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Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A best-seller in the making, 18 May 2013
This review is from: The Jewish Candidate (Kindle Edition)
David Crossland's The Jewish Candidate is truly a page-turner. I don't remember having read recently a novel about Germany's neo-Nazi scene as impressive as this. Crossland shows us a Berlin totally recognizable to anyone who knows the city, and with it provides the reader a sense of place that enriches his story. The two protagonists, Frank Carver and Wolfgang Renner, the journalists who cover Rudi Gutman's election campaign in his bid for chancellor of Germany, carry the story to an unexpected conclusion with their suspenseful, action-laden investigation of multiple terrorist attacks directed to discredit Gutman. One has to ask, however, if Crossland deliberately downplayed Gutman's characterization as a Jew to reflect the traditional patriotism of German Jews, who are known to consider themselves first and foremost as Germans. The story, which explores the extraordinary possibility of a Jewish chancellor in Germany doesn't benefit from showing little jewishness in Gutman the person, and almost none in Gutman the candidate, although this doesn't make it less fascinating. The Jewish Candidate is a well-written book that keeps one reading until late in the night
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jul 2013 21:59:42 BDT
Smiler says:
Hi Horst. I was puzzled by your remarks on the Jewishness aspect. There are plenty of Jews in Germany who see their Jewishness as more an identity which is imposed on them by others, be they Jews or non-Jews. For these secular Jews, their Jewishness is felt as an accident of birth - it is not a key to their identity.
Gutman can only be the success he is, precisely because he plays down his Jewishness. This would be true in most western democracies, but probably still even more so in Germany -even if it is 70 years after the war.
For the Nazis, no 'characterization' of his Jewishness would matter anyway. The fact that he was a Jew meant that he would be a target, no matter how little in Gutman's life this played a part.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2013 22:22:24 BDT
Horst Woyde says:
I can see your point, Smiler, but if Gutman was able to play down his "Jewishness" and get away with it vis-à-vis the German electorate, it means that his being a Jew wasn't really a problem, in which case Mr. Crossland deserves extra kudos, for it serves to redeem the German voter.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jul 2013 20:25:52 BDT
Smiler says:
Absolutely, Horst. In the novel, the German electorate voted him into power. There's always been a strong social democratic party in Germany - we both know that. Not all Germans are nasty Nazis - but there's still enough of them out there to potentially be a threat. That's what the author had researched and the findings of which he made the subject of his novel. I agree that the author's love for Germany came through strongly in the book, which gave it a special texture.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2014 09:15:40 GMT
Anselm says:
Without having read the book, wouldn't this downplaying of Gutman's Jewishness add impact to the viciousness of the neo-Nazi agenda, which was basically the same as that of their forbears - i.e. it doesn't matter how "assimilated" a Jew is, he or she remains a virus to be exterminated? In fact, wouldn't they consider assimilated Jews even worse, as part of their imagined secret "Jewish plot" to take over the world? To me, it seems like a good way to strengthen and underpin the story, and this issue has only increased my interest in the book.
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