American academia

A campus novel with a difference: The Netanyahus, by Joshua Cohen, reviewed

Dr Benzion Netanyahu’s reputation precedes him. ‘A true genius, who also happens to be a major statesman and political hero,’ writes one former colleague in a letter of recommendation. Unhelpfully, another letter follows where a different former colleague describes him as a ‘prolific rabble-rouser’, with ‘a history of inciting terrorist violence’. These letters land in the pigeonhole of Ruben Blum, a historian at sleepy Corbin College in upstate New York. Ruben, the first and only Jew on the faculty (it’s 1959), is to interview Netanyahu for a position. Netanyahu is a revisionist Zionist; Ruben has carved a quiet patch in taxation studies. ‘We feel like you’re in a unique position