Publisher’s Weekly Review

 

 

The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel: The Rise of a Village Theocracy and the Battle to Defend the Separation of Church and State

Louis Grumet, Author, John M. Caher, Author, Judith S Kaye, Foreword by

Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet, a 1994 Supreme Court case concerning a New York public school district created to accommodate the religious preferences of a faction of Hasidic Jews, gets a behind-the-scenes look in this blend of history and memoir. Grumet’s personal involvement with the case, as its main litigant, is both a blessing and a curse for this work. He provides curious readers with endless details about how he persuaded his fellow state school board members to sue, how he selected and worked with the primary lawyer, and what he discussed with New York politicians—including then-governer Mario Cuomo—concerning the laws and the legal battle. But his writing relies heavily on his own personal sympathies, fluctuating between thinly veiled dislike and near-sycophantic admiration for key players. The book’s narrative struggles to hold up under the weight of Grumet’s details and gossipy tone, and despite its important topic, it will likely only satisfy readers with an existing strong interest in the case. (Apr.)

Continue Discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: