it is the same as mine) after I attended her bat mitzvah, which she shared with another girl whose bat mitzvah I was invited to. I have read many of her fiction books and was intrigued by this one, which addresses the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths and so little respect for Jewish lives in the present. Topics range from Anne Frank – would she be as well known if Dara Horn is a writer I have been familiar with for many years, as I always remembered her name (as it is the same as mine) after I attended her bat mitzvah, which she shared with another girl whose bat mitzvah I was invited to. I have read many of her fiction books and was intrigued by this one, which addresses the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths and so little respect for Jewish lives in the present. Topics range from Anne Frank – would she be as well known if she had survived? – to the Jewish history of the Chinese city Harbin, to the eleven people murdered at a Pittsburgh synagogue, to modern antisemitism. I don’t want to say I loved this book, but I did. It was so informative, understandable, and important. I was nodding along with it all. I only found one of the essays not to be wholly riveting, while they were all well written and worth the reads.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I don’t think I’ve ever felt so deeply understood or connected to an author. Dara’s writing is phenomenal and this book is no exception. She covers every major point about the American Jewish experience. I need you to read every last detail. This book is urgent. A must read. Now please excuse me while I go cry in the bathtub over how finally someone just *gets it*

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    More than just the "Adam Ruins Everything" of Judaism, this book asks some big questions and comes up with a few answers. "How can we live as Jews after the Holocaust?" By not accepting the Hollywood ending found in many Holocaust books, starting with Anne Frank's book. I thought of the lesson from "Plunder" while reading this book also: people prefer the conspiracy theory to the reality because it's more fun to think about and easier to understand. I personally have felt the frustration of visit More than just the "Adam Ruins Everything" of Judaism, this book asks some big questions and comes up with a few answers. "How can we live as Jews after the Holocaust?" By not accepting the Hollywood ending found in many Holocaust books, starting with Anne Frank's book. I thought of the lesson from "Plunder" while reading this book also: people prefer the conspiracy theory to the reality because it's more fun to think about and easier to understand. I personally have felt the frustration of visiting the Jewish sites of the European capitals. They have this or that artifact but it's all so dead. We had a non-Jewish tour guide take us around the synagogues of Venice! Horn is a great traveling companion, combining just the right amount of research and insight as she guides us through unexpected Jewish locales like a freezing cold Chinese ice city! And maybe the Merchant of Venice was worth a more critical look at antisemitism in the Shylock character. There seems to be encouragement here to read further into the canon of Jewish literature. The book teems with the names of Jewish novelists. Dr. Horn is not just herself a novelist but also has the background and education to look at Jewish literature as a whole, and perhaps inspire others to revisit our rich cultural heritage. The book can get a little nihilistic at times. Yes it's a shame that we are emphasizing some of the wrong lessons of the Holocaust in our museums and literature, but I think we do have to shut at least part of it out to even find a way to go on living. I don't think anyone can dwell in the reality of so much death and loss all the time. Even Nietzsche said not to gaze into the abyss too much. I also like that she doesn't pretend to have all the answers, especially when challenged by her challenging son! There is a healthy humility here and I appreciated that.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Extraordinary Exploration of Antisemitism Anyone who cares about the Jewish People and the perils of antisemitism should read this book. Whether it is an orthodox worker at the Anne Frank house told not to wear a yarmulke, a Chinese city that eliminated its Jews and now has Shrines dedicated to them, her ten years old son’s reaction to Shylock, or excuses by the mainstream media for people who kill Hassids Dara Horn analyses the curse of antisemitism in all its manifestations.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Dara Horn speaks the truth. I swear I underlined or highlighted most of this book. For many people, what she writes about the history of antisemitism, current violence against Jews in America, memorial museums around the world, and the general arc of the vast majority of World War II novels will be eye-opening. This is an important book that deserves great attention and discussion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Burroughs

