Category Archives: Books

Book Review: Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist by Yossi Klein Halevi

Tweet I was scared of Yossi Klein Halevi. This was back in high school when Yossi and I were students — sorta — at Brooklyn Talmudic Academy. Sorta, because Yossi and I were two off the most indifferent students in that yeshiva’s history. When I was scheduled to be in class I was, more often […]

Also posted in Rabbi Meir Kahane, Yossi Klein Halevi | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Responses

John Wayne Casts a Giant Shadow

Tweet John Wayne’s commitment to Conservative values cemented his support of Israel. Indeed, there was a time when even Hollywood liberals supported Israel publicly, and through generous charitable contributions.  Tragically, classic liberalism is dead, replaced by a postmodern Democrat party—progressivism—that is radically left and infused with the classic Jew-hatred of Marxist-Lenninism. In Scott Eyman’s compulsively […]

Also posted in Book Reviews, Hollywood, Jewish Hollywood, John Wayne, Judaism, Zionism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Responses

John Wayne Stumbles Into Overtime

Tweet Scott Eyman’s superb biography of John Wayne presents a multi-dimensional portrait of a good and decent man who went out of his way to help others. But out of intrinsic modesty, Wayne never made his kindness and charity a public calling card. Before becoming a superstar in Stagecoach (1939), Wayne was working like a […]

Also posted in Book Reviews, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, John Wayne | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Responses

Silent Star Alma Rubens: “I am a Dope Fiend But Not a Jewess!”

Tweet Many persons who have followed my career on the screen and stage mistake me for a Jewess. This belief perhaps was strengthened when I married Ricardo Cortez, my third husband, the only one I ever really loved, and whom I am now trying to divorce. Although I didn’t find it out until almost a […]

Also posted in Alma Rubens, Book Reviews, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Movies, Ricardo Cortez, Silent Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Responses

Silent Star Esther Ralston: Why Do All My Husbands Want to Kill Me? Part III

Tweet To read Part I, please click here. To read Part II, please click here. Broke, with her second marriage in shambles, and blacklisted by studio boss L.B. Mayer — Esther wouldn’t trade amorous favors for movie roles — Esther Ralston flees to New York in 1939 to rebuild her shattered career.

Also posted in Book Reviews, Esther Ralston, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Responses

Silent Star Esther Ralston: Why Do All My Husbands Want to Kill Me? Part II

Tweet Part I here. Esther Ralston was blessed with a lovely, melodic voice, thus it’s something of a puzzle why Paramount dropped Esther’s option in 1929. Esther was a rising star who, between 1924 and 1929, starred or co-starred in twenty-five films. She was a natural for talkies. But the mystery is soon cleared up […]

Also posted in Book Reviews, Esther Ralston, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Responses

Silent Star Esther Ralston: Why Do All My Husbands Want to Kill Me? Part I

Tweet They called her, the American Venus. She lived in a Hollywood mansion with a staff of servants. Her chauffeur drove a limited edition limousine. But she ended her days in a trailer park in Ventura, California.

Also posted in Book Reviews, Esther Ralston, Glamour, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Silent Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Responses

The Lion’s Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War

Tweet This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades. —Cairo’s radio station “Voice of Thunder” in the tense weeks preceding the Six Day War. Jewish history does not exist in the past. It is in the here and now. When […]

Also posted in Book Reviews, Israel, Israel Defense Forces | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Responses

John Wayne: American

Tweet Scott Eyman’s superb new biography, “John Wayne: The Life and Legend” is an exhaustive look at Wayne’s long life and career as Hollywood’s most iconic star. Eyman points out time and again that Duke—no one called him John, Jack, or his birth name, Marion—was not just Hollywood’s greatest star, but a symbol of America […]

Also posted in America, Book Reviews, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, John Wayne | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Responses

A Beautiful Mind in Marin County

Tweet 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 […]

Also posted in America, Book Reviews | Tagged , , , | 9 Responses

Barbara Stanwyck’s Secrets

Tweet 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. […]

Also posted in Barbara Stanwyck, Book Reviews, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Responses

Ava Gardner Does Not Grow Old

Tweet 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.” […]

Also posted in Ava Gardner, Book Reviews, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Responses

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

Tweet   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 […]

