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Jewball by [Pollack, Neal]
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Jewball Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"With his new novel, the author of Alternadad and Stretch steps boldly into the world of direct digital publishing."--Propeller Magazine.
"An intriguing experiment...Pollack has chutzpah." --The Jewish Daily Foward.

About the Author

Neal Pollack is the author of the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, the novel Never Mind the Pollacks, and the memoirs Alternadad and Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Slate, Salon, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Maxim. He lives with his wife and son in Austin, Texas.


Product Details

  • File Size: 513 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (March 27, 2012)
  • Publication Date: March 27, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XGBTQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,252 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ben Brown on November 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is a scene in this book that is so tense that it caused me to break into sweats and miss my subway stop. Jewball is a fast paced, action packed novel halfway between a noir detective story and a sports history biopic. I don't like sports or crime novels, but I loved this book.

Neal Pollack is a very talented author. You may remember his comedy and satire writing from the early days of the McSweeney's publishing world. Or, you may have read one of his hilarious and humanizing memoirs. Well, now he's written a real, proper smash-em-up novel with real characters and plots and both sex scenes and basketball scenes that will make your palms moist.

Buying this as an ebook is a steal - if you were buying this book from an international corporate conglomerate instead of directly from Neal, you would be paying 5 times as much.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Neal Pollack has done it again. Breaking the bounds of any typical book, "Jewball" is a challenge to encapsulate or box into a type. You can read about the concept, but trust a picky reader -- this is absolutely worth a buy, even if you're NOT:

A: Jewish
B: A white supremacist
C: A huge basketball fan
D: Used to references to peach baskets (no, that's not a dirty term)
E: Aware of the healing properties of brisket

"Jewball" moves fast as heck, bouncing from character to character, city to city, as fast as the starring 1930s Philadelphia basketball team does. The characters are complicated -- the protagonist is no one-note hero -- and there's a lot of action on an off the basketball court.

Even if I weren't a fan of Neal's previous work, the concept here would have caught my eye and interested me. And, as an author-sympathizer, I will always do my best to support indepdendent publishing. So if you're up for a great, fast, intelligent read with a bit of blood, history, and a good dose of smart-ass, download this book (or get the paperback, which I understand is in the works as of this review date).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jewball is great, unexpected fun. It was a fast weekend read, but I had to slow down at the end because I wanted more. Neal Pollack combines two unlikely elements, his sharp wit and the right touch of noir. Wait, plus basketball! Set in 1930's Philadelphia, the novel pulls of the unexpected: with the dark shadow of World War 2 and the Holocaust looming, there's an unexpected exuberance and optimism for the lives of inner city Jews in America.

-- G. Xavier Robillard, author of Captain Freedom
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"There was ball, and there was Jewball, and if they were gonna win, they'd better demonstrate the difference, with emphasis."

I was leery when I first saw this book on Amazon's virtual bookshelf. I couldn't tell whether the title was pejorative or respectful. But based on the book's description and the low price at the time, I decided to give it a whirl. I'm glad I did.

A goy like me had no idea of the role that basketball played for urban Jews in the early 20th century. Unlike games like football that require large fields to play, basketball can be played on city playgrounds and inside gymnasiums, which made it the perfect game for big cities.

Jewball is the story of young Inky Lautman who is recruited to play in the SPHA:

"If no one played basketball quite like the Jews, then no Jews played it quite like the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association. People respected them when they traveled around. But in Philly during the SPHA's heyday, which lasted from the mid-twenties until the mid-forties, they were heroes..."

I loved this story. I loved the characters and I loved the setting. It takes place during the pre-war years in and around Philadelphia. I loved the exposure to a culture I'm not completely familiar with. Luckily I read it on my Kindle so I could look up a lot of the Yiddish words and phrases that were foreign to me.

Writer Neal Pollack admits to taking some liberties with the history, but at the end of the book he includes a "Notes on the History" section where he clears up the facts versus his fiction. And aside from a few parts that used a little too much kitsch for me, I thought Pollack's writing was great. He struck a very comforting balance between noir, romance, and sports.
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I did enjoy reading this book for its' historical content. Upon finishing the book I realized that I learned a great deal. I never knew there was a Jewish Pro basketball team or the Bund operating so heavily in the US before we entered the war. On a personal level I could have increased my enjoyment if the language were a little less sprinkled with 4 letter words.
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Loved it! I'm not Jewish and have absolutely no interest in Basketball but I read a 'sample' of this book and couldn't stop! The characters are so vividly described, I was casting the movie in my head as I saw the story unfold. I truly hope somebody picks it up and has the sense to do little, if any, re-writing for the script!
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The language fits the era and sometimes the colloquialisms are hard to understand but this is a great read if you like history and basketball. Inky Lautman is a cool cat and I enjoyed his company for the two days it took me to get through this tale of hoops and bumbling American Nazis. That's quick for me by the way, so it means that I couldn't put it down...or it was short but I am sure it was the former.
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