Posts by J S:

Victory Day Parade

The full video can be seen here:

The New York City Victory Parade of 1946, held on January 12, 1946 to celebrate the victorious conclusion of the Second World War. The parade was led by 13,000 men of the 82nd Airborne Division under General James M. Gavin, followed by a detachment of Sherman tanks, jeeps, and self-propelled howitzers, and accompanied by a fly-by of glider towing C-47’s. A ticker tape parade that was closely covered by the news, it began at Washington Square and marched up Fifth Avenue, and was reported to be four miles long. Present at the parade were New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, New York City Mayor William O’Dwyer, and former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Appearance: I appear at timestamp 10:15 as a six year old.


1. “82nd Division in Victory Parade” [RKO-Pathe] (0:00)

2. “New York Salutes Airborne Division Home From Europe” (3:25)

3. “82nd Invades New York: 5th Avenue Victory Parade Fills City” [Esso] (5:24)


1. “On the Square” by Frank A. Panella (1916) (0:00)

2. “U.S. Field Artillery March” by John Philip Sousa (1917) (3:00)

3. “National Emblem” by Edwin Eugene Bagley (1906) (5:44)

4. “Bravura” by Charles E. Duble (1918) (8:43) 5. “American Legion” by Charles Wesley Parker (1920) (11:39)

London Review of Books

London Review of Books Vol. 40 No. 6 · 22 March 2018 – Featuring Diary by Eli Silberman

Just published in the London Review of Books.

Here is an excerpt:

Mr Zank was quite short, maybe five three with a wide waist for his size, somewhat wavy brown hair, about fifty, looked directly at you when he spoke with soft remnants of a Polish accent. He worked in the Garment Center, took the BMT subway into Manhattan every day and at weekends had a part-time job at a boardwalk hot dog spot two blocks from where we lived in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn. He lived with his wife and young son Robbie in the four-storey apartment building next door to our house. That building was a walk-up with three and four-room apartments. He was a committed and grateful American citizen. During the war Mr Zank was our block captain. When the sirens signalled an air-raid exercise, or possibly the real thing – we were never sure – he would don a British safari hat, the kind Farley Granger wore in 1940s movies, and walk around the neighbourhood with a flashlight making sure all was dim and curtains drawn. When Germany surrendered on 7 May 1945 people flocked to the streets cheering, car horns honked, neighbours embraced, and Mr Zank’s expression seemed to indicate that he had done his part for the war effort. Over the following months our men started coming home, some on crutches, some in bandages, some totally whole, but all changed from the day when they were drafted or volunteered.

The full text of this diary is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.


Johnson’s Legacy

The front page story in the New York Times on February 14th was titled Rescuing a Vietnam Casualty: Johnson’s Legacy, about Lyndon Johnson and how the Vietnam war obscured some of the President’s great achievements in social and racial issues.

In E Train to Masada, one of the main characters is a President of the United States in the year 1968, and how this fictional President is on the verge of a breakdown because of his inability to halt the Vietnam tragedy. The NYT story and my President are eerily similar, perhaps an example of art imitating life. Because of the bizarre request the fictional President makes of the Mad Man he drafts to write his farewell speech, some have wondered if new information has been revealed about the Johnson administration during those tumultuous 60’s. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

The Power of Poetry

I am on the Board of Trustees of West Chester University and in that capacity was asked to make a few comments at the annual Poetry Conference in June, which is the largest of its kind in the country.

When Kim asked me to say a few words representing the Board of Trustees, it got me thinking about this poetry conference, what it means for the university, and some of my own past, and what it means to dedicate your life to the arts, which most of you did, and I did not.

This conference is the largest of its kind in the country and serves to enhance the reputation of West Chester, with luminaries in the field from all over the world converging here at the university. But beyond that, it caused me to reflect back many years ago when I returned to New York after college and serving in the Marines, and took a couple of months off to decide whether to go to Dublin and live in a garret and write novels, or get in to advertising. I went on a couple of interviews, got a job, and 40 years flashed by.

Although the copywriters and art directors in creative departments of advertising agencies have been referred to as the artists and writers of industry, their creations, some of which become part of popular culture, serve to create profits for the client companies, as compared to writers of fiction and poets, who are seeking either a personal or universal truth.

When a group of people like you get together there is a different vibe in the room, than when business people get together, some of whom would sell their grandmothers for more profit.

