In 2005, when Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard, asked why so few women, even today, achieve tenured positions in the hard sciences, Eileen Pollack set out to find the answer. A successful fiction writer, Pollack had grown up in the 1960s and '70s dreaming of a career as a theoretical astrophysicist. Denied the chance to take advanced courses in science and math, she nonetheless made her way to Yale.
This book restores a little-known advocate of Indian rights to her place in history. In June 1889 a widowed Brooklyn artist named Catherine Weldon traveled to the Standing Rock Reservation in Dakota Territory to help Sitting Bull hold on to land that the government was trying to wrest from his people. Her efforts were counterproductive; she was ordered to leave the reservation, and the Standing Rock Sioux were bullied into signing away their land. But she returned with her teenage son, settling at Sitting Bull's camp on the Grand River.
Stuck with a plane ticket to Israel bought for her by a Polish Catholic ex-boyfriend, Eileen Pollack sets out on a hectic, solitary journey around the country, cataloging the region’s rich history, natural beauty, and troubled politics, while examining her own complicated relationship to her Jewish faith and heritage. In this darkly comic, incisive, and nuanced essay, Pollack upends the listener’s expectations as well as her own. A travel essay filled with bewilderment, outrage, humor, and faith, “All of Us, We All Are Arameans” takes us on a trip around Israel and the West Bank that few American tourists would have the chutzpah to attempt.