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Antisemitism in America - Leonard Dinnerstein

Antisemitism in America

Paperback Published: 2nd November 1995
ISBN: 9780195101126
Number Of Pages: 400

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Is antisemitism on the rise in America? Did the "hymietown" comment by Jesse Jackson and the Crown Heights riot signal a resurgence of antisemitism among blacks? The surprising answer to both questions, according to Leonard Dinnerstein, is no--Jews have never been more at home in America. But what we are seeing today, he writes, are the well-publicized results of a long tradition of prejudice, suspicion, and hatred against Jews--the direct product of the Christian teachings underlying so much of America's national heritage.
In Antisemitism in America, Leonard Dinnerstein provides a landmark work--the first comprehensive history of prejudice against Jews in the United States, from colonial times to the present. His richly documented book traces American antisemitism from its roots in the dawn of the Christian era and arrival of the first European settlers, to its peak during World War II and its present day permutations--with separate chapters on antisemititsm in the South and among African-Americans, showing that prejudice among both whites and blacks flowed from the same stream of Southern evangelical Christianity. He shows, for example, that non-Christians were excluded from voting (in Rhode Island until 1842, North Carolina until 1868, and in New Hampshire until 1877), and demonstrates how the Civil War brought a new wave of antisemitism as both sides assumed that Jews supported with the enemy. We see how the decades that followed marked the emergence of a full-fledged antisemitic society, as Christian Americans excluded Jews from their social circles, and how antisemetic fervor climbed higher after the turn of the century, accelerated by eugenicists, fear of Bolshevism, the publications of Henry Ford, and the Depression. Dinnerstein goes on to explain that just before our entry into World War II, antisemitism reached a climax, as Father Coughlin attacked Jews over the airwaves (with the support of much of the Catholic clergy) and Charles Lindbergh delivered an openly antisemitic speech to an isolationist meeting. After the war, Dinnerstein tells us, with fresh economic opportunities and increased activities by civil rights advocates, antisemititsm went into sharp decline--though it frequently appeared in shockingly high places, including statements by Nixon and his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"It must also be emphasized," Dinnerstein writes, "that in no Christian country has antisemitism been weaker than it has been in the United States," with its traditions of tolerance, diversity, and a secular national government. This book, however, reveals in disturbing detail the resilience, and vehemence, of this ugly prejudice. Penetrating, authoritative, and frequently alarming, this is the definitive account of a plague that refuses to go away.

"Will stand for a long time as the definitive treatment of its topic."--Jack Wertheimer, Commentary "The most comprehensive and up-to-date history of American anti-Semitism....Concise, highly readable....A major contribution."--Philip Perlmutter, The Boston Globe "No other historian of the subject has done anything approaching this monumental, narrative synthesis of previous scholarship in many different disciplines, melded with original research in impressive depth. The variety of sources the author draws upon, and the engrossing detail he has extracted from them, continually surprised and impressed me. The treatment of complex events is nicely rounded and generally nuanced....A major work of scholarship."--John Higham, author of Send These to Me: Immigrants in Urban America "Antisemitism in America" would be a valuable addition to most church libraries, because of its factual handling of a persistent tendency toward antisemitism in mainstream Christian culture."--Church and Synagogue Libraries "Informative."--Perspectives on Political Science "Dinnerstein has produced a genuinely definitive history and one which is readable and consistently interesting."--Journal of American Ethnic History "[C]ertainly a richly sourced, incisively written book....It is a remarkable accomplishment, a survey and sensitive analysis wrapped in an accessible package."--KLIATT "The author shows how war and economic crises have often caused Jews to be cast as scapegoats, while evangelical Christianity has portrated them as enemies."--The New York Times Book Review New & Noteworthy Paperback, January 14, 1996 "Dinnerstein's volume, it is safe to say, will stand for a long time as the definitive treatment of its topic. Among its many virtues is a willingness to take note of episodes not just of heightened but of declining animosity toward Jews in the United States."--Jack Wertheimer, Commentary "[Dinnerstein] doesn't pull any punches about the forces in and outside churches who keep the theme of Jewish villainy alive....a challenging book that deserves attention."--The New York Times "As a record of one of the country's dirty secrets, Antisemitism in America has real value."--Chicago Tribune "No other historian of the subject has done anything approaching this monumental, narrative synthesis of previous scholarship in many different disciplines, melded with original research in impressive depth. The variety of sources the author draws upon, and the engrossing detail he has extracted from them, continually surprised and impressed me. The treatment of complex events is nicely rounded and generally nuanced....A major work of scholarship."--John Higham, author of Send These to Me: Immigrants in Urban America "Antisemitism in America is a tour de force--comprehensive, thoughtful, and highly readable. Dinnerstein's is a well-documented narrative and cogent analysis of antisemitism in America, from its roots in European Christianity to the present day. Dinnerstein resists the easy temptations prevalent in other studies of antisemitism. Instead, he portrays American antisemitism in its complex and nuanced history in the context of a keen understanding of American democratic pluralism."--Jerome A Chanes, National Affairs Director, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council "In an enlightening history of anti-Semitism in the U.S. Dinnerstein argues that deeply ingrained hostility towards Jews embedded in Christian teachings is the mainspring of this prejudice....Offers an illuminating analysis of black anti-Semitism since WW II, tracing its roots in many instances to Protestant theology."--Publishers Weekly "The most comprehensive and up-to-date history of American anti-Semitism....concise, highly readable....The book's overall strength lies in its vivid delineation of the full anguish and horror of anti-Semitism in the United States. It is an invaluable source on the emotional, behavioral, theological, legal and institutional forms of anti-Semitism in the United States....a major contribution to understanding Jewish--and minority-group--life in the United States."--Philip Perlmutter, The Boston Globe "Dinnerstein presents a landmark history of anti-Semitism in America in a fine, readable manner."--Library Journal

ISBN: 9780195101126
ISBN-10: 019510112X
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 2nd November 1995
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.17 x 15.19  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.56