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The Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520248489
ISBN-10: 0520248481
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the fourth volume in the Jewish Communities in the Modern World series, Diner (an NYU professor and author of Hungering for America) shows that, from the colonial era to the present, Jews have wanted both to "be good Jews and... full Americans." The book opens with a survey of the small Jewish community in colonial and revolutionary America. Diner then turns to the 19th-century waves of Jewish immigration. In these pages, we meet upwardly mobile peddlers, religious reformers pressing for English-language worship services and Jewish state senators. In the final section of the book, Diner charts Jewish responses to World War I, the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement. Diner is to be commended for her thorough integration of women into her Jewish American story; she recounts the stories of female philanthropists and teachers, and examines the roles women played in political movements from Zionism to second-wave feminism. She also deserves kudos for attending to both religious and secular Judaism. She traces the 18th- and 19th-century battles for religious reform, the impact of Orthodox Jewish immigration on the American Jewish landscape and so forth, but she does not reduce the history of Judaism in America to a strictly religious story, or neglect political and cultural expressions of Judaism, like Yiddish theater. This academic synthesis of Jewish American history will find a home in the university market and will have crossover appeal to a broader readership.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A comprehensive and nuanced treatment of a big subject; Hasia Diner brings the grand narrative to life through individual anecdotes, skilfully intertwines the religious and secular aspects of the story, and includes the role of women throughout." --"Times Literary Supplement"

"Informative, engaging, and well-researched."--"Western States Jewish History"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520248481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520248489
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jews have long tried to entwine their fate and fortunes with the U.S. and this history of the Jews in this country begins in 1654 with the first wave of Jewish immigrants and continues to modern times. In The Jews Of The United States, 1654 To 2000 (the newest title in the outstanding "Jewish Communities in the Modern World" series from the University of California Press) Hasia Diner focuses on Jewish participation in and contributions to American history and politics, considers the blends of Jewish and American culture which have resulted from centuries of assimilation, and analyzes the structure of modern Jewish communities and institutions. An excellent, comprehensive history for any college-level Jewish studies collection.
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Format: Hardcover
It seems clear that much research went into this book, unfortunately with very little visible editing. There is much tedious repetition of the same point. Extraneous information peeks out at us without elaboration. It is true that New York emerged as the center of American publishing, but why tantalize the reader with this fact by means of a single sentence in the midst of several pages about the garment industry. The treatment of the 1911 Triangle fire is far too minimal, and suggests, erroneously, that this was a solely Jewish experience. This is most emphatically not the case, either in terms of the victims or the long term political consequences both for Jews and the Democratic party.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hasia Diner does a great job at depicting what jewish life was like in the USA through the years. She describes how many came over in the 17th century, and how Governor Oglethorpe of Georgia felt that they could contribute to the well being of the colonies.

We read of the early antipathy some colonists had toward the Jewish people, but also how early Jewish activists secured basic rights for the Jews in places like Maryland (Pennsylvania was a spot where Jewish people were not always welcome).

We learn of how early Jewish synagogue communities survived without rabbis. We see Jewish people congregating in the larger cities, opening fruit and vegetable stands, and (especially) garment shops. These garment shops thrived during the Civil War when union army uniforms needed to be provided.

We also read of the origins of groups like the American Jewish Congress and Bnai Brith and the Anti-Defamation League. You will also learn about the early 20th centur distrust of Jewish people, how businessmen such as Henry Ford feared that educated and wise Jewish people would take over the country.

Many Jewish people took Gentile names at this time so that they would not be denied opportunities for work. You also read of how American Jewry was shocked and appalled at the Holocaust and how they called on FDR to intervene.

You will also discover the origins of the three major streams of American Judaism (Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox).

Hasia Diner also considers the year 2000 to be particularly significant in that a practicing Jewish person nearly became the Vice-President of the United States.

I thought the book was great. It was easy to read, and it held my attention. I also was surprised about how many entertainers and musicians and songwriters and producers are Jewish (George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, the Warner brothers, etc).

Rev. Marc Axelrod
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Would be of most interest to Jews living in the United States. Very interesting and very readable, so that it doesn't read like a text book. I had first read another history of Jews in the United States that I found much too detailed and tedious (American Judaism, by Jonathan Sarna). This history by Hasia Diner was much more interesting and readable than the other book. Reads almost likes novel.
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This is a great survey of Jewish history in the United States. Professor Diner has the knack for writing factual information in a lively, engaging manner. It's not "novelized" in any way, but the stories come alive just as in a well-written novel. Highly Recommended.
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