The Old Religion by David Mamet
A Novel

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In 1914 Leo Frank, a Jewish factory owner in Georgia, was wrongfully accused of the rape and murder of a white Southern girl. He was tried, convicted, and lynched by an angry mob. In this searing narrative, David Mamet reconstructs the inner consciousness of this doomed hero, and in the process, powerfully challenges the assimilated American Jews of today by dramatizing the disastrous consequences of Frank's attachment to secular society.Based on extensive historical research, The Old Religion is artistically compelling and intellectually disturbing. Mamet has written a novel that is partly a work of moral philosophy, focusing on the theme of Jewish insecurity in a Christian society and exploring the psychology of assimilation as he seeks to expose the misplaced trust of Jews in a system of secular laws that, he seems to say, is designed not to protect the weak, but to mask our shared impulses toward tribalistic human cruelty.

About David Mamet

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DAVID MAMET is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright as well as a director, novelist, poet, and essayist. He has written the screenplays for more than twenty films, including "Heist, Spartan, House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner, The Winslow Boy, Wag the Dog, "and the Oscar-nominated "The Verdict," His more than twenty plays include "Oleanna, The Cryptogram, Speed-the-Plow, American Buffalo, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, "and the Pulitzer Prizewinning "Glengarry Glen Ross," Born in Chicago in 1947, Mamet has taught at the Yale School of Drama, New York University, and Goddard College, and he lectures at the Atlantic Theater Company, of which he is a founding member. He lives in Santa Monica, California.
Published January 1, 1997 by Free Press. 77 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Typically tight-lipped secondary deadbeat characters will mutter, when feeling loquacious, such things as ``There in the heat, eh?'' and ``uh huh.'' At the other extreme, we hear this from Frank himself: `` `How much do we unwittingly intuit,' he thought, `in extenuation of that which we lack the...

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Publishers Weekly

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Exposing the fragility of the Jew's place in a Christian society through a series of conversations and interior monologues (which tend more to the abstractly philosophical and religious than to the political), Mamet clearly hopes to write with the force of parable, but by straining for parallels ...

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Book Reporter

In THE OLD RELIGION, his fictional retelling of the Leo Frank story, David Mamet explores the thoughts and imaginings of Frank's last days.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Old Religion: A Novel

London Review of Books

He was convicted on the testimony of the actual murderer, Jim Conley, a black sweeper at the factory, who claimed that Frank had ordered him to remove the girl’s body from the main floor to the basement (where it had been found) and to write the notes implicating Newt Lee, the black nightwatchman...

Oct 04 2007 | Read Full Review of The Old Religion: A Novel

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