Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Avengers: a Jewish War Story

Rob Cohen’s The Avengers: a Jewish War Story holds a great deal of promise.  The story of Abba Kovner and his band of Lithuanian Jewish partisans fighting the German in World War II is intrinsically fascinating; a David and Goliath tale which generates perennial interest.

But Cohen’s book falls flat.  Cohen’s prose is uninspiring, and this translates to the story.  Cohen had great materials here, but did not capitalize on them.  The net loss is unfortunate.  The story of Jewish Partisans needs to be told, but by an author marshaling all his or her talents and resources; this book, unfortunately, fails to do just this. 

Cohen does not know what kind of book he is writing.  Memoir, history, or well meaning (and deserved) biased yearbook.  From all this what we get at the end is not history, but lukewarm hagiography.

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