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You Never Call! You Never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother Hardcover – April 2, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0195147872 ISBN-10: 0195147871 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews Review

Author Video

Oy vey! You Never Call! You Never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother author Joyce Antler talks about Jewish humor, overbearing mothers, and Sarah Silverman. Watch the video (.wmv).

Joyce Antler discusses


"An excellent new American academic study...Antler leads us well beyond Jewishness, and offers some truths about parenting in general."--Financial Times

"What an ideal topic for a specialist in American Jewish history and culture, which Joyce Antler is. The Brandeis University professor analyzes her subject academically while exploring its ironic conflicts and enjoying the humor clinging to it...Read it and laugh."--Dallas Morning News

"Perceptive and often amusing."--Hadassah Magazine

"The highly readable quality of the writing will delight both the scholar and the average reader including those who are Jewish mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons."--Jewish Book World

"Original and often funny, full of rich anecdotes drawn from popular culture, sociological and historical studies and life experience... Antler achieves what many academics aspire to: a voice that is both scholarly and lively as she examines the origins of negative stereotypes associated with the Jewish mother."--The Jewish Week

"More than a history of Jewish motherhood, this book offers a fresh perspective on Jewish history, women's history, and the history of popular culture that is both informative and entertaining...Readers will finish the book with a fuller and more nuanced understanding of the history of the Jewish mother-and mothers in general."--Library Journal

"As educational as it is riotous...go buy this book and call your mom."--The Jewish Magazine

"Well-researched and very readable...You Never Call! You Never Write! is a valuable addition."--The Journal of American History

"After reading this, you'll call, you'll write, and you'll say thank you!"--Judy Gold, comedian

"From Yiddishe mama to Mrs. Portnoy, Antler covers all the bases and goes far beyond stereotypes, providing a sweeping history of the Jewish mother that is filled with humor, insight and most importantly, sensitivity to the paramount role of mothers in all of our lives."--Moshe Waldoks, co-editor of The Big Book of Jewish Humor

"Compulsively readable and genuinely original, this erudite yet deeply emotional work crosses boundaries and undermines truisms."--Rebecca Goldstein, author of Betraying Spinoza

"Now I know what to give my mother for her 94th birthday. This book shows how the Jewish gift for comedy is a double-edged sword: the brilliantly funny stereotypes it has given us- the Jewish mother, above all- live on despite the fact that their grain of truth is such a small part of what is seen with a clear and knowing eye like Joyce Antler's. Her writing is incisive and from the heart."--Judith Shapiro, President and Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College

"An important, captivating and funny read. Joyce Antler has captured the complexity of the public image of Jewish mothers, and introduced new ways to perceive this fabled character. Her story talks to mothers, daughters, and families everywhere, and addresses those who would dismiss The Jewish Mother merely as a cartoon character." -- Tovah Feldshuh, actress

"Joyce Antler's engrossing portrayal of the cultural phenomenon of the Jewish mother is entertaining, humorous, and stimulating." --Joan Nathan, author of Jewish Cooking in America

"Oy vey! Why does the Jewish mother get such a bad rap? Antler's compellingly readable and always instructive history surveys sources from TV to treatises with equal keenness, revealing the shifting construction of this seemingly inescapable image. No treatment of the topic is more definitive."--Nancy F. Cott, author of Public Vows: History of Marriage and the Nation

"Alternately humorous and poignant, Joyce Antler's superb new book reveals both the changing and multifaceted image of the Jewish mother in American public culture and the gap between crude cultural stereotyping and the complex social realities of Jewish women's historical experiences. This is a fascinating and evocative book."-- Susan A. Glenn, author of Daughters of the Shtetl


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195147871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195147872
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.3 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,455,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Speedreader on April 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book will be a nostalgic trip down memory lane; the book is full of funny and charming anecdotes and recaps of classic humor routines and shows of past generations. A great book that gives you the really lively, hilarious, often shocking, sometimes bawdy history of how the Jewish Mother has been portrayed in movies, books, sitcoms, etc. But then the author contrasts that negative image with accounts of real Jewish mothers and women, who are strong, spunky, and loving. The perfect gift book; I confess I've already given copies to my mom and 4 aunts!
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Estelle Jacobs on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book was written by Joyce Antler, a professor at Brandeis University. The Women's Committee of Brandeis (BUNWC)instituted a study group program based on books, research, etc. by professors which included a syllabus to accompany their books, research, etc.
As a former president of BUNWC, I can attest to the importance and popularity of this program. The subjects offered are always on the mark. This one, in particular, hit the jugular vein!
"The History of the Jewish Mother" transcends the history of most American, immigrant mothers. This is a wonderful book for a book club. Through the study guide, questions are posed that relate to each chapter.
The book, in itself, brings back many memories. The study guide keeps the group on track. ONE CAVEAT. Although the book alone is very good, you must be a member of BUNWC to be eligible to buy the study guide.
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You Never Call! You Never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother
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