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The Jewish Confederates (NS) Hardcover – October 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
While prominent, largely forgotten Jewish leaders such as Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin and Q.M. Gen. Abraham C. Myers are re-examined in Rosen's account of the Jewish confederacy, the real contribution of this book to Civil War scholarship is its thorough look at the contradictions and ironies implied by the title, and the capsule biographical sketches of quite a few of the 2,000 Jewish men who served in the Confederate army and navy. Looking at the total Southern Jewish population of less than 25,000Abased mainly in the cities of Memphis, Nashville, Mobile and ShreveportARosen concludes that, contrary to the commonly held idea of "old" Jewish families being the mainstay of the contingent, the typical Jewish soldier was a recent immigrant who "enlisted to prove he was a man and a worthy citizen"Aalbeit a citizen sometimes subject to prejudices just as virulent as anti-black racism. In addition to tracking the exploits of many soldiers, Rosen also chronicles the trials and tribulations of Jewish civilians behind the lines and the growth of anti-Semitism as the war progressed. This groundbreaking study is liberally illustrated with photographs and maps, and is written clearly and energetically as a trade book, despite its academic stamp and thoroughness. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
A native of Charleston, SC, Rosen (Confederate Charleston: An Illustrated History of the Place and the People During the Civil War) uses his own background and experience to recount the lives of Southern Jews from the 1700s until well after the Civil War. Loyal Southerners, the Jews accepted living in a slaveholding society, and their young men flocked to enlist when war came. The author delves into the lives of a number of prominent individuals and families, among them two U.S. senators, Judah Philip Benjamin of Louisiana and David Levy Yulee of Florida. The experiences of many other enlisted men, officers, nurses, politicians, rabbis, doctors, and businessmen are also chronicled. Rosen also explains why so many Jews chose the South as their home and why they remained loyal to it, arguing that Southern society and the Confederate army and navy may have been more tolerant of Jews than the North. The glossary provides definitions of Judaic terms. Larger public and academic libraries should consider this readable book, as should all libraries with strong Judaic or military collections.DDavid Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Mr. Rosen, an attorney, is clear with his research. Anyone who might wonder why Jews would fight for the Confederacy, or Blacks for that matter, will find this fascinating. Jews from South Carolina, from Louisiana, many of German or Spanish (Sephardic) heritage, were there. I hope that more books, and personal accounts, will follow, from groups whose support for the rights of the States to determine their destinies will be forthcoming. We must learn from history.
Anyone who would hope to understand what it means to be an American should have this book on the shelf, and read it. To paraphrase Shelby Foote, before this war, the United States could only be conceived of as a plurality, after, a singularity. Yet today, we are no doubt in danger of falling into an abyss of pluralism that threatens any kind of national identity. Yet Irishmen fought one another--at Fredericksburg, and elsewhere--as did Jews, and Blacks, and Hispanics--across stone walls at point-blank range, leaving a legacy of maiming of soul and flesh. We have only to look back 3 score years to the bloodbath of Europe to see we are not yet free.
Jews fought for home and hearth, "Pro Aris et Pro Focis"--a common Latin phrase embroidered on flags North and South. In the American South, many Jews found that was worth fighting for against an invasion from afar. That experience unites them with us, today.
Most highly recommended for scholarship and readability!
Bob Rosen, has, indeed, imparted, and done it superbly. He gives us the story of all the major, and many of the minor, Jews who saluted the Stars and Bars. The two most prominant Jewish Confederates, Judah P. Benjamin, and Phoebe Yates Pember, were civilians, but many wore the gray uniform; Abraham Myers was the Quartermaster General, David DeLeon was the first Surgeon General [Rosen gives the bad with the good; Dr. DeLeon was a drunk, who was soon cashiered]. Major Adolph Proskauer led a charge at Gettysburg, and lived to tell it for many years. Ironically, the two highest ranking Jews killed in the war both fell at Vicksburg, and have monuments near each other. They were Colonels Leon Dawson Marks [Confederate] and Marcus H. Spiegel[Yankee]. Dr. Simon Baruch was a highly respected surgeon during, and after, the war; his son, Bernard, gained fame as a financier. Sgt. Moses Ezekiel was a VMI Cadet who fought at New Market, then was one of the finest sculptors on earth for many years. Many gave much in support; Mrs. Pember's sister, Eugenia Phillips, was a Spy who went to jail twice, and won the hearts of all Southerners by slapping Beast Butler. Rabbis Max Michaelbacher and George Jacobs were central figures in the Richmond religious community. There's even humor here; witness the "damn yankee Jew" asking a child in Norfolk for a piece of matzoah during The Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Interestingly, while the Yankees had around 10,000 Jews in uniform, and the South 2,000, it was the supposedly "racist" South that had Benjamin and Mrs. Pember. Only The Confederacy put Jews in leadership positions. Robert E. Lee and Jeff Davis strongly, and openly, supported the Jewish community, while Grant and Sherman were stark-raving anti-Semites.
This is not just a great book, it's an artistic masterpiece. Great illustrations, well presented. The maps of Richmond, Charleston, and New Orleans even show the modern Interstates as reference points; nice touch. Bob Rosen deserves all our thanks, even those of a goyim like me. Do not fail to read this book.
Most recent customer reviews
An excellent addition to the literature.Read more