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.


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 Silberman said he carefully researched all historical references over the last 10 years.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.