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Hollywood and Anti-Semitism: A Cultural History up to World War II (Cambridge Studies in the History of Mass Communication) Paperback – April 30, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Carr (communications, Indiana Univ.- Purdue Univ. Fort Wayne) has written a scholarly history of anti-Semitism in Hollywood. Exhaustively researched, the book examines the key issues behind anti-Semitism in the movie industry and the attitudes of American audiences. The author explores the way Jews were portrayed in film and the various ethnic stereotypes American moviegoers watched. This stereotyping reinforced the negative view of Jews in society. Though written in a dry academic style, the book includes extensive notes and a bibliography and is an excellent resource on Hollywood's anti-Semitism. Photographs and cartoons depicting anti-Jewish sentiments enhance the text. There are numerous examples to validate Carr's thesis, such as Charles Lindbergh's famous remark that "the greatest danger to this country lies in their [Jews] large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government." This thought-provoking book is recommended for academic libraries. Rosalind Dayen, Broward Cty. South Regional Lib., Pembroke Pines, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Hollywood and Anti-Semitism is intensely researched and sensibly weighed....results of [Carr's] inquiry are vivid, disgusting, and enlightening. But his book establishes a grimly fascinating and uncomfortably close chapter in the long history of a curse." The New Republic

"Carr has written a scholarly history of anti-Semitism in Hollywood. Exhaustively researched...the book includes extensive notes and a bibliography and is an excellent resource on Hollywood's anti-Semitism. This thought-provoking book is recommended for academic libraries." Library Journal

"An impressively researched and closely reasoned cultural history." London Review of Books, March 2002
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in the History of Mass Communication
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (April 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052179854X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521798549
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,454,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Cohen on July 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a well-researched work that deals with Hollywood and issues of Jewish control - and how those issues have influenced politics and popular culture. The writing is nothing spectacular - a tone that was a bit livelier would certainly not have hurt the book's academic credibility - but Carr compensates by offering a mountain of research. It's amazing to see what kinds of offensive things that members of the government and famous citizens (Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh) got away with saying only 60-70 years ago. All in all, this is a useful book on an important subject.
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Overall, this book is well researched and written, although sometimes obscured by stretches of academic theorizing, especially in the opening chapters. Even so, the toxic environment of anti-Semitism that is effectively revealed is truly horrifying and the interactions described with and within the Hollywood community add to a fresh understanding of America society and the movies of the period.
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Harry Eagar VINE VOICE on December 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
The issue of anti-semitism and Hollywood deserves a good study. Unfortunately, it does not get it from Steven Carr.

Even an intelligent man would have been unable to do a good job if burdened with the burdens Carr inflicted on himself: He's a pro-Communist and a Po-Mo-ist.

The first is displayed by his adjectives. Whenever Communism raises its ugly head, it is dismissed as "allegedly" or "so-called" or "perceived" etc. When fascism or racism raise their ugly heads, they have to appear without such fig leaves. The Po-Mo orientation is displayed in the hideous verbs of modern academic writing: marginalize, valorize, essentialize etc.

Carr categorizes his study as the impact on the broader society of the "Hollywood Question," which, however, he never defines. Given his subtitle, you might guess (and I did guess when I bought the book) that he was going to study Hollywood in the context of anti-semitism.

Ha! Surprise! Since Carr is a Marxist, he studies -- sort of -- Hollywood in the context of a collision of an older, small-town, WASP sensibility with an oncoming, diverse, urban ethos.

Now, if anything characterized late 19th c. American small-town sensibilities, it was temperance. It is a measure of Carr's confusion that a great part of the book is devoted to the Catholic assault on Hollywood. If anything characterized early 20th c. Catholicism, it was anti-temperance. And while there were some Catholics in small towns, they were concentrated in the cities, and every other American historian has treated them as an urban phenomenon.

But, since Catholics were anti-semites, then Carr figures, I guess, use 'em.

This is not history. This is throwing a pot of spaghetti against the wall to see which strands will stick.
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