Tuesday, September 29, 2015
shows how Jews, traditionally castigated as weak and cowardly, for the first time became the popular literary representatives of what it meant to be a soldier and what it meant to be an American. Revisiting best-selling works ranging from Norman Mailer’s to Joseph Heller’s , and uncovering a range of unknown archival material, Leah Garrett shows how Jewish writers used the theme of World War II to reshape the American public’s ideas about war, the Holocaust, and the role of Jews in postwar life. In contrast to most previous war fiction these new “Jewish” war novels were often ironic, funny, and irreverent and sought to teach the reading public broader lessons about liberalism, masculinity, and pluralism.
Leah has gotten a couple of early blurbs for the book. Debra Dash Moore, The New York Times best-selling author of GI Jews said this: "Young Lions persuasively presents a fresh interpretation that illuminates previously hidden aspects of these [novels]. Leah Garrett's lucid study will change how we think about World War II, the Holocaust and American Jews." The Harvard Professor of American and African American studies, Werner Sollers, said this: "theoretically sophisticated and probing,Young Lions is full of insights that are of interest to the literary scholar, the historian, and the student of American ethnic relations." I think its of tremendous interest to the general reader too. It's about the Jewish soliders in the US forces in WW2 (500,000 of them served) what they read on the line and what they wrote about when they came home. American war novels until then were in the mould of Red Badge of Courage or For Whom The Bell Tolls. All that changed with the publication of The Naked and the Dead, Catch 22, The Young Lions, Dangling Man, Battle Cry, The Caine Mutiny etc. and those novels influenced my favourite WW2 novel The Thin Red Line. There's also a good bit about Sergeant Bilko.
Here's the Northwestern University Press page about the book.