Saved Anthologies

Foreign Affairs Anthology Series

Best International Relations Books of 2013


All anthologies are free when you subscribe

The Tragedy of a Generation: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe

In This Review

The Tragedy of a Generation: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe
By Joshua M. Karlip
Harvard University Press, 2013
400 pp. $45.00

Jewish nationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is normally associated with Zionism. But that association overlooks the remarkable alternative forms taken by the idea of a Jewish state. At the turn of the century, many young Jewish intellectuals considered the idea of a homeland in Palestine impractical and unnecessary. They were instead animated by a vision of an autonomous Jewish state within a democratic, multiethnic, and (for many) socialist Russia and eastern Europe. Karlip, with skill and clarity, navigates the many cross-currents and links between Zionism and “diaspora nationalism” and its cultural companion, Yiddishism. He examines and compares the two ideologies’ cultural and political aspects, the fluctuating role of socialist ideals in each, and, in particular, their struggles to reconcile old and new Jewishness and classical Judaism with contemporary European culture. The result is a substantial enrichment of Russian, eastern European, and Jewish history. Karlip uses the lives of three seminal figures -- Yisroel Efroikin, Zelig Kalmanovitch, and Elias Tcherikower -- to tell the story of the movement’s early idealism, inspired in part by the 1905 Russian Revolution, through its decay in the wake of World War I and the Holocaust.

Enjoy more high quality articles like this one.

Become a Subscriber

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles posted daily online and almost a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now

More Reviews on Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics From This Issue

Browse All Capsule Reviews

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.