By Seth Lipsky. Schocken. 240 pages. Hardcover $26.00
Although Abraham Cahan strode like a giant across the stages of world Jewry, western journalism, socialist politics, and labor union ascendency through the first half of the twentieth century, author Lipsky makes it quite clear that Cahan was a man first shaped by the circumscribed Jewish life into which he was born in small-town, nineteenth-century Russia.
The story of his unforeseeable remaking in New York, a story drawn in part from Cahan’s own memoirs and the parallels to the title character in his classic immigrant novel The Rise of David Levinsky, is told with an eye at once critical and warmly respectful.
Seth Lipsky, formerly editor of the English language edition of The Forward ( Forverts) which Cahan brought to prominence in a three-part career filled with both turmoil and amazing success, emphasizes several main aspects of his subject’s achievement.
First and foremost, he details Cahan’s career as a self-educated, ambitious journalist who brought what was at first a neighborhood newspaper to world-wide stature and a daily circulation that peaked at 250,000. That career included staff, freelance, and guest assignments at many other important newspapers and magazines. For decades, Cahan’s name was everywhere, not only in the Yiddish language press but also in the higher reaches of mainstream journalism. . . .
To see the entire review, forthcoming in Jewish Book World, click here: Rise of Abraham Cahan | Seth Lipsky | Jewish Book Council