- Paperback: 768 pages
- Publisher: NYU Press; 30 Anv edition (October 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814736858
- ISBN-13: 978-0814736852
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 2 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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World of Our Fathers: The Journey of the East European Jews to America and the Life They Found and Made 30 Anv Edition
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“World of Our Fathers is a book for Jew and non-Jew, for immigrants and native-born Americans. It is a book for all people.”
-Chicago Tribune Book World
“Irving Howe has written a great book . . . a marvelous narrative.”
-The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Irving Howe (1920-1993) played a pivotal role in American intellectual life for over five decades, from the 1940s to the 1990s. Best known for World of Our Fathers, Howe also won acclaim for his prodigious output of illuminating essays on American culture and as an indefatigable promoter of democratic socialism. He was the founding editor of Dissent, the journal he edited for nearly forty years.
Morris Dickstein is Distinguished Professor of English and Theatre and Senior Fellow of the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of several books, including Leopards in the Temple: The Transformation of American Fiction, 1945-1970.
Top customer reviews
I enjoyed this book. As a student of history (and particularly family history), I find WORLD OF OUR FATHERS to be an invaluable resource and an engrossing read to this day. People knowing of my interest in the subject matter have gifted me this book. I have at least three copies. Irving Howe not only sets forth a chronology of the Jewish immigrant experience, but he unpacks it, showing how different fault lines arose in the community over time in response to different stressors, both internal and external. For the immigrant experience, while broadly similar, was also profoundly individual. Some Jews were lost, not only to Judaism, but to normative existence itself. Some mocked the old ways, some locked onto them, and the great mass adapted them to the American milieu.
The Jewish immigrant experience had a wide-ranging impact on America as a whole, shaping our tastes in entertainment (Mel Brooks anyone? Or George Burns?), our gastronomy ("Toast or bagel?") and in many ways, our world outlook. The Founding Fathers looked to Americas to be a "new Jerusalem," but it wasn't until the mass Jewish immigration that its denizens could sing "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav." In some ways, the Jews coming to America were, in a unique sense, coming home.
My own family were relative latecomers. My grandmother passed through Ellis Island in 1922 after the Russian Revolution. I still recall her speaking of "Kessel Garden" which is how she pronounced (and what we thought the name was of) Castle Garden. My father came in 1947, a survivor of the Shoah. This means only that this book recounted what was literally "the world of my fathers." We did have other, earlier, relatives, some of whom figure prominently in this book.
Unlike other immigrant groups, America was a one-way transit for the Jews. The early immigrants had no desire to return to Tsarist Russia even for a visit. Later, the Soviet government and the United States government both slammed the door shut both ways, for different reasons. And then, in the 1940s, the Old Country vanished forever. There was not, and could never be, any returning to the killing fields of the Holocaust. This is in sharp contradistinction to Italian, German and Irish immigrants (for example) who could write home and occasionally visit or have visitors. Ultimately, those Jews who left Europe became The First Generation.
WORLD OF OUR FATHERS is a wonderful history, but it is also burningly timely as we watch the current debate on immigration, playing out at the dawn of the 21st Century the same cultural challenges and xenophobias that wracked America 100 years ago.
Let us not forget that the name "Cardozo" belongs to both immigrant groups, then and now.
I can read. The print is, especially to old eyes, absolutely minuscule. I am not Jewish, so all if it was a revelation to me, about a world I knew nothing of. Thankfully, it was recognized as the definitive book about the life if the Jewish immigrants who flooded into New York in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Beautifully written, fascinating and a riveting history that, with all its pages, is difficult to put down.
I bought a used hardcover copy, with the rather desperate idea that I could use some sort of magnifier to re-read it. Indn't think that's going to work out.
Why, oh why isn't this marvelous book available in an ebook? I am sure there are hundreds of thousands of people who would seize the opportunity to read this grand story f it were available to them digitally. It's, in my eyes at least, akin to not making Shakespeare or the Bible readily available to everyone.
I am getting a magnifier, the best I can afford, and giving the hard copy a shot. The prospects are bleak.
Most recent customer reviews
Howe starts in Eastern Europe and follows the immigrant path of a people and their difficulties...Read more