This book is a collection of mainly biographical essays by Russian Jewish historian Brian Horowitz. The overall focus of the essays is the phenomenon of acculturated Russian-speaking Jews in the final decades of the Tsarist Empire. In spite of persecutions, disappointments, and stubborn civil disabilities inflicted on the five million Jews of prerevolutionary Russia, there were many intellectually capable individuals who mastered the Russian language and actively participated in the country’s intellectual life, seeking to mark out an area in Russian society where Jews could live fully as members of imperial Russian society. The book is divided into three sections, focusing on acculturated Jewish writers, engagement in politics and historiography, and prominent Jews among the Russian elite. All of the acculturated Jewish intellectuals described in these essays were male, reflecting the biases in Russian society. This book reveals that many Jews in late- Tsarist Russia were enamored by Russian culture and sought to create new Jewish lives in Russian. The author makes good use both of old publications and archival materials, as well as the growing body of recent Jewish historical scholarship published in Russian. Bibliography, footnotes, illustrations, index.
Robert Moses Shapiro teaches modern Jewish history, Holocaust studies, and Yiddish language and literature at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. His most recent book is The Warsaw Ghetto Oyneg Shabes-Ringelblum Archive: Catalog and Guide (Indiana University Press in association with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Library and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, 2009). He is currently engaged in translating Polish and Yiddish diaries from the Łódź ghetto and the Yiddish Sonderkommando documents found buried in the ash pits at Auschwitz-Birkenau.