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.


December 2011

This issue of the magazine includes:

• Review: An American Named Augie March

The Adventures of Augie March, one of Saul Bellow’s best-known novels, has only now (after significant delay) been published in Russian translation. Analyzing this book, the reviewer gives high marks to the translators, singling out for criticism only the inaccurate transliteration of the Yiddish words and phrases used by the characters from time to time.

Problem: Comparative Review of Popular History Books

The reviewer compares two popular books on Jewish history recently released by Russian publishers. He reaches the sad conclusion that neither book manages the important task of combining engaging writing with quality content.

Synopses: New Historical and Biographical Books

El Lissitzky (1890–1941), an artist, designer, and architect, was an important figure within the Russian avant-garde. Taking as its reference point two biographies of El Lissitzky, the magazine presents an unusual “poetical” analysis of the artist’s career—from his illustrations to Yiddish children’s books to abstract art. Another brief review introduces a new monograph about the history of Jewish deputies in the Russian Empire.

Response: A Song That Was Spoiled

This article targets for sharp criticism the book Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by American artist Simms Taback. The reviewer challenges both the original idea—to retell a Yiddish folk song in prose—and its Russian version, which retains many elements of American popular culture and as such is not suitable for a children’s audience in Russia.

Publishers and Publishing Projects: Mishpokha, a Journal and Cultural Center in Vitebsk

The Jewish historical and literary journal Mishpokha was founded in Vitebsk in 1995. Over the years of its existence, it has evolved into a unique cultural center that organizes expeditions to former shtetls, produces art exhibitions, and publishes books. A brief overview of the history of Mishpokha is followed by a complete bibliography of its publications.

Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: January–February 2012

Bibliography: 100 New Books