The Picture Book History of the Jews (1942)


First Edition of The Picture Book History of the Jews, 1942,
Written by the Author of Spartacus, Beautifully Illustrated and with Dust Jacket

Fast, Howard and Fast, Bette. The Picture Book History of the Jews. New York: Hebrew Publishing, 1942.

Slim quarto. Hardcover. 1st Edition.

First edition of this history of the Jewish people for children, co-written by the future author of Spartacus. The Picture Book History of the Jews offers a history of Jewish triumphs at a time when Jews were being massacred across Europe. Meant to bolster the faith and pride of American Jewish children, the book highlights--in both text and stylized color illustrations--the historical importance of the Jewish people. Howard Fast contributed the text, while his wife, artist Bette Cohen Fast, contributed the illustrations. Interestingly, Howard Fast was an incredibly prolific adult novelist, best known for writing Spartacus, the basis for the movie. Fast joined the Communist Party in 1943, a year after this book was published, and was later jailed and blacklisted for refusing to reveal the contributors to a fund for orphans of American veterans of the Spanish Civil War. Those contributors included Eleanor Roosevelt. Nevertheless, Fast managed to have a successful career as an author, writing dozens of historical novels, histories, poems, and short stories under his own name as well as two pseudonyms. He was also the father of novelist Jonathan Fast and father-in-law of Erica Jong. Child's bookplate. Book about-fine, dust jacket with only minor rubbing mainly to extremities. A near-fine copy.