Lifestyle and Culture: Biography and Literature

A Short History

Thumbnail Sketches of 50 Little Giants

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Celebrating short people and offering proof that height has no bearing on success, this volume features lighthearted biographical profiles and caricatures of 50 towering personas.

A Short History cheers on short people and gives proof that height has no bearing on success. Featuring fifty lighthearted biographical profiles and caricatures showing their towering personas, this is the perfect gift for anyone who is short of stature.

Importance is often equated with height in our society. Author Joan Slomanson aims to do away with such misguided thinking and pays homage to those who have achieved greatness in spite of, or perhaps because of, their shortness.

Fifty celebrities and personalities from all walks of life-business and industry, philanthropy, politics, sports, and the arts-are featured in this entertaining celebration of the short among us. Clever biographical profiles highlight the achievements and careers, as well as the heights, of such notables as Ludwig van Beethoven, Queen Victoria, Tyrone (Muggsy) Bogues, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mother Teresa, Truman Capote, Auguste Rodin, Danny DeVito, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Playful and attractive black-and-white caricatures further illustrate these people and their mighty endeavors.

If you are short of stature or if you know someone who is, you can't afford to pass up this homage to the accomplishments of the "vertically challenged"!

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Big League Dreams

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The captivating new novel by the author of Small Worlds chronicles the loves and unbounded dreams of the villagers from Krimsk, now thriving in America.

In St. Louis, it is the summer of 1920 and the day is the Sabbath, but there is little rest for the Jews from Krimsk and less reverence for the wondrous Krimsker Rebbe, who led them to the New World seventeen years before. The rebbe's former hasidim have embraced America to discover that the vision of "gold in the streets" evokes larceny in the heart. Matti Sternweiss, the ungainly, studious child wonder in Krimsk, now the cerebral catcher for the St. Louis Browns, is scheming to fix Saturday's game against the pennant-contending Detroit Tigers.

It is an American Sabbath: Prohibition, bookies, the criminal syndicate, the Hiberian fellowship of the police brass, hometown blondes, a bootlegging rabbi, and big league baseball. It is also Krimsk in America: Boruch Levi, the successful junkman, confiscates his zany, crippled brother-in-law Barasch's sizable bets; Barasch's lusty wife, Malka, has her own connubial reasons for wanting to stop the gambling; the chief of police fatefully inspires his loyal disciple, Boruch Levi, to bring Matti before the Krimsker Rebbe on the Sabbath in order to preserve the purity of the national pastime.

Recluse and wonder-worker, messianist and pragmatist, the Krimsker Rebbe navigates the muddy Mississippi River, haunted by a recurring prophetic vision of Pharaoh's blood-red Nile. In the final, decisive innings, with Matti crouched behind home plate, it will come down to Ty Cobb versus the kabbalah.

Richly imagined, populated with robust, complex characters, Big League Dreams is a profoundly original, inspiring, and comic creation. It is the second volume in the series Small Worlds, which follows the people of Krimsk and their descendants in America, Russia, Poland, and Israel. In each volume Allen Hoffman draws on his deep knowledge of Jewish religion and history to evoke the finite yet infinite "small worlds" his characters inhabit.

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Small Worlds

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Classic in its vision and generosity, this extraordinary novel follows the lives and loves of the villagers of Krimsk, a small Hasidic settlement in Eastern Europe, in 1903.

A selection of the Jewish Book Club

The Russians called it Krimsk; the Poles called it Kromsk, but it was mainly the Jews who lived there. They called it whatever their hosts preferred. Krimsk-so it was called in 1903-had hills and valleys, forests not far from town, pastures and Welds close by . . .

In the little town of Krimsk the Jews are about to celebrate Tisha B'Av, the day of mourning marking the destruction of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. The teacher has instructed the young pupils in his primary class. And the Krimskers' beloved rebbe, who has secluded himself in his study for the past five years, has suddenly, mysteriously emerged on the eve of the holiday. But the joy of his congregants at seeing him is to be shortlived. For this Tisha B'Av will be a time of strange and momentous events, a time that will change their lives forever.

Across the river is the Polish town of Krimichak, where dwells the rebbe's rival for power, Grannie Zara. The women of Krimsk have always secretly crossed the river to consult her, and even on this fateful night, one determined woman and one small boy from the primary class unwisely feel the need to visit her. There have been pogroms nearby, and the relationship between the people of the two towns, always uneasy, is in danger of igniting.

On this night, too, the rebbe and his wife are discussing a groom for their only daughter, who has reached the age to stand under the wedding canopy. The rebbe summons to their home the man he has chosen. In another part of town, a different young man, a stranger swept up in the revolutionary ferment stirring all of Russia, stops for a while at the Angel of Death, the empty new synagogue. It is he who will face the angry mob from Krimichak as it crosses the bridge into Krimsk-with consequences that will affect and astonish everyone.

Small Worlds is the first in a series of novels concerning the people of Krimsk and their descendants in America, Poland, Russia, and Israel. In each volume Allen Hoffman draws on his deep knowledge of Jewish religion and history to evoke the "small worlds" his characters inhabit.

Echoes of Jewish literary tradition can be heard in Small Worlds, especially the mystical realism of Isaac Bashevis Singer and the poignant humor of Sholom Aleichem, on whose tales Fiddler on the Roof is based.

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Martha's Vineyard

An Affectionate Memoir

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The legendary island of Martha's Vineyard is revealed as never before through inspiring paintings by Ray Ellis and a captivating history by Ralph Graves.

Martha's Vineyard is a celebrated vacation haven equally captivating summer residents and daytrippers. Among the Island's ardent admirers are Ray Ellis, whose paintings created over a 25-year period depict his love of the Vineyard, and Ralph Graves, whose lively, affectionate history spans 400 years.Offering great natural beauty, the Vineyard, separated from Cape Cod by a seven-mile stretch of ocean, is a perfect place for a summer vacation. The Island's devotees have included public people who value their privacy, Jacqueline Onassis, Princess Diana and President Clinton, to name a few, as well as ordinary folks who are seeking a special holiday.Featuring 100 of Ray Ellis's luminescent oils and watercolors, this book provides a unique appreciation of the Island's delights. Here is a wide range of scenes from quiet landscapes to such beloved annual events as the county fair. In addition to vignettes of sunny months Ray Ellis salutes the Vineyard at other times of the year-the glorious arrival of fall, the sedate pace of winter and the inaugural of springtime.Rounding out this marvelous pictorial album is a fascinating text by Ralph Graves. He has written a concise history from its discovery in 1602 to its present-day active conservation efforts. The memoir also includes interviews with five long-time residents who provide insightful, firsthand accounts of their special connection to the Island. This book is an ideal gift for anyone who has ever felt the lure of the Vineyard as well as for those who have yet to fall in love with this extraordinary Island.

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