Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
Jews and the Civil War: A Reader Hardcover – May 28, 2010
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“I predict that Jews and the Civil War: A Reader will very quickly become one of the definitive scholarly texts on the Jewish role in the Civil War. Any one of the seventeen articles could stand alone as a fascinating socio-cultural history of the period... Each article is assiduously researched and followed by detailed endnotes identifying the source of the information... I recommend this book to all readers who enjoy Jewish history. Many of the articles can easily serve as springboards for teachers of American and Jewish history who want to provide articles depicting the Civil War through memoirs, letters, diaries, rabbinical talks, and popular magazines as well as traditional historical sources.”-Jewish Book World
"The enlightening volume of Jews and the Civil War brings together invaluable and credible source material under one cover, enriching those who seek full account of the multifaceted Civil War whose ramifications and lessons are still with us today."- Jewish News
“An excellent volume which contains many of the most authoritative scholarly essays on American Jewry and the Civil War. The volume sheds historical light on a wide range of fascinating subjects including Jews and slavery, Jews and Abolition, Jews in the military, and much more. Readers will be especially grateful for the learned and insightful editorial introductions that serve as forewords to each of the thematic sections. All those interested in the Civil War will want to own a copy of this rich resource. It is truly a cornucopia of historical insight.”
-Gary P. Zola,,Professor of the American Jewish Experience at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio
“In gathering together these widely scattered essays, Sarna and Mendelsohn reveal that we know much more than we ever thought we did about Jews and this great conflict. Just as the Civil War divided Americans, it divided Jews. Civil War buffs, historians, and anyone interested in the cataclysm which rent the nation will embrace this marvelous collection depicting how one group of Americans experienced that terrible time.”
-Pamela S. Nadell,Inaugural Patrick Clendenen Professor of History, American University
“’The Jews thus became for Grant and his harassed officers a convenient symbol of all the frustrations and annoyances with which they were contending,’ Stephen Ash writes in an essay in New York University Press’ intriguing new anthology.”-America’s Civil War
About the Author
Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History. He has written, edited or co-edited more than twenty-five books, including American Judaism: A History, winner of the “Jewish Book of the Year” award from the Jewish Book Council.
Adam D. Mendelsohn is Director of the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research and Associate Professor of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. He is the co-editor of Jews and the Civil War: A Reader (NYU Press, 2010) and of Transnational Traditions: New Perspective on American Jewish History.
Top customer reviews
One of the most neglected aspects of the war is the role of immigrants in it. We have some vague notions of the Irish Brigade and the New York Draft Riots, but beyond Leo DiCaprio's role as an Irish thug in Gangs of New York, few of us can recall even pop cultural images of immigrants in Blue or Grey.
Jews and the Civil War is one of several new contributions to the subject of the immigrant experience during the war. And the Jews were overwhelmingly immigrants. Two-thirds of Jews in America in 1861 had been born abroad.
The study of Jews in this era only dates back sixty years. The publication of Rabbi Bertram W. Korn's scholarly study American Jewry and the Civil War in 1951 is the seminal work on the subject. This modern reader collects scholarship subsequent to Korn.
Before Korn, Jewish writing on the Civil War served contemporary community goals of showing that the Jews were "just like everyone else, only better". Jews were depicted as sharing the views of the Christian communities in which they lived. This writing was designed to counter anti-Semitic notions that Jews constitute a subversive Fifth Column within host societies. So, early writing depicted Jews in the South as good states' rights advocates, kind slave owners, reasonable secessionists, and brave Confederate soldiers whose uprightness was universally recognized by their neighbors.
Korn, and his successors, use the methods of modern history to portray the complex interactions of Jewish identity, limited English proficiency (most spoke German), and Judeophobia in the Christian community on individual Jews and Jewish communities.
Not all of the stories end the way pre-Korn writers would have wished. Some of the Jews whose lives are detailed here fit in so well in the broader society that they abandoned their Jewishness altogether and converted to Protestant Christianity. Others were among the Jews expelled from their homes by U.S. Grant during his Vicksburg campaign, because they were seen as an inherently untrustworthy element.
Over the next several years, I plan on blogging about the Immigrants' Civil War. I will avoid the temptation to only look at the heroic, enlightened, and noble immigrants, but also at the realities of social confusion in a society torn apart by war. This book is a great contribution to that research.
It is difficult for a modern America-born liberal-minded person to enter the shoes of recently arrived immigrants and minorities who faced prejudice. Keeping a low profile and adapting to the customs of the land was and is a means of survival and tolerance. In the 1860s, immigrant Jews were chiefly from Germany; their attitudes differed from those other Jews from central Europe who experienced pogroms and especially the liberal but failed 1848 revolutions. Thus, a developed sympathy for Southern positions and way of life among those Jews living below the Mason-Dixon line brought them into the Confederate army and political administration, while those in the North accepted the concept of a united America above all. Abolition played little role. Indeed, the literal Bible was cited to justify slavery by influential Northern rabbis. Some Jews were abolitionists, however, and Polish-born Ernestine Rose was a vigorous opponent of slavery and equally outspoken proponent of women's rights.
Among the wealth of information was the newspaper anti-Semitic propaganda based on "shoddy", first in reference to craftsmanship of clothing and armaments and later personified as Mr. Shoddy. I thought, as I read, of all the anti-Islamic cartoons that followed the attack on New York's twin towers. Indeed, the book offers parallels of all the belied minorities, including our own Native Americans and Japanese-Americans during WWII, who entered the military and served with distinction. This book is an important sociological text, and I learned much.