My review of Letters from Mir and the wonders of primary sources

Last week, The Jewish Home L.A. ran my review of the new book, Letters From Mir. Of the books I’ve reviewed professionally in the last couple months, it was the one that surprised me most, on more than one level.

When I read the cover blurb, I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about the book. I warmed up a bit while reading the introductions (yes, that’s plural), but was completely won over once I hit the actual letters. These form the centerpiece of the volume, and they consist of those by and addressed to a young rabbi and yeshiva student, Rabbi Ernest Gugenheim during the tumultuous period that preceded the Second World War.

If you want to read about that book, you can do so here, but my favorite thing about the book touches on a topic that can be applied more widely: the importance of primary sources in understanding the past.  Continue reading