Monday, May 4, 2009

Jews in the Russian army - NBIH

The podcast New Books In History continues to excite me. This continues to be the most informative, serious and yet even entertaining podcast in the history genre. I keep lagging behind the new releases and so my reviews will continue to jump back and forth through the feed as I pick and choose as erratically as the proverbial child in the candy shop.

Another one in the multitude of gems host Marshal Poe offers is the interview with Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern who not only wrote a very interesting book about which he tells, but also has a fascinating personal history, intertwined with the same tale. As a result the interview is not only interesting for historians of Jewish culture, of Russian history, of minority assimilation, of enlightened monarchs and their policies and so on, but also it is a thought-provoking listen on the subject of Jewish identity.

There is little I want to give away, but this: Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern looked for Jews that were enrolled in the Russian army during the 19th century and found them. Listen and find out whether these Jews were an example of Russian force and repression or of Jewish assimilation. Pay special attention to the word 'normalcy'.

This is a must listen for everybody. I must have written this about every previous episode, I think and I know I am going to write it about the next one I heard: the interview with Yuma Totani.

More NBIH:
Who will write our history?,
Sentiments in International Relations,
Ronald Reagan,
Evolution, genetics and history.

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