    This book was a deep hug and a cold slap in the face. Everyone I know should read this book, ESPECIALLY* if they are not Jewish. It is an increasingly terrifying time to be Jewish where I live. I am isolated and don’t know another Jewish person in this city/neighborhood where I live. But I do have neighbors who fly nazi flags. I live close to a literal neo-nazi militia training organization with a worldwide following of dangerous hatemongers. My synagogue’s cemetery, like so many other Jewish ce This book was a deep hug and a cold slap in the face. Everyone I know should read this book, ESPECIALLY* if they are not Jewish. It is an increasingly terrifying time to be Jewish where I live. I am isolated and don’t know another Jewish person in this city/neighborhood where I live. But I do have neighbors who fly nazi flags. I live close to a literal neo-nazi militia training organization with a worldwide following of dangerous hatemongers. My synagogue’s cemetery, like so many other Jewish cemeteries, was violently desecrated in 2019, just after the anniversary of the Tree of Life massacre. My congressman actively spreads the same conspiracy theory that lead to that massacre. I don’t know if I can find the words to explain how deeply my soul needed this book RIGHT NOW and how much it felt like a heart to heart with a longtime friend (who is way more smart and insightful and helps you make connections in your heart and soul and mind that we’re never there before). I feel validated in my fear and horrified by the reality of what the author explains and helps me to understand for myself. I read this book so fast and was so enthralled that I never removed the lining around the hardcover. That has never happened before. * I definitely recommend this book to Jewish readers as well! Lol. But as a relatively isolated Midwestern Jew, most of my IRL friends aren’t Jewish and almost NONE of them have spoken out against the rampant antisemitism, here or otherwise. In fact, a lot of them have perpetuated antisemitic tropes and consPiracy theories. They don’t even realize it. It’s either because of their own deeply ingrained and unexamined antisemitism and/or because they’re not seeing the terrifying uptick in violence and aren’t affected by it and don’t bother to care. Or, as the author writes me in the last chapter of the book, maybe once something happens three times, it isn’t news anymore. It’s just normal.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jo Perry

