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The Temple Bombing Paperback – 3 Apr 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (3 April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099500418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099500414
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 3.1 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,397,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Melissa Fay Greene is an award-winning author and journalist whose writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, the Chicago Tribune, and Newsweek. She is also the author of Last Man Out: The Story of the Springhill Mine Disaster and the forthcoming There Is No Me Without You (Bloomsbury Press). She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Oct. 1996
Format: Hardcover
In her tantalizing, conversational style, Melissa Faye Greene manages to bring to life one of the most painful episodes in the history of both race relations and American Judaism. Impeccably researched, Ms. Greene manages to get inside the mindset of Atlanta in the 1950's: its German Jewish community, its black community, the white power structure and the poor white society that historians largely ignore.
Fortunately, Ms. Greene pays attention to the tentative steps towards civil rights taken by Atlanta's Jewish community -- and especially by its titular head, Rabbi Jacob Rothschild. For Rabbi Rothschild, and for many Reform Jewish Rabbis of his generation, social activism in the form of civil rights was modern-day equivalent of prophetic Judaism. And it was because of his activism that a group of white supremicists bombed the Temple, inflicting far more psychological and spiritual harm on the Jewish community of Atlanta than they did physical damage.
All in all, Melissa Faye Greene brings her outstanding literary and research talents to bear on a formative event in the civil rights movement, an event that needed exploration and elucidation, and now an event whose definitive story has at last been put to paper.
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By A Customer on 22 Aug. 1997
Format: Hardcover
I didnt think i would want to read an entire book about an incident that happened in atlanta years ago and was not even one of the great watershed moments of the civil rights era. but this work goes to show that even a so-called little story in the hands of a skiled writer can become a large story about america and how we live. It is a cliche found in too many reviews, but in this case it is true: Greene tells a story with the skills of a great novelist and without realizing it we are being told an awful lot of very important history and information here. This books says so much about america and particularly the relationship betweens blacks and jews that it is a truly remarkable and valuable piece of work. its the kind of book you wish you could write and would recommend to friends of all persuasions.
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By A Customer on 10 Nov. 1996
Format: Hardcover
When non-fiction is as compelling as a fast-read novel, and the use of language serves to provide insight,compassion,thoughtfulness and sheer elegance, you've got a winner.
This book was recommended to me 6 months ago, but I dallied, because it was non-fiction. I bumped into it at the library, started to read it, and couldn't believe the beauty of the language, how remarkably pictures are painted with insight,compassion and perspective. This book is so good that I bought it after I read the library copy so that I could lend it to friends and relatives! And to think I thought that beautiful writing was a lost art!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is an excellent book about race relations 25 Oct. 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In her tantalizing, conversational style, Melissa Faye Greene manages to bring to life one of the most painful episodes in the history of both race relations and American Judaism. Impeccably researched, Ms. Greene manages to get inside the mindset of Atlanta in the 1950's: its German Jewish community, its black community, the white power structure and the poor white society that historians largely ignore.
Fortunately, Ms. Greene pays attention to the tentative steps towards civil rights taken by Atlanta's Jewish community -- and especially by its titular head, Rabbi Jacob Rothschild. For Rabbi Rothschild, and for many Reform Jewish Rabbis of his generation, social activism in the form of civil rights was modern-day equivalent of prophetic Judaism. And it was because of his activism that a group of white supremicists bombed the Temple, inflicting far more psychological and spiritual harm on the Jewish community of Atlanta than they did physical damage.
All in all, Melissa Faye Greene brings her outstanding literary and research talents to bear on a formative event in the civil rights movement, an event that needed exploration and elucidation, and now an event whose definitive story has at last been put to paper.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
a great surprise 22 Aug. 1997
By Gary Delsohn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I didnt think i would want to read an entire book about an incident that happened in atlanta years ago and was not even one of the great watershed moments of the civil rights era. but this work goes to show that even a so-called little story in the hands of a skiled writer can become a large story about america and how we live. It is a cliche found in too many reviews, but in this case it is true: Greene tells a story with the skills of a great novelist and without realizing it we are being told an awful lot of very important history and information here. This books says so much about america and particularly the relationship betweens blacks and jews that it is a truly remarkable and valuable piece of work. its the kind of book you wish you could write and would recommend to friends of all persuasions
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Reprinting of a Story Worth Retelling 18 Nov. 2006
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In 1954 the Supreme Court acted where Congress was afraid and began the process of integrating the races in the United States. It was clearly an idea whose time had come, as proven by the legislation that was passed in the years following the basic decision.

