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Gonna serialize a book about Soviet Jews and my family's weaponized immigrant story
I’m calling the book: "The Soviet Jew: A Weaponized Immigrant’s Tale"
When I started Immigrants as a Weapon in late 2019, my plan was to explore how American society weaponizes immigrants and deploys them in the service American power. I’ve written a bunch of things around this topic over the last year and a half — some deep history, some newsy stuff, some general commentary, and, more recently, quite a bit about how me and my family (and families like ours) got swept up in this whole weaponized immigrant business. But as I’ve been chipping away at this giant topic, I’ve been frustrated by my lack of progress. And I’ve come to realize that if I want to make a real dent in this story, I’m gonna have to get militant about narrowing my focus. “Weaponized immigrants” is a subject that’s just too damn giant to tackle generally. It’s easy to get distracted and lost in the material, and that’s what has happened to me.
So I’m gonna take my own advice and narrow my focus — I’m gonna narrow it down to my own immigration story and about the weaponization of Soviet Jews. I figure that once I get the personal history down, the bigger political story of how America weaponizes immigrants and nationalist identities will naturally emerge.
Since I have always seen this project as something that would eventually become a book, I feel like I might as well speed up the production cycle by writing and serializing it in book form right here on this newsletter. I’m calling it: The Soviet Jew: A Weaponized Immigrant’s Tale.
Here’s an artist’s rendition of a potential cover:
The story of Soviet Jews — about how we were “saved” and used as battering ram against communism and how we were coveted for our warm Jewish bodies that could be packed into Israel — is one that needs to be told. I’ve read a bunch of Soviet emigre lit and I’m not aware of anyone writing about their experience from this point of view. In fact, most Soviet immigrant memoirs and histories invariably skew the opposite way. They’re produced by weaponized immigrants for a culture that prizes and cultivates weaponized immigrants. And the job of the weaponized immigrant is to reflect America’s own narratives about itself. Their job is to confirm American superiority and to reaffirm that the people and cultures that America vanquished were indeed backwards and deserved it. Evgenia and I talked about this trend on our podcast last year.
Anyway, I’m a father now and have my eye on my legacy! I don’t want my daughter to think I’m just some sad, saved immigrant. So I’m writing this with her in mind.
Serializing a book — I’ve never done anything like this before. But I guess it’s how writers used to publish back in the day. So bear with me. It may take me some time to figure things out and calibrate the process.
Early next month I’ll be sending you the introduction to The Soviet Jew. So stay tuned. And in the meantime, subscribe.
PS: The podcast I run with Evgenia is still gonna be going on. We got a great one lined up for you later this week. I’ve been commenting on politics and various other personal things on here. I’m still gonna do that, but will keep it to a minimum to focus on the book.