    The essays collected in PEOPLE LOVE DEAD JEWS: REPORTS FROM A HAUNTED PRESENT, Dara Horn asks many interesting questions whose answers clarify and discomfit: Why are dead Jews and the ghost-places cleared of Jews that are known as "Jewish heritage” sites more popular than historical sites where Jews actually live? Why did the Anne Frank House “force a Jew into hiding” when it required a Jewish employee to hide his yarmulke under a baseball cap? “The museum’s goal was neutrality,’” Horn explains, The essays collected in PEOPLE LOVE DEAD JEWS: REPORTS FROM A HAUNTED PRESENT, Dara Horn asks many interesting questions whose answers clarify and discomfit: Why are dead Jews and the ghost-places cleared of Jews that are known as "Jewish heritage” sites more popular than historical sites where Jews actually live? Why did the Anne Frank House “force a Jew into hiding” when it required a Jewish employee to hide his yarmulke under a baseball cap? “The museum’s goal was neutrality,’” Horn explains, because “…a live Jew in a yarmulke might ‘interfere’ with the museum’s ‘independent position.’” In Harbin, China, Horn is informed that the dead Jews disinterred from the city’s Jewish cemetery and buried under an amusement park are “happy.” A popular Auschwitz exhibition “neutralizes” the Jewishness of Auschwitz victims to maximize profit and to advance universalist cliches designed make non-Jews feel good about themselves: “…The Auschwitz exhibition labors mightily to personalize, to humanize, and these are exactly the moments when its cracks show. Some of the artifacts have stories attached to them, like the inscribed tin engagement ring a woman hid under her tongue. But most of the personal items—a baby carriage, a child’s shoe, eyeglasses, a onesie—are completely divorced from the people who owned them. The audio guide humbly speculates about who these people might have been: ‘She might have been a housewife or a factory worker or a musician . . .’ The idea isn’t subtle: this woman could be you. But to make her you, we have to deny that she was actually herself…” After Squirrel Hill, Jersey City and Monsey, Horn asks why non-Jewish media narratives require that antisemitic violence be “contextualized” with the inference that Jews––not anti-Semites armed with guns or a machete––provoked the attacks. Why, when Jews move into a new neighborhood, they are accused of “gentrifying”; when they seek to buy a home, they are “invading,” and why, when they disagree with neighbors at a school board meeting, they become a “threat’––despite the fact that, “…the apparently murderous rage against gentrification has yet to result in anyone using automatic weapons to blow away white hipsters at the newest Blue Bottle Coffee franchise…”: “There was no way I could write about [the Monsey attack] for the New York Times, or any other mainstream news outlet. I could not stomach all the ‘to be sures’ and other verbal garbage I would have to shovel in order to express something acceptable to a non-Jewish audience in a thousand words or less. I could no longer handle the degrading exercise of calmly explaining to the public why it was not OK to partially amputate someone’s arm with a four-foot-long blade at a holiday party, even if one had legitimate grievances with that person’s town council votes. Nor could I announce, as every non-Jewish media outlet would expect, that these people whose hairstyles one dislikes are ‘canaries in the coal mine;’ people whose fractured skulls we all ought to care about because they serve as a warning—because when Jews get murdered or maimed, it might be an ominous sign that actual people, people who wear athleisure, might later get attacked! I was done with this sort of thing, which amounted to politely persuading people of one’s right to exist…” Horn’s righteously angry, often grieving, and very funny essays focus on more than antisemitism; she contemplates time, space, death, loss, the personality of the hero, Yiddish literature, and introducing “The Merchant of Venice” to her middle school son. Horn is an observant Jew, but she never writes about Judaism as a belief system. Instead she elucidates Jewish experience, elucidating the Jewish point of view and the history that informs it, how Jewish stories begin and stop, about the human fellowship across space and time that Jewish religious study and ritual create, and about the ancient, fresh, demanding, weird, cyclical, timeless, time-heavy, time-bending, alive, sometimes farcical, always questioning, conversation-heavy experience of participating in an online Talmud reading group. But Horn is most lively, piercing, surprising and devastating when she describes it’s like for a member of a minuscule religious, and ethnic minority to live under what I can only describe as the relentless, hostile and always distortive, western cultural, Eye of Sauron Gentile gaze. Horn deftly externalizes internalized antisemitic distortions and oppressive self-awarenesses this surveillance creates while debunking the pathetic, self-protective myth American immigrant Jews told their children and grandchildren––that their names were anglicized, i.e., “neutralized” by Ellis Island officials. Horn demonstrates the immigrants “hid their yarmulkes under baseball caps, when they Americanized and expunged their Jewish names “in order not to interfere” with and to gain admittance into American society. Horn asks one question that frames and informs all the other questions and preoccupations: “Why are Jews required to "participate... in [the] perverse historical mind trick of justifying [their] own people's humiliation––a humiliation that… cost so many of [their] ancestors their dignity and even their lives?" Horn poses this question when she asks why Jewish literature students are required to agree that dehumanizing, demonizing caricatures like Shylock are really pro-Jewish. Or when she notes that Jewish-immigrant names were too hard to pronounce or spell, but not Italian ones. Or when a swastika carved into a desk at her son’s school is “no big deal,” or when any social media post with Jewish content––even nonpolitical posts about baking challah––are met with a pile-on of hatred and harassment, or in the libels that accompany the calls for Jewish boycotts. Horn’s exasperation, grief, rage and solace, console, invigorate, oppress and liberate at the same time. Horn demonstrates how not to not to be universalized, how to not to agree to be coerced, gaslit or silenced, how not to “neutralize” the particulars of who we are to make other people comfortable or to defuse their anger, and how not to flatter or feed the thoughtless, insatiable ignorance of majority culture and tradition. With these essays, Horn makes many things clear. But why dead Jews are the best Jews and living Jews have been required for thousands of years to justify, defend and be complicit in their own disempowerment, debasement and victimization is a question that can only be answered by those for whom alive Jewishness is a problem and a provocation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julius Adams

