Howard Fast on My Glorious Brothers
in Being Red (1990)
I wrote a book about ancient Israel, and I called it My Glorious Brothers. It was not the best book I have written by any means, but it was the story of the fabled Maccabee brothers, written just months before the founding of the state of Israel, and read in Hebrew translation by practically every literate person in the new nation. ...
When My Glorious Brothers appeared, in the first flush of Israeli freedom, reviewers on both the left and the right were taken somewhat aback. To trash a novel about a Jewish struggle for freedom was, in 1948, a little sticky. Israel was fighting for its life, and the whole Western world had to admit to an exhibition of moral courage hardly common in these times, so the reviewing community decided either to ignore the book or to give it brief and noncommittal attention. With the cooperation of the bookstore chains unwilling to trifle with our new petty dictators the sales of the book were reduced to one third of the sales of The American. At the same time, Morris Schappes, one of the party's experts on Jewish affairs, suggested that I be brought up for expulsion on charges of Jewish nationalism. When this came to the attention of Jack Statchel, a member of the party's National Committee, he threw up his hands in despair and told Schappes to forget it and said that any Jew who did not feel sentiments of Jewish nationalism in 1948 had lost his soul. Napping on the job, the Jewish Book Council of America gave me its annual award, but after being taken to task by the FBI for so doing, it removed my name from all subsequent lists of the award and reference to it. [193-194]