Five Books Newsletter 28

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This week's interview

Ruth Wisse on Jewish Humour

The Harvard professor and author of No Joke: Making Jewish Humour identifies Tevye the Dairyman as the first standup comic and Sigmund Freud as Jewish humour's greatest analyst. She picks the best books on Jewish humour.

Books of the Week“When my wife says, 'there isn't any butter,' I understand that she's talking about what is in our refrigerator, not worldwide.”

Stephen Breyer on Intellectual Influences (

\“The hero of the book, Dr Laszlo Kreizler, is a crime scene analyst with an understanding of the criminal mind and an endless curiosity about human nature.”

Douglas Starr on the Pioneers of Criminology (“The reason this is such an important book is that when you study the Holocaust you ask almost immediately: How could people do this? How could men who had their own children, go out and murder other children? Or husbands take women and rip open their wombs and kill their infants and shoot them behind the ear?”

Steven Katz on The Holocaust (“The question of Xinjiang was thought in the 1940s and 1950s to be one of the most significant issues in Asian geopolitics.”

Michael Dillon on Uyghur Nationalism (“In a sense, the permanent narrative of victimhood is not quite accurate.”

Josephine Hart on The Narrative of Irish History (

Quote of the Week

"It was John Stuart Mill who said, ‘While not all conservatives are stupid, all stupid people are generally conservative.’ ”
Brink Lindsey on Traditional and Liberal Conservatism (

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