But before that could happen there had to be a spate of violence against the decision. This book describes the bombing of the Temple in Atlanta on Sunday Morning, October 12, 1958. While a horrific incident in its own right, this has not lasted as one of the major icons of the civil rights struggle.

In the hands of Mellissa Fay Green, the incident is the starting point of this book which is a report on the early days of the resistance to the struggle. Her book reads almost like it is a crime novel. It's well written, the characters are developed so that you understand them - not necessarily like them, but understand them.

Recently reprinted this is a book telling a story that is worth understanding today as much as it was back then.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good Book, Wrong Title 17 Jan. 2008
By charles murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be good background reading regarding the history of Atlanta's passage through some of the important events in the civil rights turmoil of the 1950s and 1960s. However, it's not really the story of the temple bombing on October 12th, 1958. I think a better title for the book would be "A Biography of Rabbi Jack Rothschild." Rothschild was rabbi of The Temple for 28 years, including the time of the bombing. The book tracks his entire life, starting with the details of his childhood in Pittsburgh, through the story of his army service, the whole history of his leadership of The Temple, and the details of his death and funeral service. He had a great career with many important achievements, and this book describes all of them.
Rothschild was in the vanguard of those working for civil rights reform in the 1950s, and his social activism may well have led to the bombing of The Temple. However, if the goal were really to write a book focusing on the bombing of The Temple, including events leading to the event itself and the trials of the alleged bombers, it would be a very different (and shorter) book. A book truly about the temple bombing would have included a lot less biographical material about Jack Rothschild and more about other bombings and possible perpetrators of the bombing of The Temple.

It's a good book, particularly for those interested in Jack Rothschild's life, and I'm glad I read it. For those of us who were not firsthand witnesses of the overturning of legal segregation in the South, the book provides a rich and detailed timeline of some of the key events of the times. I do think a good editor could have cut the length of the book by a third, which would have given the book more impact in fewer pages.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Another wonderful microcosm of the Civil Rights from MFG 2 Jun. 2004
By H. Huggins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With "The Temple Bombing," Melissa Fay Greene surpasses the accomplishment of "Praying for Sheetrock." Much like that book, "The Temple Bombing" is a microcosm of the Civil Rights Movement. It is the story of the 1958 bombing of the Temple in Atlanta, a synagogue for Reform Jews. Rabbi Rothschild led the Temple during turbulent years in the South, and was an outspoken advocate for the equal rights of Black Americans; furthermore, he believed it was the responsibility of the Jewish people to stand up for these rights. Greene holds that it is this advocacy, combined with anti-semitism, that leads to the Temple becoming a victim of the synagogue bombings that were widespread in the 1950s South.
The story of the bombing itself is compelling and reads like a true crime book. It begins with the emergence of Nazi-like groups in the South, moves to the bombing and search for clues, and ends with a tense courtroom scene. I simply could not put this book down.
But this is more than just the story of the Temple bombing. Greene also tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement, and how in Atlanta it was in a very real way propelled and sustained by the example of Rabbi Rothschild. Atlanta has a unique history of integration as it touted itself as "the city too busy to hate". In other words, if integration was good PR, then Atlanta was going to do it. Hence, the public outcry and huge support for Atlanta's Jewish community after the bombing, and the (relatively) peaceful integration of the Magnolia room and other Atlanta landmarks.
Interspersed with this story are fascinating sidetrips. The best of these are related to Dr. King; we get to see his Nobel prize celebration, his dinner at Rabbi Rothschild's home that is hidden from the Rabbi's neighbors for fear of ridicule, and finally his funeral.
This book grabs onto the reader and doesn't let go. It is compelling and important history; so much so, that one is willing to forgive Greene for making Rothschild more of a god than a man.
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