Sounds like a good read! I wonder if it’s available in a German-language version? The title and author’s name kind of implies it might be, but then again it’s easy to read too much into a name.
This sounds absolutely brilliant.
I’ve often thought it a monstrosity that the compensatory new state was imposed on people who carried no guilt for war crimes against Jewish people, instead of on those who did. And considering the longstanding grievances in the region, it almost makes me think that yet more divide-and-conquer must’ve been a primary goal.
I like alt.history but this scenario doesnt even seem vaguely plausible. At least YPU was based on a kernel of actual history. That and after googleing various things about this novel, it looks a lot like yet another American assimilated Jew saying they know what is best for another country.
Reminds me of The Mirage, an alternate history of the Middle East that placed a Jewish state similarly. A more realistic (a dubious merit considering fiction is being discussed) book would place it in Uganda- which I think might be equally if not more interesting.
straight-arrow historian, refusing to accept any relativism or nuance in her history: things are true or they are not.
I’m sorry but real historians know that it doesn’t work that way.
I agree. I like the factual hook for the alt-history tale. I preferred Turtledove’s “How Few Remain” to “Guns of the South” for that reason.
Also, I liked YPU, but I never thought Chabon gave very much thought to the economy that would be required to sustain – what was it – 800,000 people(?) on Sitka. It just didn’t make very much sense, though I enjoyed the setting.
Well for what was framed as a police story, a discourse on economics might just have been reminiscent of certain cinematic evils perpetrated by George Lucas.
It would make more sense to turn Nevada or some place in North-America into Israel.
Why doesn’t it seem plausible? Could it not have been a continuation of the idea behind the Jewish Autonomous Oblast? Would not Europe - having seen first-hand the suffering of the Jewish people - be amenable to an accommodation for them that was largely at the expense of their primary oppressors (whilst conveniently absolving collaborators such as the Vichy regime of responsibility)?
Europe in 1948 was not yet finished with kicking the Jews around. The Kielce massacre was in 1946. There were demonstrations outside the Lansdberg Prison protesting the imprisonment and hanging of war criminals. From Lansdbserg’s wikipedia entry: “8 In the last half of 1950 and the first half of 1951, thousands of Germans took part in demonstrations outside Landsberg prison to demand pardons for all the war criminals while the German media coverage was overwhelmingly on the side of the condemned, who were depicted as the innocent victims of American “lynch law””
Europe didn’t start reckoning with what happened until the 60s. And it was young people born during and after the war who freaked out at things like Auschwitz guards collecting veteran’s pensions that brought about the reckoning.
A potempkin village museum piece?
Well no. Thats exactly the first point of implausibility right there. Remember that the “displaced persons” camps existed for years in Europe. They didnt want us then and from the fact that in some of the “advanced” parts of Europe we still require armed troops guarding our schools, markets and synagogues, its not fully clear how much they want us now either. The less advanced parts of Europe? Well, its not like theres any Jews left there to kick around.
Seconding this. My grandparents’ bakery in Lodz, Poland, is still standing. We made some preliminary inquiries about potentially reclaiming it, and the town council basically responded with veiled death threats. The majority of Europe has made it very clear about how they feel about Jews.
From an outside perspective: It doesn’t look like it’s any better in Israel.
For the most part not true. Even in the cases where it is true, at least in the land of Israel we are truely home.
It exists. And for a Potemkin province, Birobidzhan is kind of awesome in that where-else-will-you-find-Yiddish-speaking-Koreans kind of way. But for actual Jews sent there, it was little more than an alternative to dying in a Gulag camp north of the Arctic Circle.
Is that economy really any more unsustainable than that of Israel, a welfare state that gets by on an annual multibillion dollar handout from the U.S.? Sadly, that somehow “makes sense,” to a lot of people.
America needs to give that handout far more than Israel needs to receive it. It’s what keeps the Israeli military from, how to put it, adopting the region’s norms regarding regarding rules of engagement and brutality.
How good it would be if it did adopt those norms, instead of the ones they’ve developed. Trouble is, it’s developed its own much more cruel, murderous, thieving, and self-serving modes of brutality.