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Comrades and Chicken Ranchers: The Story of a California Jewish Community (Cornell Paperbacks) Paperback – April 22, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0801480751 ISBN-10: 0801480752 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is a portrait of the Petaluma Jewish community from the early years of the century to the present day. . . . Kenneth L. Kann interviewed more than two hundred residents, representing three generations of Jewish Americans. The picture that emerges from their testimony is of a wonderfully animated and fractious community. . . . Its history blends many of the familiar themes of American Jewish life into a richly individual tapestry. . . . In the first few decades of this century, many Jewish immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe wound up in Petaluma. . . . This first generation of chicken farmers consisted largely of educated, often professional men and women; many were drawn to chicken farming as much by Marxist or Zionist beliefs in the dignity of labor as by economic necessity. They helped establish the particular character of a community, with its combination of arduous work and cultural aspiration."—Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

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Product Details

  • Series: Cornell Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (April 22, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801480752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801480751
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Chase on August 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a marvelous oral history of the Jewish community in Petaluma, CA. It was a joy to read. I cannot recommend it too highly.
There is no narrative history in this book. Before I read it I thought I might feel that there was something missing because of the lack of narrative history. I was amazed by how rich and interesting the history is in the telling by the people who lived it -- it shows the humanity of history, the feel of lives and all that goes with them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jill D. Whelchel on May 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a delightful read for anyone interested in oral history, from the author's introduction and methodology to the actual words of Petaluma community members. This book shows in a personal way how a small, rural Jewish community was affected over the course of three generations by changes in the larger world.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Perelli-Minetti on October 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
that a sleeply little country town north of San Francisco was such a hotbed of Jewish culture and activism?

My only real quibble with the book is the anonymity of the disguised names (probably necessary, but it detracts historically -- one hopes a later edition may come out with a key for those who didn't know the people in the book. But, what a story!

I knew all of the younger people mentioned and most of the the older generation as well. My father knew many of the chicken ranchers and dairy farmers professionally, and my mother was close to a number of the main characters. As a result, I had an inkling of some of this story, but only just.

This is small history, a footnote really, but fascinating.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Rochlin on February 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
I found this book while researching Alby Kass, a Klezmer singer who recently performed in Petaluma. I was fascinated and couldn't put it down. I had no idea of the divide in the community over religion. I thought the synogogue was ALWAYS the synogogue. My one complaint is that the names were changed. I KNOW many of these people - I am of the third generation - and I would love to be able to talk to some of them about this time in Petaluma's history. I AM going to buy eggs on Cavanaugh Lane on my way home tonight.
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