Cover image for Pogrom : Kishinev and the tilt of history / Steven J. Zipperstein.
Pogrom : Kishinev and the tilt of history / Steven J. Zipperstein.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York ;

London : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, [2018]
Physical Description:
xx, 261 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
947.6 ZIP Book Adult General Collection

On Order



So shattering were the aftereffects of Kishinev, the rampage that broke out in late-Tsarist Russia in April 1903, that one historian remarked that it was "nothing less than a prototype for the Holocaust itself." In three days of violence, 49 Jews were killed and 600 raped or wounded, while more than 1,000 Jewish-owned houses and stores were ransacked and destroyed. Recounted in lurid detail by newspapers throughout the Western world, and covered sensationally by America's Hearst press, the pre-Easter attacks seized the imagination of an international public, quickly becoming the prototype for what would become known as a "pogrom," and providing the impetus for efforts as varied as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the NAACP. Using new evidence culled from Russia, Israel, and Europe, distinguished historian Steven J. Zipperstein's wide-ranging book brings historical insight and clarity to a much-misunderstood event that would do so much to transform twentieth-century Jewish life and beyond.

Author Notes

Steven J. Zipperstein is the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University. A contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Jewish Review of Books and coeditor of the "Jewish Lives" series for Yale University Press, he lives in Berkeley, California.

Reviews 2

New York Review of Books Review

THE DEATH OF TRUTH: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, by Michiko Kakutani. (Tim Duggan Books, $22.) The former Times book critic draws on her extensive reading to portray an America that is creeping toward authoritarianism by way of the current administration's distortions and manipulations. EARLY WORK, by Andrew Martin. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) This marvelous debut novel, about a male writer's romantic entanglements, is like one of those restaurant dishes that present multiple preparations of a vegetable on the same plate - "beets, three ways" - to capture its essence. "Early Work" is books, three ways. MILK! A 10,000-Year Food Fracas, by Mark Kurlansky. (Bloomsbury, $29.) Kurlansky, chronicler of food and its history, from "Salt" to "Cod," now turns to milk and how it has wended its way through many civilizations and cultures, exploring everything from breast-feeding to the qualities of camel milk. CONFESSIONS OF THE FOX, by Jordy Rosenberg. (One World, $27.) A mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid, 18th-century London, Rosenberg's debut novel is a joyous mash-up of literary genres shot through with queer theory and awash in sex, crime and revolution. POGROM: Kishinev and the Tilt of History, by Steven J. Zipperstein. (Liveright, $27.95.) Before the Holocaust, POGROM Jewish suffering was synonymous with the name of the city, Kishinev, where in 1903,49 Jews were killed in a paroxysm of violence. Zipperstein examines not just the event but also its far-reaching repercussions. FRUIT OF THE DRUNKEN TREE, by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. (Doubleday, $26.95.) This beautifully rendered novel, rich in specific detail inspired by the author's experience, explores the responsibility of those with choices to those without, against the backdrop of a terrifying subject - coming of age amid the uncontrolled violence of the Colombian civil war. YOUR BLACK FRIEND AND OTHER STRANGERS, by Ben Passmore. (Silver Sprocket, $20.) Passmore, a young artist who cut his teeth in the anarchist punk scene of New Orleans, draws on the daily stress of his encounters with white people in this graphic novel collecting his recent strips. LOULOU AND YVES: The Untold Story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent, by Christopher Petkanas. (St. Martin's, $45.) This flashy, gossip-packed oral history details how de La Falaise changed fashion as muse to Yves Saint Laurent. THE FOREST, by Ricardo Bozzi. Translated by Debbie Bibo. Illustrated by Violeta Lopiz and Valerio Vidali. (Enchanted Lion, $25.95; ages 4 and up.) This oversize picture book, with beautiful die-cut pages, follows explorers through a forest at once literal and existential. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: .

Library Journal Review

The 1903 Kishinev pogrom was a flashpoint for rhetoric and action around the treatment of Jews in Russia. It brought the idea of a pogrom into public consciousness, making the term shorthand for the terrorization of Jews. Unsurprisingly, the history around such an event, as well-documented as it was, has become muddled, as Zipperstein (Stanford Univ.; Rosenfeld's Lives) demonstrates in this fascinating cultural history. Interconnected essays touch on the region of Bessarabia, the events of the pogrom and how they were reported, and the impact on U.S. culture (the NAACP was formed in response). A centerpiece is that Zipperstein found a trove of documents by Pavel Krushevan (thought to be the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zion) on an apartment shelf that gives previously unknown insight into his anti-Semitism and the relationship between the Protocols and the Kishniev pogrom. VERDICT Thorough and accessible, this book is recommended for anyone with an interest in Jewish history. It will also be useful for readers who wish to learn more about the cultural impact of political events.-Margaret Heller, Loyola Univ. Chicago Libs. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration, Dates, Terms, and Place-namesp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
1 Age of Pogromsp. 1
2 Town and Countrysidep. 27
3 "Squalid Brawl in a Distant City"p. 61
4 Burdens of Truthp. 101
5 Sages of Zion, Pavel Krushevan, and the Shadow of Kishinevp. 145
6 Remains of the Dayp. 185
Acknowledgmentsp. 209
Notesp. 213
Bibliographyp. 233
Indexp. 245