From Library Journal
The creation of a Jewish homeland in the Soviet Far East remains one of the more bizarre episodes of Stalin's nationality policy. Weinberg's (The Revolution of 1905 in Odessa, Indiana Univ., 1995) short history of the Jewish Autonomous Region (JAR) includes an excellent collection of photographs and documents and conveys a sense of the impossible odds of heroic settlers "unprepared psychologically and physically" for the ordeal they underwent in the JAR. In its first decade, nearly 40,000 Jews arrived in the JAR, of which perhaps half would remain. After the war, some 10,000 more followed, only to experience the "mortal blow" of "anti-Zionist" policies in late Stalinism. By the mid-1980s, not quite five percent of the JAR's 214,000 residents were Jewish. They could witness the official revival of Yiddish culture under Gorbachev. While the JAR still exists, so does the unsolved "mystery" surrounding its creation. Despite excellent writing, the scholarship here is not as exceptional as the pictures, never before published. Recommended for larger libraries and those with strong Slavic or Jewish collections.?Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Robert Weinberg is Associate Professor of History at Swarthmore College. He is author of The Revolution of 1905 in Odessa: Blood on the Steppes (1993) and coeditor of a book-length edition of the journal Russian History (1996). Bradley Berman is the Associate Curator/Project Director for "Stalin's Forgotten Zion" at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, California. Zvi Gitelman is Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and author of numerous books on Jews in the Soviet Union.