The Book of Stone by Jonathan Papernick
In these troubling times of terrorist attacks on innocent people, The Book of Stone: A Novel is particularly timely and disturbing.
Matthew Stone could never do anything right by his father, a man who could never find a good thing to say to or about his son. Matthew has an interesting family line. His father was a Jewish judge who was forced from the bench after fixing a trial in favor a Jewish extremist, who, by the way, was guilty. Matthew’s father spent considerable time and money financing the Jewish resistance in Israel and here in the United States. Yes, there is a Jewish resistance in the United States. Matthew’s grandfather was a mobster.
When his father dies, Matthew is left alone (his mother had not been in his life since he was a child) and suddenly he feels he must find some connection to his father. Wearing his judicial robes and surrounded by his father’s books, Matthew searches for meaning in his life through the margin notes he finds in his father’s books. Little by little he is drawn into the world of the Jewish resistance, a group he is desperate to gain the respect of, and they want him because he alone has access to the millions of dollars his father hid from the group.
Slowly Matthew is dogged by the FBI while he desperately seeks the approval of the Jewish Resistance. He will do anything to gain their confidence as he substitutes their acceptance for his father’s.
This book doesn’t try to explain how young people find themselves drawn into fanaticism, it examines one aspect of how it COULD happen. And reading this you can see how easy it really is to indoctrinate someone who is vulnerable. This book doesn’t give us answers, it creates more questions. Scary stuff, indeed.