Classics of Jewish American Literature

Call It Sleep
Henry Roth, c1934, 1991
“Arguably the most distinguished work of fiction ever written about immigrant life.... Surely the most lyrically authentic novel … about a young boy’s coming to consciousness.”
—Lis Harris, The New Yorker

The Chosen
Chaim Potok, c1967
Two boys from different Jewish religious traditions in 1940s Brooklyn form an unlikely friendship, which challenges and changes them both.


Tell Me A Riddle
Tille Olsen, c1995
An extended short story about a working class marriage under stress. Her stories “... have the lyric intensity of an Emily Dickinson poem and the scope of a Balzac novel.”
—Judges’ citation, Rea Award for the Short Story

The Magic Barrel: Storie
Bernard Malamud, c1958, 2003
“...thirteen stories … every one of them is a small, highly individualized work of art.”
—Richard Sullivan, The Chicago Tribune


The Plot Against America
Philip Roth, c2004
What if popular, pro-German Charles Lindbergh had been elected president in 1940? A Jewish American family finds the course of their lives completely altered.


Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
Art Spiegelman, c1997
A father’s experience of the concentration camps haunts his American son, who tells the story in graphic novel form.


Patrimony: A True Story
Philip Roth, c1991
Roth’s memoir of his dying father is by turns moving and funny, as they both battle with the ignominy and helplessness of old age.


My Life
Marc Chagall, c2003
Chagall’s colorful memoir of his boyhood and development as an artist.


Marc Chagall and the Lost Jewish World: The Nature of Chagall’s Art and Iconography
Benjamin Harshav, c2006
The cultural context out of which Chagall’s art developed.



Marc Chagall
Jonathan Wilson, c2007
An analytical biography that interprets the artist in the context of his times.

Edited by Jose Maria Faerna, c1995
Includes brief biographical and interpretive overviews, with 70 color plates.

Jewish American Authors

Asimov, Isaac
Auster, Paul
Moon Palace
Bellow, Saul
Seize the Day
Chabon, Michael
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union
Doctorow, E. L.
The Book of Daniel
Foer, Jonathan Safran
Everything Is Illuminated
Heller, Joseph
Horn, Dara
In The Image
Paley, Grace
The Complete Stories
Picoult, Jodi
My Sister’s Keeper
Schwartz, Lynne Sharon
Disturbances in the Field
Wouk, Herman
The Caine Mutiny
Ginsberg, Allen
Howl, and Other Poems
Levertov, Denise
Poems, 1960-1967
Ostriker, Alicia Suskin
The Volcano Sequence
Pinsky, Robert
The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems, 1966 –1996
Miller, Arthur
Death of a Salesman: Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem
Simon, Neil
Biloxi Blues

Wasserstein, Wendy
The Heidi Chronicles, and Other Plays

Russian/Soviet Jewish History

A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present
Zvi Y. Gitelman, c2001

Hope Against Hope: A Memoir
Nadezhda Mandelstam, c1999
This memoir about the experience of intellectuals from the Revolution through the purges of the 1930s is a classic.


Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million
Martin Amis, c2002
A fiery condemnation of Stalin’s regime, under which 20 million Russians lost their lives in the name of building a better future for their country.


Journey into the Whirlwind
Eugenia S. Ginzburg, c2002
Memoir of a woman arrested during the 1930s purges, who survived the gulag


The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Saved 1,200 Jews, & Built a Village in the Forest
Peter Duffy, c2003
Belorussian Jewish partisan resistance during World War II.


The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia
Esther Hautzig, c1968.
Autobiographical story of a Jewish family removed to Siberia during World War II—for children, teens, and even adults.

Fear No Evil
Natan Sharansky, c1988
A Jewish dissident’s battle against the Soviet police state.

Yiddish Literature

Yiddish Folktales
Edited by Beatrice Silverman Weinreich, c1997
Folktales from the villages of Eastern Europe collected in the 1920s and 1930s.


Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories
Sholem Aleichem, c1996
“...these unprettified stories of simple people and their harsh realities summon a bygone era, but their application and appeal are timeless.” —Publisher’s Weekly


Isaac Bashevis Singer, c1996.
An ambitious writer leaves his cosmopolitan life behind in this “hauntingly lyrical love story set in Jewish Warsaw on the eve of its annihilation.” —book jacket

The I.L. Peretz Reader
Edited by Ruth Wisse, c2002
Stories and memoirs by one of the founders of modern Yiddish literature.


Great Tales of Jewish Fantasy and the Occult: The Dubbuk and Thirty Other Classic Stories
Edited by Joachim Neugroschel, c2001
Includes a story by Der Nister.


A Little Boy in Search of God: Mysticism in a Personal Light
Isaac Bashevis Singer and illustrated by Ira Moskowitz, c1976
A Nobel Prize winning Yiddish author writes about the development of his own personal values in a world of competing religious traditions and rising secularism.

Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books
Aaron Lansky, c2004

In 1980 a student began a project to save discarded Yiddish books. That project became the National Yiddish Book Center, which helped preserve an almost-lost culture.



Page Last Modified Tuesday, November 29, 2016