Publication party for book on Commodore Uriah Levy

A publication party for the book, “Commodore Levy:  A Novel of Early America in the Age of Sail,” (Texas University Press, $45) by Irving Litvag, and edited by Bonny V. Fetterman, will be held Sunday, June 22 at Congregation Shaare Emeth, 11645 Ladue Road. The free event will feature remarks from Captain Gary (“Yuri”) Tabach, U.S. Navy, Ret., and Rabbi Emeritus Jeffrey Stiffman. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with naval and military music prior to the short book presentation and guest speakers at 7 p.m., followed by a dessert reception. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. RSVPs requested by June 15 to [email protected] or  314-692-5365.

Uriah Phillips Levy was the first Jewish commodore in the U.S. Navy.  He was often targeted by anti-Semites, but never lost his love of country or desire to serve its navy.  This historical novel traces Levy’s career, starting with his running away from home at age 10 to serve as a cabin boy; his service during the War of 1812; his campaign to abolish flogging in the navy, and his later purchase and restoration of Monticello, the home of his hero, Thomas Jefferson. Levy is buried on the grounds of Jefferson’s famous mansion. The book also describes the American Jewish community from 1790 to 1860 and the nautical traditions of the Age of Sail before it gave way to the Age of Steam.

Irving Litvag was a former news writer for the CBS Radio Network and public relations executive.  He was also the author of “Singer in the Shadows,” about the mysterious case of Pearl Curran, a St. Louis woman who seemed to “channel” the writing ability of a British young woman who lived centuries ago.  Litvag completed “Commodore Levy” before his death in 2005.  The book was edited by Bonny V. Fetterman, former senior editor at Schocken Books, and a specialist in books of Jewish interest.

Litvag’s family founded a Local Jewish Author’s Bookshelf in the Rubin Library at Congregation Shaare Emeth.

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