Susan Kanterman JCC Book Club

Read your own copy or borrow one of ours!

contact Emelia Sherin at esherin@jewishyoungstown.org or 330.746.3250 ext. 106. 

 

“THE GIRL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS”
by Jenny Lecoat
Date: Monday, May 10 | Time: 7:00 p.m.

The year is 1940, and the world is torn apart by war. In June of that year, Hitler’s army captures the Channel Islands—the only part of Great Britain occupied by German forces. Abandoned by Mr. Churchill, forgotten by the Allies and cut off from all help, the Islands’ situation is increasingly desperate.

Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish girl who fled Vienna for the island of Jersey two years earlier during the Anschluss, only to find herself trapped by the Nazis once more—this time with no escape. Her only hope is to make herself invaluable to the Germans by working as a translator, hiding in plain sight with the help of her friends and community—and a sympathetic German officer. But as the war intensifies, rations dwindle and neighbors are increasingly suspicious of one another. Hedy’s life is in greater danger every day. It will take a definitive, daring act to save her from certain deportation to the concentration camps.

A sweeping tale of bravery and love under impossible circumstances, Hedy’s remarkable story reminds us that it’s often up to ordinary people to be quiet heroes in the face of injustice.

“SPIN: A NOVEL BASED ON A (MOSTLY) TRUE STORY”
by Peter Zheutlin
Date: Monday, June 21 | Time: 7:00 p.m.

Who was Annie Londonderry? She captured the popular imagination with her daring ‘round the world trip on two wheels. It was, declared The New York World in October of 1895, “the most extraordinary journey ever undertaken by a woman.”

But beyond the headlines, Londonderry was really Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, a young, Jewish mother of three small children, who climbed onto a 42-pound Columbia bicycle and pedaled away into history.

Reportedly set in motion by a wager between two wealthy Boston merchants, the bet required Annie not only to circle the earth by bicycle in 15 months, but to earn $5,000 en route, as well. This was no mere test of a woman’s physical endurance and mental fortitude; it was a test of a woman’s ability to fend for herself in the world.

Often attired in a man’s riding suit, Annie turned every Victorian notion of female propriety on its head. Not only did she abandon, temporarily, her role of wife and mother (scandalous in the 1890s), she earned her way selling photographs of herself, appearing as an attraction in stores, and by turning herself into a mobile billboard.

Zheutlin, a descendent of Annie, brilliantly probes the inner life and seeming boundless courage of this outlandish, brash, and charismatic woman. In a time when women could not vote and few worked outside the home, Annie was a master of public relations, a consummate self-promoter, and a skillful creator of her own myth. Yet, for more than a century her remarkable story was lost to history. In SPIN, this remarkable heroine and her marvelous, stranger-than-fiction story is vividly brought to life for a new generation.

"THE LAST KINGS OF SHANGHAI: THE RIVAL JEWISH DYNASTIES THAT HELPED CREATE MODERN CHINA"
By Jonathan Kaufman
Date: Monday, July 19 | Time: 7:00 p.m.

The Sassoons and the Kadoories--two Jewish families from Baghdad--had long been successful in business, politics, and society. They kept up their intrigues and opium smuggling while helping to rescue 18,000 Jews from Hitler's Europe, and though they soon faced the tsunami that was communism, their legacy remains today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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