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4.1 out of 5 stars20
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 19 May 2013
... Jewball is a most unusual piece of fiction. Apparently based on real-life characters, it follows the exploits of an all-Jewish basketball team in 1930s America, focussing on its streetwise star player Inky Lautman. The travelling team encounters all manner of perils, not least the rabble of American Nazis known as the Bund, but somehow wins through. Neal Pollack is a natural-born writer, and this book is a fast, easy read - which is not to say that it doesn't have something to say about race, prejudice and rightwing politics. By the way, you don't have to be Jewish or understand basketball to enjoy Jewball. Highly recommended.
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on 28 May 2013
Awash with self-deprecating Jewish humour, this is a screwball of a novel. The characters leap from the page and their period in American history to grab you by the throat. The grip veers between tender and vicious, funny and sad. I found his depiction of a sports mad, brutal Jewish diaspora both illuminating and entertaining. Okay, the Nazis were a little stereotypical but have you ever heard of one that wasn't?
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on 26 September 2013
Neal Pollack's Jewball is -amazingly - based on real characters and events. But the story might appeal to anyone with a love of chicken soup and basketball.

It seems that American Jews had a lot more to do with popularising basketball than I ever imagined, and they had 'skin in the game.' The SPHA team (South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) were pre-NBA stars of the Twenties and Thirties and are the pre-cursors to the Philadelphia Warriors. In this zany story, they play the Aryans, a team put together by the German American Bund, sort of a Joe Louis-Max Schmeling contest. The focus is on a real player, Inky Trautman, a rough and tumble hero, who plays like a demon, fights like a boxer and has the moral compass of an escaped lunatic.

This is yet another example of gonzo Jewish comedy writing, not unlike Michael Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union or Shalom Auslander's Hope: A Tragedy. It seems aimed directly at Jews, but I think it is funny enough to entrap a few Gentiles ready for a deep dip in Marx Brother's type schmaltz.

Fun, light, and out of it's mind kampf.
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on 23 November 2013
The story kept up a cracking pace right through the book, and gives an insight to how those Jewish people not personally involved in the Holocaust were thinking. Don' t be put off by the fact that baseball runs through the story, you don't need to be a fan, or even know anything about the game, to really get involved in this story, and thoroughly enjoy it. In some places I found it quite frightening and in many places I found it very funny.....but for me the "icing on the cake" was the prologue, when I read that the whole book was based on real people and events in America at the time that the story was set.
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on 6 January 2014
I really did enjoy this book,despite the fact it is written for the US reader who is conversant with basketball terms and who happens to be Jewish. The humour is universal, the characters are almost believable and the book has that certain quality commonly described as "Not put downable".

OK, people are beaten up, some are even killed but none of this matters as it's all written in fun and there are few, if any, tragedies.

I recommend reading 'Jewball' on a day when you need some kind of uplift as it really relieves the gloom
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VINE VOICEon 2 April 2014
Not sure how to describe this one. It is a very odd story, which I believe is based on a number of true events, but heavily fictionalised. In essence it is about a Jewish Basketball team in the USA at the onset of the second world war, but to say more would be a spoiler. Stylewise it is a little weak, the story is odd, but believable, mostly and the characters are well drawn. I notice that the word odd has already appeared twice, so the bottom line is if you like odd, sports, wartime Jewish stories, this is just for you!
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on 31 October 2013
This was "recommended" by Amazon after I read a book on concentration camps. Ultimately I found it to be very refreshing. I've read so much on how the Jews were survivors but this book shows another perspective of Jews as fighters. I loved the characters and they are very 'real' in the way the author describes them. Would recommend to anyone who, like me likes to give any book a go.
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on 13 March 2014
I bought this book thinking it would be a story of a jewish community.It turned out to be about baseball and I didn't understand all the rules and regulation and I have no interest in the subject and American .
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on 19 May 2013
Very fast moving story would make a good movie. Apart from an insight into the game of basketball its a wonder USA ever came into WW11 with all the nazis allready living there.
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on 10 January 2014
Very good book interesting hard to put down shows what they had to put up with even in America and how basketball at the start wasn't a no contact sport
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