“Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel”

I read this book by Leah Garrett and I liked it a lot. Solid insights on Joseph Heller, Saul Bellow, and Norman Mailer, of course, but also the now-forgotten Irwin Shaw (see here and here) and Herman Wouk. Garrett’s discussion of The Caine Mutiny was good: she takes it seriously, enough to point out its flaws, showing respect to it as a work of popular art.

I’d read many of the novels that Garrett wrote about, but when I’d read them I’d not thought much about the Jewish element (except in The Young Lions, where it’s central to the book, no close reading necessary). Garrett’s book gave me insight into the Jewish themes but also helped me reinterpret the novels in their social and political context.