Catalogue


Shush! [electronic resource] : growing up Jewish under Stalin : a memoir /
Emil Draitser.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
description
xiii, 301 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520254465 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780520254466 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
isbn
0520254465 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780520254466 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
How I failed my motherland -- Fathers at war -- Path to paradise -- What's in a name! -- Black shawl -- Us against them -- I don't want to have relatives! -- Friends and enemies -- The girl of my dreams -- How they laugh in Odessa -- Papa and the Soviets -- A dependent -- Without declarations -- Who's who -- A strange orange -- Who are you? -- One Passover in Odessa -- On commissars, cosmopolites, and lightbulb inventors -- Them! -- No kith, no kin -- Grandpa Uri -- Missing Mikhoels -- Black on white -- Time like glass -- The death of Stalin.
catalogue key
11954017
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Emil Draitser is authentic and honestly self-critical, while also full of humor and warmth.Shush!is a great tribute to the tenacity of a people who kept their identity and loyalty intact even when threatened with dire consequences."--Irena Grudzinska Gross, author ofThe Scar of Revolution "A wonderfully evocative memoir of childhood and adolescence during one of the most tragic epochs in Russian history. As grim as the historical background of the memoir is, the mood is redeemed by Draitser's perfectly Odessan Jewish humor, sad yet optimistic, compared with that of another great Odessan, Isaak Babel."--Lara Vapnyar, author ofThere are Jews in My HouseandMemoirs of a Muse "Emil Draitser resurrects the world of his Jewish childhood in the Soviet Union touchingly and with a great sense of humor, a truly rare quality."--Solomon Volkov, author ofShostakovich and StalinandThe Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn "Emil Draitser's memoir tells me, adroitly and movingly, more about being a child in Stalin's Russia than all the fiction and nonfiction I had read before put together. His work has worldwide appeal."--David Westheimer, author ofVon Ryan's ExpressandDeath is Lighter than a Feather
Flap Copy
"Emil Draitser is authentic and honestly self-critical, while also full of humor and warmth.Shush!is a great tribute to the tenacity of a people who kept their identity and loyalty intact even when threatened with dire consequences."--Irena Grudzinska Gross, author ofThe Scar of Revolution "A wonderfully evocative memoir of childhood and adolescence during one of the most tragic epochs in Russian history. As grim as the historical background of the memoir is, the mood is redeemed by Draitser's perfectly Odessan Jewish humor, sad yet optimistic, compared with that of another great Odessan, Isaak Babel."--Lara Vapnyar, author ofThere are Jews in My HouseandMemoirs of a Muse "Emil Draitser resurrects the world of his Jewish childhood in the Soviet Union touchingly and with a great sense of humor, a truly rare quality."--Solomon Volkov, author ofShostakovich and StalinandThe Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn "Emil Draitser's memoir tells me, adroitly and movingly, more about being a child in Stalin's Russia than all the fiction and nonfiction I had read before put together. His work has worldwide appeal."--David Westheimer, author ofVon Ryan's ExpressandDeath is Lighter than a Feather "A poignant and gripping book. . . . A compelling memoir. . . . A sweeping panorama of the Jewish history in Russia, this richly documented work is a remarkable humanitarian contribution and a challenge to the continued silence in Russia surrounding its persecution of Jews. The volume touches a nerve and is written with a depth of feeling. The reader will appreciate the skilled craftsmanship that elevates Draitser's perfect gem of a memoir to fine literature."--Notes on Contemporary Literature "Vivid and engaging. . . .The most moving episodes are concerned with Draitser's coming to terms with his Jewish identity. . . . Elegantly and warmly written, this volume will be of interest to scholars exploring Jewish life in the Soviet period. . . . Despite the dramatic nature of the material, the stories are told with humor. A welcome addition to curricula in Russian culture, as well as for Jewish studies, sociology, history, and psychology."--Slavic and East European Journal "Rich in minute observations, psychological insights, and vivid descriptions."--World Literature Today
Flap Copy
