Recent Books on American Jewish History

Bibliography compiled by Gabor Por for the Contemporary Jewish Writing Class at Congregation Beth Ami in April-May 2015

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2013 and 2014 National Jewish Book Award Winners and Finalists:

  • After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965 by Libby Garland (University Of Chicago Press, 2014) 312 pages
    Jews, one of the main targets of the quota laws, figured prominently in the new international underworld of illegal immigration. However, they ultimately managed to escape permanent association with the identity of the “illegal alien” in a way that other groups, such as Mexicans, thus far, have not.
  • FDR and the Jews by Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman (Belknap, 2014) 464 pages, , SCL*
    Finds that the president was neither savior nor bystander. The authors draw upon many new primary sources to offer an intriguing portrait of a consummate politician-compassionate.
  • Louis Marshall and the Rise of Jewish Ethnicity in America by M. M. Silver (Syracuse University Press, 2013) 616 pages
    A tireless advocate for and leader of an array of notable American Jewish organizations and institutions, Marshall also spearheaded civil rights campaigns for other ethnic groups, blazing the trail for the NAACP
  • The Rag Race: How Jews Sewed Their Way to Success in America and the British Empire by Adam Mendelsohn (NYU Press, 2014) 320 pages
    Argues that the Jews who flocked to the United States during the age of mass migration were aided appreciably by their association with a particular corner of the American economy: the rag trade.
  • Theatrical Liberalism: Jews and Popular Entertainment in America by Andrea Most (NYU Press, 2013)  304 pages
    Illustrates how American Jews used the theatre and other media to navigate their encounters with modern culture, politics, religion, and identity. Offering a comprehensive history of the role of Judaism in the creation of American entertainment.

More Recent Books

* Books marked with SCL are available at the Sonoma County Library

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