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Coming Soon – Fall 2019
Karl Marx: Philosophy and Revolution
By Shlomo Avineri
Karl Marx (1818–1883)—philosopher, historian, sociologist, economist, current affairs journalist, and editor—was one of the most influential and revolutionary thinkers of modern history, but he is rarely thought of as a Jewish thinker and his Jewish background is either overlooked or misrepresented. Here, distinguished scholar Shlomo Avineri argues that Marx’s Jewish origins did leave a significant impression on his work. Marx was born in Trier, then part of Prussia, and his family had enjoyed equal rights and emancipation during French control of the area. But then its annexation to Prussia deprived the Jewish population of its equal rights. These developments led to Marx’s father’s reluctant conversion, and similar tribulations radicalized many young intellectuals of Jewish background at the time.
Avineri puts Marx’s Jewish background in its proper and balanced perspective, and traces Marx’s intellectual development in light of the historical, intellectual, and political contexts in which he lived.
Shlomo Avineri is professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. A leading Israeli political scientist, he is the author of The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx and The Making of Modern Zionism.
Irving Berlin: New York Genius
By James Kaplan
Irving Berlin (1888–1989) has been called—by George Gershwin, among others—the greatest songwriter of the golden age of the American popular song. “Berlin has no place in American music,” legendary composer Jerome Kern wrote; “he is American music.” In a career that spanned an astonishing nine decades, Berlin wrote some fifteen hundred tunes, including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “God Bless America,” and “White Christmas.” From ragtime to the rock era, Berlin’s work has endured in the very fiber of American national identity.
Exploring the intertwining of Berlin’s life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self-made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. This fast-paced, musically opinionated biography uncovers Berlin’s unique brilliance as a composer of music and lyrics. Masterfully written and psychologically penetrating, Kaplan’s book underscores Berlin’s continued relevance in American popular culture.
James Kaplan has been writing noted biography, journalism, and fiction for more than four decades. The author of the definitive two-volume biography of Frank Sinatra, he has written more than one hundred major profiles of figures ranging from Miles Davis to Meryl Streep, from Arthur Miller to Larry David.