"Emil Draitser is authentic and honestly self-critical, while also full of humor and warmth. Shush! is a great tribute to the tenacity of a people who kept their identity and loyalty intact even when threatened with dire consequences."--Irena Grudzinska Gross, author of The Scar of Revolution "A wonderfully evocative memoir of childhood and adolescence during one of the most tragic epochs in Russian history. As grim as the historical background of the memoir is, the mood is redeemed by Draitser's perfectly Odessan Jewish humor, sad yet optimistic, compared with that of another great Odessan, Isaak Babel."--Lara Vapnyar, author of There are Jews in My House and Memoirs of a Muse "Emil Draitser resurrects the world of his Jewish childhood in the Soviet Union touchingly and with a great sense of humor, a truly rare quality."--Solomon Volkov, author of Shostakovich and Stalin and The Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn "Emil Draitser's memoir tells me, adroitly and movingly, more about being a child in Stalin's Russia than all the fiction and nonfiction I had read before put together. His work has worldwide appeal."--David Westheimer, author of Von Ryan's Express and Death is Lighter than a Feather "A poignant and gripping book. . . . A compelling memoir. . . . A sweeping panorama of the Jewish history in Russia, this richly documented work is a remarkable humanitarian contribution and a challenge to the continued silence in Russia surrounding its persecution of Jews. The volume touches a nerve and is written with a depth of feeling. The reader will appreciate the skilled craftsmanship that elevates Draitser's perfect gem of a memoir to fine literature."-- Notes on Contemporary Literature "Vivid and engaging. . . .The most moving episodes are concerned with Draitser's coming to terms with his Jewish identity. . . . Elegantly and warmly written, this volume will be of interest to scholars exploring Jewish life in the Soviet period. . . . Despite the dramatic nature of the material, the stories are told with humor. A welcome addition to curricula in Russian culture, as well as for Jewish studies, sociology, history, and psychology."-- Slavic and East European Journal "Rich in minute observations, psychological insights, and vivid descriptions."-- World Literature Today "An intimate account of an extraordinarily difficult period in Jewish history, written with such erudition, elegance, texture, and humor. This immensely enjoyable book makes a consequential -- and little understood -- era come alive through the prism of the author's personal experience and enviable writing style. One can only hope that this book will receive the large audience it so richly deserves." --David A. Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-01-01:
Draitser (Hunter College and an accomplished writer) was born into a working-class family in Odessa's Jewish community in 1937. This remarkable memoir begins in that year and ends with Stalin's death in 1953. The author's early recollections are of the family's flight from wartime Odessa to Tashkent after his father was drafted into the war effort, and he provides an account of this event and of the family's return and his father's resumption of his semi-legal career as an independent house painter. The author depicts the parents as warily apolitical in the face of their sons' somewhat more political orientation as a result of school indoctrination. The book's title evokes the ever-present need to downplay the family's Jewish heritage, a heritage that became more dangerous as Stalin's paranoia increased (only Stalin's death averted a massive anti-Semitic campaign). The "human" side of the saga is a warm account of family life and a vivid picture of daily existence, but in counterpoint to this is the growing awareness of the family's hazardous status (which was not alleviated, despite the author's successful journalism career, until he emigrated to the US in 1974). Draitser provides scholarly documentation for historical events, family photographs, and a genealogical tree of the 30 family members who appear in the memoir's vignettes. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers, all levels. D. B. Johnson emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-08-01:
Draitser's (Russian, Hunter Coll.; Making War, Not Love: Gender and Sexuality in Russian Humor) Soviet childhood in his mid-20th-century Odessa community was heavily influenced by the harsh realities of rampant anti-Semitism and the resulting struggles of his family to preserve their religious and cultural heritage under repressive conditions. In this minutely observed and evocatively written memoir, he skillfully draws on the often compelling life stories of his grandparents and other relatives to weave a sprawling tale that ably depicts the harrowing history of Jews in Soviet-controlled Ukraine. With touches of humor and remembering his precocious earlier self, Draitser analyzes his growing boyhood awareness of his Jewish identity and his difficult struggles to come to terms with his place in a Soviet society where to have a Jewish name or to speak Yiddish was to become a target of ridicule. With a few overly cerebral and dense historical and linguistic tangents, this work will likely appeal most to serious readers or scholars interested in Soviet or Jewish history. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.--Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A significant contribution to our understanding of life in the Soviet Union and to the vital importance of speaking out against oppression."
