Non­fic­tion

The His­to­ry of Last Night’s Dream

  • Review
By – March 5, 2012

In the Torah, dreams changed peo­ple, and they also changed the world. 

In con­tem­po­rary soci­ety, dreams are often under­val­ued, with any guid­ance we might glean from them going unheed­ed and unex­plored. In this well-researched but dis­joint­ed and occa­sion­al­ly ram­bling pre­sen­ta­tion, Kamenetz, best­selling author of The Jew in the Lotus, explores the Jew­ish his­to­ry and mys­ti­cal qual­i­ty of dreams. His the­sis is not that we should try to inter­pret our dreams, for inter­pre­ta­tion is bound to and col­ored by West­ern cul­ture. Inter­pre­ta­tions can become self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cies. Dreams should, instead, be allowed to inter­pret us, to reveal truths about our­selves, includ­ing truths that hurt, the author asserts. 

The His­to­ry of Last Night’s Dream is a first-per­son nar­ra­tive, a strange com­bi­na­tion of intel­lec­tu­al­ism and New Age rhetoric filled with lengthy descrip­tions of Kamenetz’s encoun­ters with var­i­ous dream gurus, includ­ing a post­man-turned-dream mas­ter in Ver­mont, an 87-year-old Kab­bal­ist in Jerusalem, and a Bud­dhist dream teacher in Copenhagen.

Robin K. Levin­son is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and author of a dozen books, includ­ing the Gali Girls series of Jew­ish his­tor­i­cal fic­tion for chil­dren. She cur­rent­ly works as an assess­ment spe­cial­ist for a glob­al edu­ca­tion­al test­ing orga­ni­za­tion. She lives in Hamil­ton, NJ.

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