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The second edition of this textbook constitutes a substantial revision designed to take advantage of recent scholarship in the field. Nine new pieces have been added, requiring me to delete seven excellent chapters from the earlier edition for which room could no longer be found.
Sarna, a preeminent scholar of American Judaism (he's affiliated with Brandeis University), chronicles events, personalities, and attitudes pertaining to Jews, as well as attitudes held by Jews themselves, in the United States over a period of 350 years. He weaves the history of a people present in the United States since early colonial daysmarginalized in many ways and always worried about survivalinto the context of America's political, social, and religious life. Relevant to non-Jewish as well as Jewish communities, the themes of evolving cultural and personal identities, assimilation, and revitalization are core in both American history and contemporary American life. This thoughtful and engaging work will attract a wide scholarly and lay audience. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
A riveting account of General Ulysses S. Grant's decision, in the middle of the Civil War, to order the expulsion of all Jews from the territory under his command, and the reverberations of that decision on Grant's political career, on the nascent American Jewish community, and on the American political process. On December 17, 1862, just weeks before Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, General Grant issued what remains the most notorious anti-Jewish order by a government official in American history. His attempt to eliminate black marketeers by targeting for expulsion all Jews "as a class" unleashed a firestorm of controversy that made newspaper headlines and terrified and enraged the approximately 150,000 Jews then living in the United States, who feared the importation of European antisemitism onto American soil. Although the order was quickly rescinded by a horrified Abraham Lincoln, the scandal came back to haunt Grant when he ran for president in 1868. Never before had Jews become an issue in a presidential contest, and never before had they been confronted so publicly with the question of how to balance their "American" and "Jewish" interests. Award-winning historian Jonathan D. Sarna gives us the first complete account of this little-known episode--including Grant's subsequent apology, his groundbreaking appointment of Jews to prominent positions in his administration, and his unprecedented visit to the land of Israel. Sarna sheds new light on one of our most enigmatic presidents, on the Jews of his day, and on the ongoing debate between group loyalty and national loyalty that continues to roil American political and social discourse.