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Analysis of the Reviews


The reviews of a well-known book such as FEAR by Jan Tomasz Gross often shape the debate on the issues raised by the work more profoundly than the book itself. A significant proportion of the public will acquire their knowledge of an author’s thesis and major arguments from a reading of the reviews in influential journals and newspapers rather than from a reading of the actual text. Reviewers often raise concerns or offer interpretations of issues quite different from, and even at odds with, the author’s position. Thus, it is important to address the arguments of the reviews as well as those of the author in order to fully engage the work in its full public context.

This is especially important in the case of FEAR. Few recent books have evoked reactions from reviewers in major print media as strong and vehement as has this work. Reviewers who have little or no background in Polish history, but who clearly have strong preconceptions about Poles and Poland, wrote all the essays featured in this section. Almost all are Jewish American and their interpretations and conclusions, different as they are in some ways from each other, are shadowed by personal and family history, particularly during the Shoah. One of them, Elie Wiesel, is a survivor. It is perhaps unusual to find such a uniformity of background and family history in a group of reviewers of a book in the major newspapers from all over the country. The choice of these reviewers clearly represents a (probably correct) strategic assessment by book review editors that Gross’s book would draw more attention as a narrative in the metanarrative of Shoah than as a chapter of a particular period in postwar Polish history. The reception accorded Gross’s earlier work Neighbors probably helped determine this choice of review strategy.

We have included both published and unpublished analyses of these reviews, inlcuding writings from Piast Institute staff and researchers.  Important reviews and analyses will be added as they appear.
 


DEBORAH LIPSTADT   Publisher's Weekly (05/29/06)   Read  
Analysis: Piast Institute   Read  


JAY FREEMAN   Booklist (06/01/06)   Read  
Analysis : Piast Institute   Read  


THANE ROSENBAUM   L.A. Times (06/25/06)   Read  
Analysis : Piast Institute   Read  


ELIE WIESEL   Washington Post (06/25/06)   Read  
Analysis : Piast Institute   Read  
Letter: Adam Michnik Gazeta Wyborcza (06/28/06)   Read  
Letter: Ambassador Janusz Reiter Washington Post (07/09/06)   Read  
Letters: Letters to the Editor Washington Post (August 2006)   Read  


ADAM KIRSCH   New York Sun (06/28/06)   Read  
Analysis : Piast Institute   Read  
Letter: Charles Chotkowski to the New York Sun (07/01/06)   Read  


JOAN MELLEN   Baltimore Sun (07/02/06)   Read  
Analysis : Piast Institute   Read  
Letter: Thaddeus Radzilowski  Baltimore Sun  (07/08/06)   Read  
Letter: Ambassador Janusz Reiter Baltimore Sun (07/15/06)   Read  
Letter: Norman Boehm The News Journal (07/27/2006)   Read  


SUSAN SULEIMAN   Boston Globe (07/02/06)   Read  
Analysis: Piast Institute   Read  
Letter: Charles Chotkowski to the Boston Globe (07/12/06)   Read  


DAVID MARGOLICK   New York Times (07/23/06)   Read  
Analysis: Piast Institute   Read  
Letter: Charles Chotkowski to the New York Times (07/23/06)   Read  
An Exchange: New York Times (08/20/2006)   Read  


JOHN MURAWSKI  
The News & Observer (07/30/06)
  Read  
Analysis: Piast Institute   Read  


DAVID KINCHEN  
Huntington News (07/31/06)
  Read  
Analysis: Piast Institute   Read  


KAREN LONG   Cleveland Plain Dealer (08/06/06)   Read  
Analysis : Piast Institute   Read  


THEO RICHMOND   The Spectator (09/02/06)   Read  
Analysis: Piast Institute   Read  


DINAH SPRITZER   Jerusalem Post (09/28/06)   Read  
Analysis: Piast Institute   Read  


RUTH FRANKLIN   The New Republic (10/02/06)   Read  
Analysis: Piast Institute   Read