Entertaining America is a captivating look at one of the longest-running and most provocative public discussions in America: the relationship between the nation's Jews and its entertainment media. This colorfully written, lavishly illustrated book surveys how Jews have participated in--and been identified with--American movies, radio, and television from the nickelodeon era at the turn of the twentieth century to the present day.
Throughout, the tone is lively, the design is playful, and key points are visually enhanced by stills, publicity photos, and memorabilia. This anthology of original analyses and primary texts covers a wide range of topics, including the multiple versions of The Jazz Singer, the saga of the Hollywood movie moguls, the irrepressible Goldbergs of radio and television fame, the representation of the Holocaust, how Charlie Chaplin and other non-Jewish stars became "virtual Jews," and the dazzling success of the television series Seinfeld. There is also an illustrated gallery of more than twenty Jewish-American stars from Theda Bara to Adam Sandler.
The principal authors, J. Hoberman and Jeffrey Shandler, examine not only the history of Jews in the industry but also the steady stream of richly varied voices that have had something to say about this history--in fan magazines as well as literary fiction, by religious and political leaders as well as journalists, historians, and Jews in the entertainment business themselves.
Entertaining America, which accompanies an exhibition opening at The Jewish Museum, is itself tremendously entertaining while providing the most expansive, authoritative look at this fascinating subject. In its pages, readers will find ample material to help them formulate their own responses to this frank, contentious, multilayered discussion.
The Jewish Museum, New York
February 21 - September 14, 2003
The Jewish Museum of Maryland, Baltimore
October 16, 2003 - January 18, 2004