Category Archives: Book Reviews

A Beautiful Mind in Marin County

The other day, a friend from shul told me that he feels like giving up. “Reading your blog post about the countless gender choices on Facebook,” said my friend, “made me realize that my grandchildren won’t be shocked at this craziness. To them, it will be normal. And that is sick. It feels like the […]

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Barbara Stanwyck’s Secrets

The new Barbara Stanwyck biography, A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel True, 1907 – 1940 by Victoria Wilson, is, with appendix, footnotes, index and acknowledgements, over 1,000 pages long. And it is just volume one. This first, full scale bio of Barbara Stanwyck is an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) study of Hollywood’s greatest actress. Born […]

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Ava Gardner Does Not Grow Old

In 1988, only two years before her death, Ava Gardner, living in semi-seclusion in London, unable to get work, and running dangerously low on funds, asked the late British author Peter Evans to ghostwrite her autobiography. Deadpanned Gardner: “I either write the book or sell the jewels, and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” Only […]

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“Like Dreamers” Yossi Klein Halevi’s Masterful Book About The Soul of Modern Israel

  There was a time when Seraphic Secret was afraid of Yossi Klein Halevi. Flashback: High School. The mid-sixties. Brooklyn Talmudical Academy. Seraphic Secret was a less than enthusiastic student who was forever cutting classes in order to go to the movies and acquire the education I really wanted. Yossi Klein Halevi was one of […]

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In The Courtyard of the Kabbalist

All great movies are, at the core, love stories. And it follows that all great novels are also love stories. And it is for this reason that novels written by Orthodox Jews about Orthodox Jews have been noticeably absent even with the astonishing modern rise of Orthodoxy in North America and Israel. How is a […]

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Henry Fonda Loses It

Henry Fonda in Drums Along the Mohawk, 1939. Years ago, I was writing a film for a well known producer who had been a child star. One day, during a story conference, we noticed a dozen children and their mothers being herded into a casting session. From the window of our studio office, my producer […]

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