I have noticed a similarity in what psychoanalysts do, and what poets and artists do.
Freud said, “it’s all in Doestoevsky”, by which I think he meant every human emotion he might deal with in psychoanalysis could be found in the novel.  He also once said to a patient in Vienna, “the best I can do is transform serious psychosis into ordinary human misery”.  Poets condense what it might take novelists 400 pages to express, and that to me, is the power of poetry.

And now, I am going to read a poem.

An Old Poet’s View from the Departure Platform


(On my eightieth birthday)


By Anne Stevenson



I can’t like poems that purposely muddy the waters,

That confuse in order to impress;

Or slink to the page in nothing but stockings and garters

To expose themselves and confess.


I wince at poems whose lazy prosodical morals

Beget illegitimate rhymes.

Instances of incest, singulars mating with plurals

Are not minor errors, they are crimes.


I wave off turbulent poems in which reason and feeling

Stand off like water and oil.

As if prose were for sense, poems for howling or squealing,

Steam-events thinking would spoil.


Professional poems in incomprehensible argot

Unsettle me more and more –

Words about words about words to pamper the ego

Of some theoretical bore.


I gaze over miles and miles of cut up prose,

Uncomfortable troubles, sad lives.

They smother in sand the fire that is one with the rose.

The seed, not the flower survives.


E-Train to Masada

E-Train to Masada is available now Amazon and Kindle.


E Train to Masada combines moral and political questions spanning 2000 years and three continents. Harry Lang, a rising star at a New York advertising agency in 1968, creates an award winning TV commercial that captivates a President of the United States who has become depressed and all but shattered by the Vietnam debacle.

In an odd turn of events the young “Mad Man” is astonished at being drafted by the President to write his farewell address and is stunned by the leader of the free world’s bizarre directive as to its content.

Madison Avenue, Greenwich Village, Israel after the 1967 Six Day War, the Zealots first century struggle on Masada, plus Hollywood and Washington, D.C. intrigue coalesce as Harry shuttles physically and emotionally through space and time. His obsessions: unanswerable events with implications for all humanity, the fusion of the personal and political, the risks and rewards of love.

  Have you read it?

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Cleveland Jewish Times

Silberman’s ‘E Train to Masada’ novel reflects Jewish roots

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 2:00 pm


Eli Silberman, who worked on Madison Avenue during the ’60s and ’70s, is a real “Mad Man,” as contrasted to the actors who play those roles on television these days.

His first novel, “E Train to Masada” (available on, is a fast-moving story that takes the reader on a whirlwind trip from Shaker Heights to Masada and finally to the White House, where the subject under discussion is the possibility of UFO’s landing in New Mexico.

Silberman, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., learned a lot about Masada and Israel from his father, Rabbi Morris Silberman.

The book combines moral and political questions spanning 2,000 years and three continents. Silberman said he carefully researched all historical references over the last 10 years.

The story revolves around Harry Lang, a rising star at a New York advertising agency in 1968 who creates an award-winning TV commercial that captivates a president of the United States (a thinly veiled Lyndon B. Johnson). In an odd turn of events, the young “Mad Man” is astonished at being drafted by the president to write his farewell address.

The storyline moves quickly from Madison Avenue to a focus group in Shaker Heights, to Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War and to the Zealots’ first-century struggle on Masada. Characters from Hollywood and Washington, D.C. blend as Harry shuttles physically and emotionally through space and time. He struggles with unanswerable events with implications for all humanity, the fusion of personal and political events, and finally, the risks and rewards of love.

The novel moves at such speed you can’t wait to turn the page to see what happens next.

After working for the McCann Erickson Advertising agency, where he was a senior vice president and creative director, Silberman established his own firm in Philadelphia.

During his years in advertising, he worked for such brands as Coca-Cola, Buick, Exxon and Miller Beer. Silberman sold his business to Earle Palmer Brown in 1998. He and his wife, Janeice, live on their 18th-century farm in the rolling hills of Chester County, Penn., about one hour from Philadelphia.

Wain, a past president of the Cleveland Jewish News Board of Directors, is a cousin of author Eli Silberman.

READ FULL ARTICLE Article in the Cleveland Jewish News.

Brandywine Radio Interview

I recently sat down with Lloyd Roach of Brandywine Radio to chat about the book and the 1960’s & 70’s advertising world.  In the interview, I share a few stories from the era including “Release the Condor” and a Tug of War between an Elephant and an Opal Cadet.

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