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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel by Daphna Baram

This was well worth a read. It worked over the familiar story of Chaim Weizmann and the Balfour Declaration, but weaving in the involvement of the Guardian and its editor C.P. Snow. Transitioning into the 30s with increasing persecution of European Jews leading up to the holocaust, continuing to the foundation of Israel. Then passing through the Arab wars and onto Israel/Palestinian problems.

A theme of the book was the transition of the Guardian from being supportive of the foundation of a homeland for Jews to general coverage of Palestinian issues. Something that was absent from the early days.

Sub-themes were the role of the Left in Israel, and also attitudes of Jews in the UK to Israel.

I found the descriptions of how the Guardian tries to balance its stories interesting and plausible, I’m not sure all papers in the UK (or elsewhere) are anything like so careful.

Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida edited by Robert Chandler

I’ve spent a long time working my way through these. Many seem classics such as Pushkin’s Queen of Spades, Gogol’s The Overcoat and eg were referred as important to Tolstoy. I knew many already, but was not familiar with The Queen of Spades another great gambling story and I’d love to see the opera. Also, I’d never heard of The Steel Flea by Nikolai Leskov which was brilliant.

I’d like to see Tchaikovsky opera of the Queen of Spades. Amazingly, this is something Jacqui has never performed — along with the Donkey Serenade.