The history of West European Jewry can be described as the struggle of a people to be absorbed into the mainstream of Western culture. That of the Jews of Eastern Europe, on the other hand, is largely the story of a determination not only to preserve intact the best of traditional Jewish values, but also to harmonize tradition with modernity and to retain a Jewish identity. For that reason, Eastern Europe has been the cradle of almost every important Jewish cultural, religious, and national movement of modern times. This book is an attempt to set out, by means of documents, the rationale and the impact of such movements. The author approaches her subject through the ""most direct form of history,"" autobiography; she has assembled autobiographies, memoirs, reminiscences and letters of some sixty persons who became initiators of important movements or setters of precedent. The result is a kaleidoscopic survey of the culture of Eastern European Jewry under its spiritual, educational philosophical, literary, artistic, revolutionary, and political aspects. The whole is set in its historical perspective by an illuminating author's introduction. The Golden Tradition is, in essence, a well ordered and rich sourcebook of modern Jewish thought, form the Enlightenment to the cataclysm of World War II. It will be of much use to students of intellectual, cultural, and political history, as well as to those of Judaica.