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Joshua Cohen: Joshua Sobol, 3 March 2011

Cut Throat Dog 
by Joshua Sobol, translated by Dalya Bilu.
Melville House, 270 pp., £10.99, November 2010, 978 1 935554 21 9
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... permutations of character and situation – survived by hiding in a Catholic boarding school. Joshua Sobol (his given name is often Hebraicised in English as Yehoshuah), born in 1939 in Mandate Tel Aviv, is similarly preoccupied with both genocide and formal experimentation. Cut Throat Dog is his first novel to be translated, though not his first ...

How so very dear

Joshua Cohen: Ben Marcus, 21 June 2012

The Flame Alphabet: A Novel 
by Ben Marcus.
Granta, 289 pp., £16.99, June 2012, 978 1 84708 622 8
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... A prophet is wandering Samaria when he encounters a gang of children. They begin taunting him, pointing out his baldness. The prophet becomes enraged and curses them, and suddenly two female bears lumber out of the woods and maul the children, killing them. The prophet is Elisha, who inherited Elijah’s powers when the latter ascended to heaven in a fiery chariot ...

The crematorium is a zoo

Joshua Cohen: H.G. Adler, 3 March 2016

The Wall 
by H.G. Adler, translated by Peter Filkins.
Modern Library, 672 pp., £12.99, September 2015, 978 0 8129 8315 9
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... On​ 18 May 1961, towards the end of Session 45 of the Eichmann trial, Judge Halevi asked State Prosecutor Bar-Or if he’d finished submitting into evidence all the documents relevant to the Theresienstadt camp. Bar-Or said he had, though of course there was also ‘the well-known book by Dr John Adler’: ‘This is the outstanding book about Theresienstadt, and it is called Theresienstadt ...

No one hates him more

Joshua Cohen: Franzen on Kraus, 7 November 2013

The Kraus Project 
by Jonathan Franzen.
Fourth Estate, 318 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 0 00 751743 5
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... What’s the German for a writer who resurrects a writer who would have hated him? Until a word is coined, I’m going to go with ‘Franzen’ – after the most famous American novelist of the moment, whose commercial and critical success has brought him, if his public statements are any indication, nothing but misery. His new book, The Kraus Project, returns him to the early 1980s, before he wrote The Corrections and Freedom – two internationally bestselling epics of middle-class white America struggling with marriage, parenthood, illness and climate change – and his two earlier, somewhat disavowed systems novels ...

Sheer Cloakery

Adam Mars-Jones: Joshua Cohen, 24 September 2015

Book of Numbers 
by Joshua Cohen.
Harvill Secker, 580 pp., £16.99, June 2015, 978 1 84655 865 8
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... The​ American novelist Joshua Cohen arrives with the reputation of a wizard in the making, but his magic is as likely to blow every fuse in the house of fiction as transport it into a new dimension. There are wonderful things here cloaked with an invisibility spell, tucked away in the middle of the book, where only the stubbornest seeker after enchantment will find them ...

Let every faction bloom

John Patrick Diggins, 6 March 1997

For Love of Country: Debating the Limits of Patriotism 
edited by Joshua Cohen.
Beacon, 154 pp., $15, August 1996, 0 8070 4313 3
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For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism 
by Maurizio Viroli.
Oxford, 214 pp., £22.50, September 1995, 0 19 827952 3
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Bonds of Affection: Americans Define Their Patriotism 
edited by John Bodnar.
Princeton, 352 pp., £45, September 1996, 0 691 04397 3
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Buring the Flag: The Great 1989-90 American Flag Desecration Controversy 
by Robert Justin Goldstein.
Kent State, 453 pp., $39, July 1996, 0 87338 526 8
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... In the mid-seventies, when the New Left in America was beginning to sense its impotence after the part it had played in bringing to an end the war in Vietnam, I was asked to give a talk at the University of Florence on the subject of American radicalism. Italian students and academics, many of them Marxists and feminists, seemed to appreciate my account of a student phenomenon that was unable to reach beyond the campus ...

