“I [his hostess “more famous than intelligent -which is one of the hazards of democracy”] would like to know how you explain the unpopularity of the Jews.”…She seemed to be asking me, as a Jew, to break down and confess something that would clear up the murder of the three million Jews of Europe…
Written in 1944, I found it a brilliant and devastating analysis of German, American and universal antisemitism.
One of the two reviews on Amazon says that
Hecht’s lofty vocabulary, though never pretentious, renders this book and its brilliant ideas almost inaccessible…
I cannot agree – most of it is written in what the same reviewer descibed as an “intimate, entertaining and engaging style” (!)
My copy is inscribed with the bookplate of Dave and Babs Blaushild. Perhaps, based on this archive note, it even accompanied a Jewish American soldier during WWII.
Ben Hecht was an active “highly partisan” Zionist – so described in the brief summary here – but in the book (an act of deception?) he seems to suggest that he no longer has any interest in Zionism. Although a copy and paste job in parts, this is another interesting mini biography.