AMERICA IS ALSO JEWISH by Richard Goldhurst


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More pithy and personal than most surveys of ethnic contributions (e.g. Arlene Kurtis's The Jews Helped Build America, 1970), but uneven in emphasis and sprinkled with eyebrow-raising generalities, such as the statement that ""the English were rather fond of the Jews"" and the characterization of Napoleon as a ""supergangster."" Goldhurst discusses the four waves of Jewish immigration (Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Central European and 20th century) principally in terms of anecdotes about their leading personalities, from the familiar story of Haym Salomon to denim peddler Levi Straus and moviemaker Sam Goldwyn. A secondary theme is the development of anti-Semitism in America (including an extended history of the Let) Frank case), but the 1900's are celebrated as the ""golden age"" of American Jewry (with the ""Jewish seat"" on the Supreme court a symbol of victory) which vindicates the ""democratic impulse in American life."" The prose is lively and some unusual material is included (e.g. General Grant's expulsion of the Jews from the state of Kentucky), but the occasional admixture of opinion with fact calls for a cautious approach.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Putnam