    Brilliant! This book had me in tears too many times, as it speaks of truths many are afraid to confront. Each essay spoke of the treatment of the Jewish people through history in well known, and some not so well known, historical episodes. What made this so poignant was the human and personal approach. While there are moments that can make you laugh out loud (and make you want to read out loud as I did), it is merely a way of dealing with the much more serious content that spans from disturbing t Brilliant! This book had me in tears too many times, as it speaks of truths many are afraid to confront. Each essay spoke of the treatment of the Jewish people through history in well known, and some not so well known, historical episodes. What made this so poignant was the human and personal approach. While there are moments that can make you laugh out loud (and make you want to read out loud as I did), it is merely a way of dealing with the much more serious content that spans from disturbing to philosophical. The final essay is riveting and sums up the importance of not losing an important culture. I identified, as would many even if not Jewish. An important, moving and wonderfully written book that will glue you to your seat until finished. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Popsugar 2021 challenge: A book you have seen on someone’s bookshelf (in real life, on a Zoom call, in a TV show, etc.) I’ve had a couple books listed as a possible choice for this category but nothing felt sufficiently serendipitous enough. As in I looked at random booktuber videos specifically to look at their bookshelves for this category. But that felt incorrect somehow. Then I saw this book in a friend’s book haul on Instagram and it immediately caught my attention. Specifically that title, Popsugar 2021 challenge: A book you have seen on someone’s bookshelf (in real life, on a Zoom call, in a TV show, etc.) I’ve had a couple books listed as a possible choice for this category but nothing felt sufficiently serendipitous enough. As in I looked at random booktuber videos specifically to look at their bookshelves for this category. But that felt incorrect somehow. Then I saw this book in a friend’s book haul on Instagram and it immediately caught my attention. Specifically that title, wow. Like a lot of non-Jewish people, the last few years have seen me grappling with how little I know about antisemitism and the many forms it can take. I don’t just mean the hate crime murders that have happened in the past few years. I also mean things like … so a few years ago I was attempting a reading challenge and one of the categories was to read a religious memoir from a faith tradition that was not your own. I knew I wanted to read a book about Judaism. lol and behold most of the recommended memoirs were about leaving the faith in some fashion. Books about being Christian seem to sell for publishers while leaving Judaism also seems to sell. This also rankled whenever I noticed how much historical fiction seems to be winsome, overall uplifting stories about the Holocaust. Yeah. I’m definitely glad I stumbled across this book. There were topics that were entirely new to me (the Jewish community in Harbin China in the 20th century), topics that has already occurred to me but I really wanted/needed a Jewish perspective on (the aforementioned schmaltzy WW2 lit), and topics I thought I knew but actually didn’t at all (Ellis island names.) I was also moved by the early section on Anne Frank’s legacy and how it’s often used to placate people. It reminds me of how people use Martin Luther King Jr, actually. I also loved that (view spoiler)[the closest thing to redemption in this book comes from the author learning daf yomi. Aka finding solace, humor, and joy in a living Jewish tradition. (hide spoiler)] I did quibble with some things (view spoiler)[she said that the victims of Pulse Nightclub weren’t really victim blamed. They definitely weren’t to the extent that has happened to murder victims of antisemitic attacks … but I do remember people really really really wanted the perpetrator to have been closeted gay and that is a homophobic, dog whistle sort of trope. So I was like meh. (hide spoiler)] My other quibble is that I wish some chapters were longer. But overall this was an incredible read that lived up to its galvanizing title.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Singer

