The People of the Book inthe World of Books isaRussian bimonthly publication for serious readers with Jewish interests. Our English website includes only thesummaries of thepublished articles. Toaccess the complete text of them, please visit the Russian version of this website.


August 2020

This issue of the magazine features:

• Review: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

The dynasty of “Russian oil kings” founded by the merchant Chaim Kahan (1850–1916) made a significant contribution not only to the oil refining industry, but also to Jewish publishing. “What do oil and books have in common? They bring light to the world!” — this aphorism would become the motto of the Kahans. The Bolshevik Revolution stripped the family of most of their fortune, forcing them to emigrate to Germany, where Chaim’s sons were able to revive their father’s oil business. Then history repeated itself: after the Nazis came to power, the Kahans had flee to America and Palestine, taking what was left of their capital with them. In Die Kahans aus Baku: eine Familienbiographie (Göttingen, 2018), the German historian Verena Dohrn traces the lives of nearly thirty members of the Kahan family over a century and a half. Our reviewer exclaims, “If this wonderful family biography is translated into Russian (which must be done!), readers in our country will be able to fully appreciate it.”

Synopsis: A New Version of the Biblical Legend

This brief review introduces the Russian translation of the comic book Goliath by the Scottish cartoonist Tom Gauld, recently published in Saint Petersburg. Gauld’s book is an attempt to present the well-known biblical story of the confrontation between the Israelites and the Philistines from the viewpoint of the losers. The terrible Philistine giant turns out to be not a brutal warrior, but an ordinary clerk at army headquarters. He is not at all delighted that because of his tall stature the choice of his commanders fell on him. The reviewer concludes that the reader is confronted with a modern satirical-tragicomic adaptation that transforms the legend of David and Goliath into a kind of tough and topical anti-war manifesto.

Looking Through Russian Literary Magazines: Novels and Articles of Jewish Interest

Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: September–October 2020

Bibliography: Fifty-Five New Books