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Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York (Modern Jewish History) Paperback – August 31, 1996


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Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York (Modern Jewish History) + The Grandees: The Story of America's Sephardic Elite + The Rest of Us: The Rise of America's Eastern European Jews (Modern Jewish History)
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Jewish History
  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press; New edition edition (August 31, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815604114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815604112
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I thought this book did a wonderful job of describing the people behind the names, money, and power of these families. It provided a detailed, colorful history of how the founding family members came to this country; the trials and tribulations they encountered along the way; and how they overcame all of these things on their way to achieving thier ultimate financial and social status. The story of these families personifies the American dream - That a strong will, intelligence, and hard work are the keys to success. In addition, the book sheds light on the social, class, and religous biases that were perpetuated by the success of these families, biases that remain in place today within the Jewish community.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
A very interesting history of the great Jewish families of New York. Birmingham flings the door open on some of the most reclusive and secretive oligopolies in business history. Not only is it an eye opening history of the German jews in New York but it is engaging and interesting to read. It does not read like a textbook. Birmingham has really done his homework. If you want to learn about some real eccentric/succesful personalities and about the German jewish families ofNew York, this is the best book on the subject.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Fishman on April 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
This was a very interesting account of the German-Jewish experience in the United States from the mid 19th century through the mid 20th century. It looks carefully at how a number of families rose stratospherically into the nation's financial elite within a short period of time. While the families were assimilated on some levels (particularly with respect to economic achievement), they clung to their German roots on other levels (as demonstrated by their American-born children being schooled in the German tradition, and by certain political views). Many members of this group saw themselves as being German before being Jewish, and this set up an intra-religious "pecking order" (a member of this group marrying a non-German Jew was apparently out of the question). I only wish that the book would be updated, as it ends in the late 1950s.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paula Crandall on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
IF YOU'VE EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE HISTORY OF A POWERFUL SEGMENT OF OUR SOCIETY, WHERE THEY CAME FROM, HOW THEY EVOLVED, THE INFLUENCE THEY HAD, BIRMINGHAM'S ACCOUNT OF THE RISE OF THE POWERFUL JEWISH FAMILIES IN NEW YORK THAT ESPECIALLY INFLUENCED OUR FINANCIAL COMMUNITY WILL FASCINATE YOU. IT READS ALMOST LIKE A NOVEL AND IS DIFFICULT TO PUT DOWN. YOU WILL COME TO KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE WERE, THEIR PERSONALITIES, THEIR CHARACTERS, THEIR BRILLIANCE. IT'S A WONDERFUL READ!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bridget Pumphrey on February 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was so impressed by this book...It's a true tour de force and made me aware of so much about which I had had no idea. I had never known about such important facets of Jewish experiences in NYC and its environs. I recommend this book to everyone! The ways in which Jewish people lived, the important stories Mr. Birmingham chooses to tell, all reflect a felt sensitivity to Jews, which I admire greatly. If you know of anything in the book which is not accurate, I would like to be informed, though it seems immensely well-researched. I'm a critical thinker, however, and welcome corrected information. It seems Mr. Birmingham has not been sufficiently praised, as I have had six years of post BA coursework and never had the luck of seeing his work. May the Jewish people thrive wherever they may be."Our Crowd": The Great Jewish Families of New York (Modern Jewish History)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MANHATTANMISS on February 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I READ THIS BOOK YEARS AGO AND LOVED IT SO MUCH - THIS TIME WAS NO DIFFERANT VERY INFORMATIVE - YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE JEWISH TO
ENJOY THIS.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TheGarrisons on February 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a lot of stories about my family, so I love it. However, for anyone who wants to hear how some large Jewish families made it in the US, this is a great book to begin with.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful book chronicling the Jewish equivalent to "The 400", those wealthy (gentile) society people who were NYC's upper-crust in the last half of the 19th Century to the beginning of the 20th. "Our Crowd" was made up of hyper-wealthy bankers who helped build this nations railroads, banking system and even helped fund GM. Largely unsung, the Seligmans, Kuhns, Loebs, Goldmans, Lehmans, Guggenheims et al rivaled and, in some cases surpassed the Morgans, Astors, Vanderbilts, Fishes et al.
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