The Orientalist Report

Tom Reiss’ The Orientalist continues to collect glowing reviews. The latest is from the Seattle Times‘ Jerome Weeks:

What he actually was, Reiss argues, is a rarity nowadays, a Jewish Orientalist. It’s a modern myth that Jews and Muslims have always been at war. For centuries, they often were the best interpreters of each other. Nussimbaum was so in love with his dream of pashas and turbans that he came to live inside it. But he finally, sadly, was unable to escape that dream, as World War II erupted around him.

Reiss has uncovered diaries and letters and Nazi collaborators. He takes us with him as he follows shadowy leads through the streets of Vienna, interviewing relatives and publishers. It may be part detective yarn, part author biography, part travel saga, but “The Orientalist” is completely fascinating.