"A wonderfully evocative memoir that captures the experience of a Jewish family in Soviet Odessa with poignancy and humor."
"[A] remarkable memoir."-- Choice
"Speaks volumes about the steep price of decades of institutionalized anti-Semitism, and. . . the difficult journey. . . out from under its shadow."
"This painful and acutely observed memoir will resonate with many readers."-- Publishers Weekly
"Whimsical, heartfelt and candid."
"Whimsical, heartfelt and candid."--Kirkus Reviews
"Whimsical, heartfelt and candid."-- Kirkus Reviews
"Sharp and eloquent. . . . This is a must-read for all of us so as to better appreciate the freedoms we have. . . . We should be thankful to Prof. Draitser for having written this book."-- The Jewish Star
"[A] remarkable memoir."
"Speaks volumes about the steep price of decades of institutionalized anti-Semitism, and. . . the difficult journey. . . out from under its shadow."-- J Jewish News Weekly of N Cal
"This painful and acutely observed memoir will resonate with many readers."
"This painful and acutely observed memoir will resonate with many readers."--Publishers Weekly
"Poignant. . . . Draitser's story is remarkable."
"Poignant. . . . Draitser's story is remarkable."-- Slavic & East European Jrnl
"Sharp and eloquent. . . . This is a must-read for all of us so as to better appreciate the freedoms we have. . . . We should be thankful to Prof. Draitser for having written this book."
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly,
Library Journal, August 2008
Booklist, December 2008
Choice, January 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Many years after making his way to America from Odessa in Soviet Ukraine, Emil Draitser made a startling discovery: every time he uttered the word "Jewish"--even in casual conversation--he lowered his voice. This behavior was a natural by-product, he realized, of growing up in the anti-Semitic, post-Holocaust Soviet Union, when "Shush!" was the most frequent word he heard: "Don't use your Jewish name in public. Don't speak a word of Yiddish. And don't cry over your murdered relatives." This compelling memoir conveys the reader back to Draitser's childhood and provides a unique account of midtwentieth-century life in Russia as the young Draitser struggles to reconcile the harsh values of Soviet society with the values of his working-class Jewish family. Lively, evocative, and rich with humor, this unforgettable story ends with the death of Stalin and, through life stories of the author's ancestors, presents a sweeping panorama of two centuries of Jewish history in Russia.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This compelling memoir conveys the reader back to Emil Draitser's childhood and provides a unique account of mid 20th century life in Russia as the young Draitser struggles to reconcile the harsh values of Soviet society with the values of his working-class Jewish family.
Table of Contents
acknowledgments
notes on languages and translation
prologue
How I Failed My Motherland
Fathers at War
Path to Paradise
What's in a Name!
Black Shawl
Us Against Them
I Don't Want to Have Relatives!
Friends and Enemies
The Girl of My Dreams
How They Laugh in Odessa
Papa and the Soviets
A Dependent
Without Declarations
Who's Who
A Strange Orange
Who Are You?
One Passover in Odessa
On Commissars, Cosmopolites, and Lightbulb Inventors
Them!
No Kith, No Kin
Grandpa Uri
Missing Mikhoels
Black on White
Time Like Glass
The Death of Stalin
Epilogue
My Genealogical Tree
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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