- Art and cultural criticism: A book about art, its ability to witness, and memory: analyzes 'the unspoken' in Jonas Mekas films, poetry, and excerpts of diaries. Impassioned, visual writing makes for quick and compelling reading. Makes readers think about their own relationships to past genocides, civil wars, colonization, and occupations.
- Important Jewish scholarship highlighted: Ties into the fight against Holocaust revisionism efforts in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. Brings a conflict to light between witnesses of trauma and historians of the Holocaust. Mekas's antagonist in a controversy at the NYRB is historian Michael Casper, a well-respected author and scholar of Jewish history, specializing in interwar Lithuania, who has been an USHMM Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and received his doctorate from UCLA. Mekas has presented himself as a victim in his experience in WWII and as a displaced person, but never mentions the Holocaust in Lithuania. Casper asks, why?
- Mekas is the 'Godfather of American avant-garde cinema': extremely influential, founded the New York Anthology Archives, wrote his Movie Journal column in the Village Voice for decades. Collected his columns and diaries in popular books. Numerous international awards bestowed during his lifetime (1922?2019) and his circle included such celebrities as Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Susan Sontag, Yoko Ono, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackie Kennedy.
- Lithuania during the Holocaust: Reveals little-known facts about one of the most brutal areas of activity for the Einsatzgruppen (Nazi assassination squads), who often enlisted civilians in their crimes. The book presents the life of an exile and former displaced-person from war-torn Europe. Readers learn specific circumstances about the civilians in the Soviet-occupied Baltic States, who lived through WWII and the Holocaust, as well as facts about the 95% of Lithuanian Jewish residents who were killed.
- Cancel culture and its limitations: Several hinge-points relating to today's most toxic and polarizing topics, all taking place at the venerable New York Review of Books in 2018 under the former leadership of Ian Buruma, who was fired for taking sides in the #MeToo movement and publishing an accused sexual assault perpetrator's self-defense. Shows the impossibility of neutral ground but also, in the Mekas case, people's rush to judgment.
- Author is established film director: Delpeut was deputy-director of the Netherlands Filmmuseum (now Eye) for 7 years and is a well-respected Dutch author of novels and essays. His prior books have explored art, film, witnessing, the nature of truth, and the pain of losing loved ones.
- Striking book design: spot gloss and edge printing. Page number design has a flip-book element. Designed by a young Lithuanian typographer.
Peter Delpeut (b.1956) is a Dutch author and filmmaker currently living in Amsterdam. He has written four novels, several essay books on art and film, and two lyrical books about long distance cycling. For his debut novel in 2007 he was nominated for the Gerard Walschap Prize and awarded the Halewijn Prize. He has made critically acclaimed and prizewinning films in many genres: found footage, documentary and features. He studied philosophy and film theory, graduating from the Dutch Film Academy in 1984 before serving as editorfor film magazines Skrien and Versus. From 1988 to 1995 he worked as curator and deputy-director for the Netherlands Filmmuseum (now Eye), famous at the time for its revolutionary color preservations of films from the silent era. In 2005 a retrospective of his film work was presented in Washington, New York and Berkeley.