The Old Religion
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In 1913, a young woman was found murdered in the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta.
The investigation focused on the Jewish manager of the factory, Leo Frank, who was subsequently forced to stand trial for the crime he didn't commit and railroaded to a life sentence in prison. Shortly after being incarcerated, he was abducted from his cell and lynched in front of a gleeful mob.
In vividly re-imagining these horrifying events, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet inhabits the consciousness of the condemned man to create a novel whose every word seethes with anger over prejudice and injustice. The Old Religion is infused with the dynamic force and the remarkable ear that have made David Mamet one of the most acclaimed voices of our time. It stands beside To Kill a Mockingbird as a powerful exploration of justice, racism, and the "rush to judgment."
exactly?” “All the laws in the world,” he continued, “all the laws in the world, Jesus Christ himself, in the heat of a blood passion … “Because, boys, wait a second,” he said. “Because what we are talking about here is Human Nature. And you tell me that that’s not a mystery? And self-control? How many, you think, ’s in there armed? Any meetin’? Any …” The others murmured. “… mm?” “That’s right,” a friend said. “… ’n’ you tell me that’s not an instance?” “… self-control …” “… waal, I
for a moment, they heard the faint sounds of a band, far away, and particularly of several horns warming up. “… Yeessssss …,” Winford said. “Wealllup,” Frank said. He caught himself as he started to reach for the watch in his vest. “No,” he thought. He hoped that Winford had not seen what could be interpreted as a gesture on his part to open dialogue about a watch. But Winford was already turned away, and speaking to the shopgirl, who passed between him and the half-closed door. “’Bye, Mr.
with the books, in his memory, in his mind? He rejoiced when he read: “What is he who conquers a city compared to him who conquers his own nature?” The despised Jew. The Kike. The stories that they told about the Jew in prison, on the streets, and in the novels. In each of his books there was the Jew, the moneylender, the Shylock, the figure of fun. Was it worthwhile to throw the book away at that inevitable gibe, or could one not shrug and say, “For the sake of the ten I will spare the
Death to the vermin … Death to those who bring death. … Death to the Jews. …’ “About to board the train. ‘Praise God I have gotten my family away from this.’ “When there is a hand on his shoulder. And he turns to see three of the hooded men.” The colored girl was coming in with a new pot of coffee. Mayra, seated near the kitchen, put her hand out to stay her. “… And Weiss turned to see the three men.” “‘Where are you going?’ the one says. “Can he make his voice out? Does Weiss recognize
should you not have been? Were you not entitled to it, as were those who aided you? This country is not God. You need not worship it. It was established to free men from the tyranny of kings, and it is our right here to pursue happiness and live in peace. Our right. Should a child prostrate itself in thanks that its parents have not beaten it? And was that child an orphan, how much more were they beholden to treat it with care. Am I in error? Show me where. The work clothes One never got