Also posted in Book Reviews, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Jerusalem | Tagged , , , | 9 Responses

In The Courtyard of the Kabbalist

Tweet 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 […]

Also posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Responses

The Centurions: The Prophetic Vision of Jean Lartéguy

Tweet In 1960, The Centurions, a French novel of Indo-China (Vietnam) and the Algerian insurgency, by Jean Lartéguy (b. Jean Pierre Lucien Osty), a highly decorated soldier and journalist, was a blockbuster in France. The book, a brilliant portrait of those who fight a nation’s dirty little wars, and the craven political class who command them, men […]

Also posted in Islam, Islamic Terror | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Responses

Putting the Cool In Coolidge

Tweet Yesterday, Congress passed a bill which will: 1. Increase taxes on everyone. 2. Increase the national debt. 3. Increase the size of government. The politicians are slapping themselves on the back, boasting that they have avoided the so-called fiscal cliff. But what they have really done is place America on the road to serfdom. […]

Also posted in Barack Hussein Obama, Calvin Coolidge, China, Economy | Tagged , , , , | 24 Responses

A Bookish Chanukah and Christmas

Tweet I love books. Casa Avrech is stuffed with bookshelves that are, of course, stuffed with books. As much as Seraphic Secret admires and makes use of eBooks via Kindle and the iPad, there is still something about paper, binding, and the fragrance of a freshly opened page that is intoxicating. Books are the perfect […]

Also posted in Chanukah, Edith Head | Tagged , , , , | 16 Responses

Book Review: Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter

Tweet As I was working at the studio on a script about the great and tragic silent comedienne, Mabel Normand, the producer stepped into my office to discuss a few problems in the screenplay. As we were shmoozing, the producer, hugely successful, a soft-spoken and sensitive man, wandered over to the window overlooking one of […]

Also posted in Hollywood | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Responses

Friday Fashion: Hollywood Males It In

Tweet The operative word is effortless. In truth, Chaplin’s style was only achieved through the superlative tailoring of the English Savile Row firm, Anderson & Sheppard. As the new book, Anderson & Sheppard: A Style is Born, edited by Graydon Carter and Cullen Murphy, makes clear, the venerable British tailors  shunned actors and other show-biz […]

Also posted in Clark Gable, Friday Fashion, Hollywood, Joan Crawford, Men's Fashion, Rudolph Valentino | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Responses

Friday Fotos: How I Spend My Lunch Break

Tweet Seraphic Secret follows a pretty rigid daily schedule. I stumble out of bed at 5AM and take a three-mile walk. Usually, I bop along to a music playlist on my iPhone, but for the past few days I’ve been listening to the audio version of Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Lincoln.” It’s a thrilling book that […]

Posted in Books | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Responses
  • How I Married Karen

    The new book
    by Robert J. Avrech


    Available in All Major Book Stores

    Buy this e-book for your Kindle from Amazon!
    Buy this e-book in the iBookStore!
    Buy this e-book in the iBookStore!

    Adobe Digital Edition's version is available through the Lulu store!

    Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

  • Follow Me on Pinterest
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.




  • Annual Ariel Avrech
    Memorial Lectures

    Young Israel of Century City
    Eleventh: June 8, 2014
    Michael Medved: "Shifting Alliances: Why Liberals No Longer Reliably Support Israel — And Conservatives Do." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 97MB)
    Tenth: June 9, 2013
    David Horowitz: "The War Against Judaism on the University Campus." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 16MB)
    Ninth: June 3, 2012
    Joel B. Pollak: "The Mainstream Media's Betrayal of Israel." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 15MB)
    Eighth: June 5, 2011
    Yossi Klein Halevi: "What is Expected of a Survivor People: Lessons My Father Taught Me." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 18MB)
    Seventh: June 13, 2010
    Dennis Prager: "Happiness is a Mitzvah, Not an Emotion." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 80MB)
    Sixth: June 21, 2009
    Rabbi Steven Pruzansky: "Conformity in Jewish Life: Vice, Virtue or Affectation?" Blog Post | Audio (mp3 64MB)
    Fifth: June 15, 2008
    Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl: "What Was the Rosh Yeshiva Reading: Intellectual Openness in 19th Century Lithuania." Blog Post | Audio (mp3 70MB)
  • Tags