New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise (Yale Historical Publications) Hardcover – 2 Jan 1997
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About the Author
Beth S. Wenger is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she currently serves as Chair of the History Department. Her award-winning books include The Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America and New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I did find out, but had to find it out in Wikipedia. I found out that it was a series of economic packages that Roosevelt brought in his presidency. However, Wenger assumed that everyone knew what it was, or more to the point that anyone who reads this book was American. The UK had left the Gold Standard so wasn't so much affected in such a way by the US. As a Brit, I was none the wiser. I went to the book's index and had to check to see if I had indeed missed anything. There was the odd mention about Roosevelt and his 'political program', but it was still not strong enough to make the link to the New Deal. Other index references on the New Deal mentioned how it affected the Jewish population, charities and Jewish philanthropy. It didn't mention how New Deal came to be.
I found this really annoying, especially when I found the book to be well researched with the facts and figures in the appendix.
Apart from that, it was a good book and I would have no hesitation in re-reading this, or reading any other works by Wenger. T'was quite a good read, but maybe she should get a non-American to proof read it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. The hardship that the Great Depression caused for synagogues and other Jewish institutions; I have always taken the financial stability of Jewish institutions for granted, but evidently Jews in the 1930s did not have this luxury.
2. That concerns over assimilation are nothing new. In 1929, almost 80% of NYC Jewish children received no religious training or Hebrew instruction (p. 184).
3. Where Jews lived (see p. 82 for table). I had always known that some once-Jewish neighborhoods have lost most of their Jewish population (mostly notably in the Bronx). But I did not know about similarities between then and now: for example, the Upper West Side, then as now, was heavily Jewish- and ditto for Borough Park (though the latter area was less homogenously Orthodox in the 30s than today). Other areas were virtually Jew-free in the 30s (Greenwich Village, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights) and may actually be more Jewish today, as gentrification has brought in Jewish professionals. Similarly, the Jewish presence in Queens was minimal in the 30s, but is far larger today- I was astonished to learn, for instance, that Forest Hills was less than 10% Jewish in 1932.
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