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Stars of David: Rock 'n' Roll's Jewish Stories Paperback – July 1, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Books such as Stars of David continue to illuminate Jewish contributions to the pop culture."--The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

Jewish life in the United States is too often told from an East
Coast perspective. Lone Stars of David presents a different panorama,
with narratives of Jews who ventured to Texas before the battle of the
Alamo, who fought for the Confederacy, who herded cattle up the
Chisholm Trail, who drilled for oil, and who forged Jewish communities
far from New York's Lower East Side. These essays also describe how
Texas Jews faced the Ku Klux Klan and how they respond today to
Christian fundamentalism.

This anthology examines the famous, with a close-up look at
Neiman-Marcus, the chain synonymous with remarkable luxuries. It
profiles Zale jewelers, founded by a young immigrant who grew into an
international business icon. Another essay opens a window to the Dell
Computer Corporation, with the story of Michael Dell, the college
dropout whose philanthropy changed the course of the Austin Jewish

Written by historians, journalists, and rabbis who have experienced
Texas firsthand, these essays challenge stereotypes. One chapter
discounts the impact of crypto-Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition
for the New World. Another defies conventional wisdom about southern
views toward Zionism. El Paso emerges as the unlikely home of a
Holocaust museum. The book's essay on Jews in Texas politics
analyzes the import of populist candidate Kinky Friedman and introduces
Marjorie Arsht, a grassroots organizer whose living room was the
setting for Republican George H. W. Bush's first foray into

The Jewish population of Texas totals 131,000, a mere 0.6 percent of
the state's residents, yet its impact has been widespread. This
anthology explores the resiliency, diversity, and adaptability of Jews
in the Lone Star State, a place with its own powerful sense of

From the Publisher

7x10 trim. 77 illus.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Brandeis; First Edition edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584653035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584653035
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting, at times spiritually moving book, although it is ill-served by its deceptive subtitle "Rock'n'Roll's Jewish Stories." This book is NOT an overview of Jews or the Jewish influence in rock or in popular music. Those expecting discussions of Alan Freed or the Chess Brothers will be disappointed. Instead this book features over 50 profiles (mainly interviews) with a wide variety of musicians, all of whom are Jewish by one definition or another, several of whom are rock n rollers only by the loosest definition. (Peter Yarrow?)
Among those profiled are Bob Dylan, Mike Bloomfield, Janis Ian, Kinky Friedman, Stan Lynch of the Heartbreakers, Max Weinberg, Barry Goldberg, Peter Himmelman and Johnny Clegg. With the exception of Dylan, living artists are interviewed. (Dylan fans will find little new here.)Interviews were conducted with family members of those who have passed on (Bloomfield, Marc Bolan, Randy California.)
Because the questions focus on spirituality and Jewish identity (or lack thereof) these interviews are not typical of what you'd read in the regular media. Many of the musicians' responses are passionate, heart-felt, thoughtful and often provocative. Because the criteria for inclusion was Jewish identity of some sort, rather than record sales, many fine musicians who do not receive the media attention they deserve are included. For me, it was worth the price of the book to read the moving interviews with the wonderful and under-appreciated Genya Ravan and Marcella Detroit/Marcy Levy.
What makes this book a 4 star rather than 5 star book is the somewhat arbitrary choice of profiles. There is no explanation given as to why certain Jewish artists are profiled and why others are barely mentioned or ignored.
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Format: Paperback
The author likely put a lot of time into writing this book and not really wanting to disparage his efforts and trying my best to be fair, I unfortunately would not recommend this book to anyone who is looking for anything other than a bit of fluff typical of a rock and roll fanzine. Almost every 3 to 5 page chapter follows an identical formula, example; the subject attended synagogue, didn't attend synagogue, Bubbe played music at home, Zayde worked as mattress maker, and all these rock & rollers always followed the golden rule of Judaism. Surely there must be more information, insight or dare I say original research available on these people being profiled? As my company's Editor-In-Chief often said, "news is a surprise", "tell me something I don't already know", which this book doesn't even attempt to do. Buy it if you must, put it in reading rack next to the Loo and enjoy yourself for the few pages you'll be able to tolerate everytime you need a short reading diversion.
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Format: Paperback
Always hard to select gift for people this age. This book is a wonderful read for that generation. One of my recipients begun reading the book while at my home and really found it entertaining and informative.
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