    An easy to read, thoughtful book of essays on antisemitism in the present day. Some of the essays are more successful than others in reaching the bottom of the particular issue, but each presents the reader with a well-written, reasonably cogent thesis on the particular issue in the essay. My favorite was the essay about the traveling Auschwitz museum and the general subject of memorialization of the Holocaust, if only because it is refreshing to see one's owns thoughts shared by another. The mo An easy to read, thoughtful book of essays on antisemitism in the present day. Some of the essays are more successful than others in reaching the bottom of the particular issue, but each presents the reader with a well-written, reasonably cogent thesis on the particular issue in the essay. My favorite was the essay about the traveling Auschwitz museum and the general subject of memorialization of the Holocaust, if only because it is refreshing to see one's owns thoughts shared by another. The most interesting -- if, at the end of the day, unsuccessful -- was the author's rumination on the fate and motivations of Varian Fry, one of the rescuers of Jews in the Holocaust from the USA. Ultimately, the author's attempt at explaining his behavior isn't all that convincing, but the story is fascinating and richly deserving of a public airing. (It only didn't get five stars, because while I appreciated the vignette about the Merchant of Venice and her son, it all seemed rather voyeuristic as opposed to making any larger point beyond the obvious -- that we make excuses for the famous of all stripes negative aspects, in order to think of them positively -- i.e., no one really wants to spend time thinking about Michael Jordan possibly being a jerk, but rather a fabulous basketball player.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    ***Goodreads Giveaway Win*** Damn I love a book that enlightens me to an idea that has never crossed my mind. Dana Horn's theme for this book did just that. I won't say what that theme is but you can probably guess by the title. I can say without equivocation that I have no prejudice against Jewish people but this book did make me think hard about my biases, which includes the connections I make between Jews and the holocaust. Besides the themes, Dana's writing style was a brilliant mix of darkly ***Goodreads Giveaway Win*** Damn I love a book that enlightens me to an idea that has never crossed my mind. Dana Horn's theme for this book did just that. I won't say what that theme is but you can probably guess by the title. I can say without equivocation that I have no prejudice against Jewish people but this book did make me think hard about my biases, which includes the connections I make between Jews and the holocaust. Besides the themes, Dana's writing style was a brilliant mix of darkly funny and pissed off. I love that she did not apologize for her anger. And I love that I found my giggling at something that I probably shouldn't be giggling about. Highly recommend to anyone with an open mind.

  23. 5 out of 5

    max theodore

    i could say something here about how this book is incredibly important and masterfully written at the same time, but dara horn's writing speaks for itself. you can read the first essay in this book online here (tws for antisemitism & the holocaust), and you should go do that, and then you should go read the rest of this book. i could say something here about how this book is incredibly important and masterfully written at the same time, but dara horn's writing speaks for itself. you can read the first essay in this book online here (tws for antisemitism & the holocaust), and you should go do that, and then you should go read the rest of this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zev

    I've read some of her articles online, so I was excited to discover this book. I checked it out immediately. Its publication date was the same day my library got an ebook copy, which was neat. Some of the things she wrote about, I already knew. Some of the anti-semitism she'd experienced, I had too. I told myself to read it cover to cover, and it was emotionally difficult. I learned a lot still, and checked out a few books she talked about. I also looked up youtube videos of other stuff she ment I've read some of her articles online, so I was excited to discover this book. I checked it out immediately. Its publication date was the same day my library got an ebook copy, which was neat. Some of the things she wrote about, I already knew. Some of the anti-semitism she'd experienced, I had too. I told myself to read it cover to cover, and it was emotionally difficult. I learned a lot still, and checked out a few books she talked about. I also looked up youtube videos of other stuff she mentioned. I tried to read the book in one sitting and I do not recommend such. This is aimed specially at Americans and talks about issues that American Jewish people face more than any, but she does briefly refer to Jewish people in other countries. One thing that totally shattered my worldview was...she talked about how books are written in Western society, and how overwhelmingly audiences look for happy endings, or at the very least neat, concise conclusions. How many times have I complained in reviews that the ending was odd, unclear, rushed, or sloppy? It's usually within the context of a negative review of a book that I feel has other flaws and is poorly written. I don't think those authors intended what Horn is describing. Her book, too, as an example of how books outside Western ideals are written, ends on a somewhat cheerful note. Had she not talked about how Western books are written, it would have been jarring, odd, and I wouldn't know how to feel about it. I'm going to think about that for awhile, and my views on my own fiction writing are a little different now, but that makes this about meeee and is not the point. She talks about how antagonists need to be cartoonish or redeemed and how this affects Western society and maintains their ideals, and...it explains a lot. Makes lots of sense. There's lots of other points this book had me thinking hard about. I'm so glad I read this. Highly recommended to everyone; it's so important.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    I had first thought to read Horn's essays a 2nd time before submitting a review. However, I just couldn't shut off my initial responses to what I had read. These confronting, provocative essays argue her radical view that "the many strange and sickening ways in which the world's fascination for dead Jews shapes the present moment" is "a profound affront to human dignity." Supporting her controversial perspective is the attention given to Anne Frank's diary and the house in which she hid, which h I had first thought to read Horn's essays a 2nd time before submitting a review. However, I just couldn't shut off my initial responses to what I had read. These confronting, provocative essays argue her radical view that "the many strange and sickening ways in which the world's fascination for dead Jews shapes the present moment" is "a profound affront to human dignity." Supporting her controversial perspective is the attention given to Anne Frank's diary and the house in which she hid, which has itself become a tourist attraction. Horn explores "seemingly good-faith cultural enterprises" like "Holocaust museums, canonical Western literature, and the elaborate restoration of Jewish historical sites as far-away as China" to break the myth that these demonstrate a respect for "living Jews". The growing presence of violent antisemitic attacks in America and in Europe provides evidence that the ancient hatred is again "on the rise". Perhaps most controversial is her view of the "blockbuster" travelling Auschwitz exhibition among these "affronts" as swastikas continue to be carved into school children's desks and painted on walls outside synagogues. As a former literature teacher, I was glued to her discussion of Shakespeare's Shylock with her ten-year old son, who had no hesitation is seeing the antisemitism in the playwright's portrait. Also fascinating to me, as the great-granddaughter of Eastern European Jews who had escaped the pogroms to America in the early 1900s through Ellis Island, was her refutation that European/Jewish names were changed because of the difficulty of their pronunciation. That was the story I had been told by my grandfather regarding my family's name change, yet Horn maintained the simplifications were to avoid being the targets of the prevalent antisemitism of the time. Mind-blowing! The tone of Horn’s essays remained academic until she discussed the violence in the recent antisemitic attack in Monsey on Hasidic Jews, when her anger and frustration became evident. As a writer, a scholar and professor of Jewish History and Literature, and as an observant Jew, Horn’s confronting portrayal of antisemitism and the myth of the American Dream for its past and present Jews is nothing short of explosive. She ends with her hope that her children “will never feel the need to read” this book. I, however, am glad I did.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I'm going to recommend this book to every Jewish person I know! It's an important and even life-changing read. I'm going to recommend this book to every Jewish person I know! It's an important and even life-changing read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hadassah