I wasn’t just a brain in a jar

Christian Lorentzen: Edward Snowden, 26 September 2019

Permanent Record 
by Edward Snowden.
Macmillan, 339 pp., £20, September 2019, 978 1 5290 3565 0
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... Hong Kong – a true airport thriller scene. (In his acknowledgments, Snowden thanks the novelist Joshua Cohen for ‘taking me to writing school’; Cohen’s 2015 novel Book of Numbers is about the ghostwriter of the memoir of a tech billionaire who leaves the grid, making the new book a case of life imitating ...

A Piece of White Silk

Jacqueline Rose: Honour Killing, 5 November 2009

Murder in the Name of Honour 
by Rana Husseini.
Oneworld, 250 pp., £12.99, May 2009, 978 1 85168 524 0
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In Honour of Fadime: Murder and Shame 
by Unni Wikan, translated by Anna Paterson.
Chicago, 305 pp., £12.50, June 2008, 978 0 226 89686 1
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Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed 
by Ayse Onal.
Saqi, 256 pp., £12.99, May 2008, 978 0 86356 617 2
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... complaint (Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? is the title of a 1999 anthology edited by Joshua Cohen, Matthew Howard and Martha Nussbaum). ‘I failed her,’ Mona Sahlin, the Swedish minister for integration, said after Fadime’s death, ‘because I was afraid of fanning the flames of racism.’ Southall Black Sisters, the first group to ...

Heroes

Pat Rogers, 6 November 1986

Hume and the Heroic Portrait: Studies in 18th-Century Imagery 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 139 pp., £29.50, May 1986, 0 19 817371 7
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Augustan Studies: Essays in honour of Irvin Ehrenpreis 
edited by Douglas Lane Patey and Timothy Keegan.
University of Delaware Press, 270 pp., £24.50, May 1986, 9780874132724
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The 18th Century: The Intellectual and Cultural Context of English Literature 1700-1789 
by James Sambrook.
Longman, 290 pp., £15.95, April 1986, 0 582 49306 4
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... Warburg Institute in 1933. At the centre of this essay, and of the new volume, is the figure of Joshua Reynolds: again, if one does not immediately connect Wind with Reynolds, it should be pointed out that in the relevant entry in the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, Wind supplies more items than any other secondary authority. Some of these ...

Which Face?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Emigrés on the Make, 6 February 2020

Cold War Exiles and the CIA: Plotting to Free Russia 
by Benjamin Tromly.
Oxford, 329 pp., £75, September 2019, 978 0 19 884040 4
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The Dissidents: A Memoir of Working with the Resistance in Russia, 1960-90 
by Peter Reddaway.
Brookings, 337 pp., £25.50, February, 978 0 8157 3773 5
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... on samizdat documents from Reddaway to the NTS’s publishing house in Frankfurt, while Stephen Cohen of Princeton, persona non grata with the Soviets because his research topic was the Bolshevik Oppositionist Nikolai Bukharin, passed materials on to Valery Chalidze, who helped found the Moscow Human Rights Committee in 1970. Peter Dornan at Radio Liberty ...

Inhumane, Intolerant, Unclean

Ian Gilmour, 31 October 1996

A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 
by Karen Armstrong.
HarperCollins, 474 pp., £20, July 1996, 0 00 255522 0
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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years 
by Israel Shahak.
Pluto, 118 pp., £11.99, April 1994, 9780745308180
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City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present 
edited by Nitza Rosovsky.
Harvard, 562 pp., £25.50, April 1996, 0 674 13190 8
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Jerusalem in the 20th Century 
by Martin Gilbert.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 7011 3070 9
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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 
by Norman Finkelstein.
Verso, 230 pp., £39.95, December 1995, 1 85984 940 7
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To Rule Jerusalem 
by Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht.
Cambridge, 554 pp., £29.95, June 1996, 0 521 44046 7
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... he existed – and there is no archaeological or other evidence for him, or for Solomon, Moses or Joshua, outside the Bible, the relevant books of which were written hundreds of years after the events they purport to describe – David was probably an enlightened invader. Unlike many succeeding conquerors, he did not kill or dispossess those he had conquered ...

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