Books: Jews Without Manners

THE ORDEAL OF CIVILITY:

Marx, Lévi-Strauss, and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity

by JOHN MURRAY CUDDIHY

272 pages. Basic Books. $11.95.

John Murray Cuddihy calls this jag ged meditation a "midrash." The metaphor is apt, for like a Talmudic exegesis, the book is a learned commentary on "sacred" texts, in this case those of the giants of the Jewish Diaspora. As with a midrash, the argument unfolds from a single overriding principle: in this case the bold if cranky notion that from Marx to Freud to Abbie Hoffman, the Jewish intellectual vanguard has been obsessed...

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