The Jewish Book Council's 2012 book of the year is not one book but three: the three volume box set City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York published last September by New York University Press. One of the co-authors of Volume II, Daniel Soyer, is a friend of this examiner. According to the publisher the three volumes are:
"Volume I, Haven of Liberty, by historian Howard B. Rock, chronicles the arrival of the first Jews to New York (then New Amsterdam) in 1654 and highlights their political and economic challenges. Overcoming significant barriers, colonial and republican Jews in New York laid the foundations for the development of a thriving community.
"Volume II, Emerging Metropolis, written by Annie Polland and Daniel Soyer, describes New York’s transformation into a Jewish city. Focusing on the urban Jewish built environment—its tenements and banks, synagogues and shops, department stores and settlement houses—it conveys the extraordinary complexity of Jewish immigrant society.
"Each volume includes a “visual essay” by art historian Diana Linden interpreting aspects of life for New York’s Jews from their arrival until today. These illustrated sections, many in color, illuminate Jewish material culture and feature reproductions of early colonial portraits, art, architecture, as well as everyday culture and community."
In addition to the Jewish Book of the year award, the Jewish Book Council awards books in 16 categories; City of Promises Volume II Emerging Metropolis was a finalist in the Jewish Book Council's Writing Based on Archival Material category.
In the fiction category the winner and finalists were:
The World Without You
Simon & Schuster
Rav Hisda's Daughter: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery
The Jewish Book Council's poetry book award is given every other year. The 2011 winner was Wait by C.K. Williams which I reviewed in New York Journal of Books on its publication date in April 2010. The 2013 winner will be announced in early 2014.