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I was unfamiliar with Bernard-Henri Levy until now. Stylistically, I have read few, if any, books that beam with both intellectual weight and aesthetic language throughout. It is clear that Bernand-Henri loves France and has seemingly come to appreciate his Jewish heritage only more recently. Perhaps this book is the result of his unexpected fascination with Judaism and a need to reconcile the modern problems with religion (any religion) and a belief in God to the flourishing to secular ideals. It's beautiful.
The substance of the book delves into a stunning and brilliant analysis of Anti-Semitism. He notes the very specific forms and expressions of Anti-Semitism throughout history from an almost anthropological perspective. Perhaps one of the most profound discussions in the book is his speculation...and warning...of a new kind of Anti-Semitic construct forming today. He observes that charged language must become socially-acceptable, accusations of Jewish wrongdoing must become popular, and open violence must be intellectually defensible, even as we tepidly condemn it. This new strain of hostility will be perfectly suited to the spirit of the age and therefore, difficult to see, harder to stop...just as it was each time in the past.
You will also find a meaningful and in-depth analysis of the situation in Libya. His personal experiences and conclusions are laid out for us in detail. He urges compassion and action for Muslims who are suffering around the world. He sees their struggle as our struggle.
Finally, Barnard-Henri grapples with the conclusion (and namesake) of the book. He tries to create an intellectual framework that bridges a secular world view to an ancient tradition of monotheism. He believes he found the secret. However, it is unclear to me whether the author has truly discovered the one genius of Judaism, or merely the genius of Bernard-Henri Levy as he attempts to build this bridge. Even if you disagree with him, the book is faultless in its sincerity.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I thought this book was going to be in the mystical tradition, or at least rabbinical, about the genius of Judaism. Instead it was a long history (and present) of anti-Semitism in France.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful