Jewish Lives

Streisand – Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power

Neal Gabler— She always seemed to be an example. She was an example of chutzpah. As one fan would say of Streisand’s legacy, “For me, it began with her first revelation: by shoving a Jewish girl’s face in front of the cameras she was announcing, beneath all the self-deprecation, I’m

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The American Prophet – Louis D. Brandeis

Jeffrey Rosen— Recognizing Brandeis as an American prophet seems more relevant today than ever. Brandeis’s consistent opposition to the curse of bigness made him one of the greatest constitutional philosophers of the twentieth century. He is also the Jeffersonian prophet whose prophecies have been most consistently vindicated. The “people’s lawyer”

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Shining a Spotlight on Jewish Lives

To celebrate the launch of the new Jewish Lives series website, you can get 25% off purchases of books in the series and enter for a chance to win all 35 books. The Jewish Lives series is a major series of interpretative biography designed to illuminate the imprint of Jewish figures upon

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How Marcus Rothkowitz Became Mark Rothko

Annie Cohen-Solal— Following his breakthrough into the art world, Marcus Rothkowitz seemed to build momentum, steadily lining up serious and interesting projects; however, as a New York artist, he still needed to establish a foothold. Despite his late start, by age thirty he could already boast about having his first

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Video: Allen and Wallace Shawn Discuss Leonard Bernstein

Brothers Allen and Wallace Shawn recently sat down to discuss the life of legendary composer, conductor, and author Leonard Bernstein. While most of us know him today for the spectacular scores he composed for The West Side Story, On The Waterfront, and A Quiet Place, few may not know his struggles as

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Analyzing Freud, the Master of Psychoanalysis

“Biographers, Freud knew even as a young man, spoke on other people’s behalf—like parents, doctors, rabbis, and politicians. Psychoanalysis was to be a medical treatment which enabled people to speak on their own behalf.”—Adam Phillips, Becoming Freud In his biography of Sigmund Freud’s early life, Becoming Freud: The Making of

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For the Introspective Writer

No one sings as purely as those who inhabit the deepest hell—what we take to be the song of angels is their song. —Franz Kafka in a letter to Milena Jesenska, August 26, 1920 The anguished metaphor that Kafka describes to Jesenska is perhaps characteristic of his life and work.

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Bernard Berenson: Living a Life Devoted to Great Art

Bernard Berenson’s life is an inspiring story of a poor immigrant to America achieving great fame and fortune. A sensitive and articulate consumer of art, his incredible eye and his talent for engaging listeners in interpretations of artworks took him from his humble beginnings to a lavish lifestyle assisting Gilded

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Jacob: A Story of Crime, Punishment, and the Birth of Nation

How do you write a biography with only one source of information? Such is the challenge for Yair Zakovitch, author of Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch,who takes on the role of biblical biographer and, consequently, literary archaeologist. Rather than dig deep in the earth for clues of the past, Zakovitch dives into

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The Moment of Emma Goldman

Speaking of all the revolutionary action going around—Trotsky, anarchy, Wall Street—Emma Goldman seems to have a found a perfect moment to surface as she does in Vivian Gornick’s new Jewish Lives biography, Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life. A book-based essay that Gornick has written for The Jewish

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