    Learned of this book from my local Jewish newspaper. Happy I did. I learned fare bit of global Jewish history but maybe more importantly, the author put words to some of my feels I could never express. I highly recommend this book for any teacher teaching Holocaust history. Each essay was good but as a collection they were fabulous.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Helena

    I expected lo learn something. I did not expect it to be a page turner. And it’s a mind blower. There are so many things I will never see the same way again. This is a necessary book but it tells a sad story of 3000 years of antisemitism that is once again rearing its ugly head. The author is a novelist and she is such a skillful writer that a collection of essays is a riveting read. Bravo!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Schwartz

    This is a significant book: well thought out and articulately written. Dara Horn evaluates with intellect, passion, and humor manifestations of antisemitism in such areas as Holocaust fiction, Jewish heritage sites in places that no longer have Jews, and the myth of name changing at Ellis Island. The companion podcast, "Adventures with Dead Jews" is not to be missed. This is a book I want to buy (a rarity for me)! This is a significant book: well thought out and articulately written. Dara Horn evaluates with intellect, passion, and humor manifestations of antisemitism in such areas as Holocaust fiction, Jewish heritage sites in places that no longer have Jews, and the myth of name changing at Ellis Island. The companion podcast, "Adventures with Dead Jews" is not to be missed. This is a book I want to buy (a rarity for me)!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marlee Pinsker

    Dara Horn has this habit of starting down a path and beckoning the reader along. Then we get to go down the path with her, hear what she thinks, feel what she feels and long after we might have been ready to turn around she is still walking, searching, weighing and relating. I have learned to walk in her footsteps, and I may end up exhausted and bedraggled, but, wow, what I learn from her conversation. This book is non fiction but no less revelatory than her fictional journeys into imaginative u Dara Horn has this habit of starting down a path and beckoning the reader along. Then we get to go down the path with her, hear what she thinks, feel what she feels and long after we might have been ready to turn around she is still walking, searching, weighing and relating. I have learned to walk in her footsteps, and I may end up exhausted and bedraggled, but, wow, what I learn from her conversation. This book is non fiction but no less revelatory than her fictional journeys into imaginative understanding. I am so grateful to be able to go along with her.

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