Alter-reviews: The Altercation Gift-giving guide, part I.
There’s a lot of great stuff this season, so I’m getting started early. City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York, 3-volumes I’m surprised not to have read more of this ambitious three-volume history of New York Jews. Its editorial pedigree is appropriate—not many would argue with the choice of Deborah Dash More as the series editor–and the historians recruited for each volumes strike one as appropriate to each topic. I attended a session of the American Jewish Historical Society conference last Spring in which each explained their ambitions and methods and have been looking forward to sitting down and spending some time with it ever since. (And I will, I swear, but not until it’s too late to recommend it in time for the holidays.) I even tried to design one of my courses around it—but that idea got the kibosh above my paygrade.
Vol. I. is called Haven of Liberty. It’s by Howard Rock and takes us from the landing in New Amsterdam in 1654 up through the end of the Civil War (during which time, by the way, the only anti-Jewish piece of legislation was ever passed in this country.) Given the history of the way Jews were, and could expected to be treated in Europe and the Middle East it’s an amazing story; a fact that gets lost in the fact that the stories that followed it are, in significant respects, even more amazing
Volume II, Emerging Metropolis, was written by Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer, pickus up where Rock leaves off and shows us how New York became the Jewish city we know and (if we are halfway decent people) we love as it takes us through the period of the great immigration.
Volume III, Jews in Gotham, by Jeffrey S.Gurock, chronicles the 20th century neighborhood life of New York Jews. Each volume also includes a “visual essay” by art historian Diana Linden which seek to illuminate Jewish culture through portraits, art, and architecture.
You can buy each volume individually or in an aggressively priced box-set which would, you know, make a nice gift. More here.
I am really enjoying all the fun stuff that comes with the deluxe version of the long-lost Stones documentary “Charlie is My Darling.” Shot in Ireland just weeks after the release of (I Can t Get No) Satisfaction, it’s a combination of wonderful behinds the scenes stuff—where the Stones sing the Beatles—and terrific live performances. The Super Deluxe Box Set (no, that’s really what it’s called) includes both DVD and Blu-ray discs (for some reason) plus a director s cut and producer s cut, and all the interviews, a couple of awesome audio CDs, one of which is the film s soundtrack album and the other a compilation of 13 live recordings the band made during the 1965 UK tour. There’s also a 10 inch vinyl record of the live material and a replica poster heralding the September 4, 1965 date they played in Belfast, one of over 200 Limited Edition numbered and enlarged cells randomly inserted from the film. I also really like the 42 page hardcover book heavy on photos, many of which are newly available, and color photos taken by Marc Sharatt, the Stones tour photographer. Finally we get reprints of vintage newspaper and magazine articles from the UK and Irish press covering the show and essays by David Fricke and Glen Hansard. More here.