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It Happened in Brooklyn: An Oral History of Growing Up in the Borough in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s Paperback – September 19, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This paean to a bygone place by the authors of It Happened in the Catskills throbs with life and affection. In the middle years of this century, Brooklyn was heavily populated by Jewish and Italian families, with Irish, black and Scandinavian enclaves. Ethnicity, however, was overshadowed by the aim of the mostly immigrant parents and children to become Americans. Education was regarded as vital to this goal and those interviewed in this oral history recall the schools as being very good and demanding. In the neighborhoods, all the parents regarded themselves as responsible for all of the children. That more innocent world is remembered as being preferable to the Brooklyn of today, with its influx of drugs and racial strife. The contributors to this engaging recollection include Robert Merrill, Pat Cooper and many lesser-known natives. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this century, perhaps only Southern California rivals Brooklyn in attracting the imagination of so many Americans living elsewhere. But Brooklyn, unlike L.A., which after all had to steal the Dodgers, was definitely a place whence people "came." The Frommers ( New York City Baseball , LJ 4/15/80) have interviewed an array of their fellow Brooklyn born-and-bred who grew up in the era between Pearl Harbor and the birth of urban civil rights activism 25 years later. A prosperous lot, many are notable, and most no longer live there. They are also mostly Jewish, but Catholics, and African and Scandinavian Americans are present and similarly upbeat in their recollections. (The inclusion of maps would have been helpful.) Despite the emphasis on good-time memories--Jackie Robinson, stickball, Coney Island amusements--accounts of red-lining and block-busting close this absorbing evocation. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
- Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Harvest Book
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1St Edition edition (September 19, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015600237X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156002370
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,775,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is actually a compilation of anecdotal memories from many people who grew up in Brooklyn, some of whom are world famous for various reasons! While I was disapointed by the lack of coverage of the 50s and 60s when I grew up in East Flatbush, the book brings back wonderful memories of Coney Island and many other institutions. I particularly found the stories from the family that started Nathan's to be fascinating. I ALSO recommend the book "The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn." The two bookds are very different! While it is also light on the 50s and 60s it is fascinating to learn of the full history of each neighborhood. How and when the original Dutch settlers bought the various sections from the Canarsee and Rockaway Native Americans. It is also interesting to learn of the fates of the various neighborhoods and their changing ethnic faces.

I must add that it is at least a bit disingenuous and self-serving for one of the authors to write SEVERAL reviews of his own work!
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Format: Paperback
We bought this for my husband's mom who was transplanted to Colorado as a teenager from Brooklyn. It brought back many happy childhood memories for her. She loved reading about places that she thought she'd forgotten and this spurred her memory to share childhood stories with us about a place very different from the 'wild west.'
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could not be happier with my purchase. The book arrived quickly and in better-than-described condition. I was very happy with the price and feel I got excellent value for the money. This book is a true gem. It brought back memories of my youth in Brooklyn as well as the stories my father told me. Every page is a treasure to be savored even if you did not grow up in the best city in America.

I do not normally buy online but I certainly will from Amazon and those they represent.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're from Brooklyn, you will not be able to put this book down. Even if you aren't, this collection of "love stories" fondly remembering the borough through past decades will give you some idea of why people speak so nostalgically of Brooklyn. It will put a smile on your face and maybe even squeeze a few tears from you.
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Format: Paperback
This book It happened in Brooklyn should add the title "If you where Jewish" I was born and raised in Canarsie . Went to Tilden High , And
feel that the description of Brooklyn the 30s thru the 50s is not properly described .unless of course you where Jewish .
I am of Welsh decent so cant really say i am a little one sided 'Italian Versus Jew's,Jews versus Irish etc. 85% of the character and flavor of places and times describing Brooklyn have been been ignored . This books title should be "It happened to the Jewish People in Brooklyn .........Very Disappointed !!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a product of Brooklyn in THOSE days, I LOVED the book! It evoked memories of the hopefulness of the post-world War II years and an appreciation for the fine education system that did an excellent job educating many grandchildren and grandchildren of immigrants.
Many of us went on to become the professionals we had the capacity to be but wouldn't in fact have been able to become without the educations we received.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished the book and I enjoyed it so much. Its easy to see why
Brooklyn has been the inspriation for so many novels and movies.
It was so interesting to see how so many different ethnic groups had such
similar stories of growing up. A real shared memory .
Well this book is a treasure and I am so glad to have it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though the book was for a generation slightly older than myself, my husband loved the book. It really is interesting with nice photos. I just wish it was more for my generation.
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