Hilton Obenzinger writes cultural criticism, history, fiction and poetry. He is the author of American Palestine: Melville, Twain, and the Holy Land Mania, a literary and historical study of American fascination with the Holy Land. He has published chapters in books and articles in scholarly journals on American Holy Land travel, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Zionism, and American cultural interactions with the Middle East, including “Naturalizing Cultural Pluralism, Americanizing Zionism: The Settler Colonial Basis to Early Twentieth Century Progressive Thought” and “Melville, Holy Lands, and Settler-Colonial Studies.” His current projects include Melting Pots and Promised Lands: Early Zionism and the Idea of America, a study of entwined settler colonial narratives from the 19th century to 1948.
His most recent book, Beginning: The Immigration Poems, 1924-1926, of Nachman Obzinger, is a selection of his father’s poems written in Lublin and New York translated from the Yiddish (with Rabbi Benjamin Weiner). His other works include Busy Dying, an autobiographical fiction; Running Through Fire: How I Survived the Holocaust by Zosia Goldberg as told to Hilton Obenzinger, an oral history of his aunt’s ordeal during the war; Cannibal Eliot and the Lost Histories of San Francisco, a novel of invented documents that recounts the history of San Francisco from the Spanish conquest to 1906; New York on Fire, a history of the fires of New York in verse, selected by the Village Voice as one of the best books of the year and nominated by the Bay Area Book Reviewer’s Association for its award in poetry; This Passover Or The Next I Will Never Be in Jerusalem, a sequence of poetry and prose that received the American Book Award. He teaches American Studies at Stanford University and is Associate Director of Stanford’s Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project, a trans-Pacific study of the Chinese laborers who built the transcontinental railroad.