ness was hardly justified, given the fact that, notwithstanding the difference in specific historical conditions, there were a great many similarities between the traditional Jewish shtetls in Eastern Europe and the traditional Jewish communities in the neighborhoods of Baghdad. In much the same way, the modern Jewish middle class in Eastern Europe resembled a similar, though much smaller, stratum in Baghdad. The characteristics and discourse of the modern Jewish middle class in Iraq were not unlike those of the secular modern Jewish middle class in Poland, Russia, or Czechoslovakia. The book provides a balanced combination of historical criticism and a certain degree of empathy toward its subject. The discussion of the development of Zionist activity in Iraq is clear and well-phrased. On the other hand, there is a certain weakness in the description and analysis of the sociopolitical conditions in Iraq and the developments within the Jewish leadership and Jewish elite of that country. It would be worthwhile to expand the discussion of Iraqi Jewry further, within a context of Iraqi history, on one hand, and Jewish (and especially Zionist) history, on the other--all within the context of the historic development of nationalist discourse and identity in the
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Jul 12, 2006
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