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A. M. Klein.

Toronto, University of Toronto Press, c1982.
541pp, cloth, $29.95.
ISBN 0-8020-55664.

Reviewed by Tony Cosier.

Volume 11 Number 1.
1983 January.

Beyond Sambation contains primarily a massive selection of non-literary articles that Klein wrote as editor and chief columnist of the Canadian Jewish Chronicle from 1938 to 1955.

These political and moral writings give a sense of those aspects of a troubled era that fall within the range of Klein's most intense interests: the Holocaust, the Second World War, the founding of Israel, and Quebec politics.

But the most significant feature of the volume is the impression it gives us of the man himself.

Those argumentative skills that Klein developed in his student years at McGill and his subsequent years as a lawyer stay with him as a journalist. In article after article, he proceeds energetically with all-out bias, ever on the attack, with wit, with ridicule, with venom.

Klein as a lover of fine language revels in the word, playing continually with the Hebrew idiom, the literary quotation, the verse smattering, the hyperbole, and the pun. Klein had extensive literary, professional, and political obligations during his years as a journalist and often wrote with haste to meet a deadline. Some of the editorials naturally reflect this haste. Yet, the majority reflect more than standard competence and several such as "Notes on Cultural Zionism" and "Of Lowly Things" could stand as classroom models for a study of the short essay.

Klein was profoundly Zionist. His essays deal emotionally with the terrible time of the pogroms and the death camps. He looks with marvel, "like one that dreamed," on the founding of modern Israel and turns in anguish to the renewed horrors of Arab snipers and Israeli terrorists. Most stirring in this context are two extended pieces: "Notebook of a Journey," covering Klein's journey to Israel in 1949; "In Praise of the Diaspora," Klein's masterfully crafted memorial to the endurance and achievement of his scattered people during the generations of their exile.

M. W. Steinberg and Usher Caplan have taken considerable care to edit and annotate a volume substantial enough to complement their publisher's forthcoming collections of Klein's literary essays and short fiction. Beyond Sambation will stand up as a significant portion of the completed set.

Tony Cosier, Confederation HS, Nepean, ON.
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