What We're Reading Now

 

What We're Reading Now

What are the scholars who research and write about American Jewish history reading? We posed this question to a small group of scholars in the Spring of 2020.

“What We’re Reading Now” is just that—a list of books reflecting the moment. Some books appear more than once and plenty of excellent books don’t appear at all. In the future, we’ll update the list with new questions (about fiction, film, television, classics, and more). Take a look. Maybe you’ll find the next book to add to your list! If you would like to see our previous Essential Readings List Click Here

 

What’s a book you've read in the last year or so that preoccupies you--a book with ideas or an argument or a problem to which you find yourself returning?
  • Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity (2018)
  • Kirsten Fermaglich, A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America (2018)
  • David Koffman, The Jews’ Indian: Colonialism, Pluralism, and Belonging in America (2019)
  • Laura Leibman, The Art of the Jewish Family: A History of Women in Early New York in Five Objects (2020)
  • Susie Linfield, The Lion's Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt through Noam Chomsky (2019)
  • James Loeffler, Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (2018)
  • Michael Lowy, Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin's "On the Concept of History" (2016 [issued in French in 2001])
  • Sarah Stein, Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century (2019)
  • Shelley Tenenbaum, A Credit to Their Communities: Jewish Loan Societies in the United States, 1880-1945 (1993)

 

What book has influenced your teaching in the last few years? It can be a book you've assigned or one that has helped you substantially rethink the way you teach a topic or course.
  • Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity (2018)
  • David Biale, Cultures of the Jews: A New History (2002)
  • Kate Brown, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland (2005)
  • Hasia Diner, How America Met the Jews (2017)
  • Libby Garland, After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965 (2018)
  • Roger Horowitz, Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food (2016)
  • Laura Leibman, Messianism, Mysticism, and Secrecy: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life (2012)
  • James Loeffler, Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (2018)
  • Tony Michels, A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York (2009)
  • Shari Rabin, Jews on the Frontier: Religion and Mobility in Nineteenth-Century America (2017)
  • Moshe Rosman, How Jewish Is Jewish History? (2008)
  • David Sehat, The Myth of American Religious Freedom (2011)

 

How about a public-facing book—a book that has changed the nature of public discussion about an important issue related to American Jewish studies, or a book that has appealed to a broad audience and has real intellectual significance in your view?
  • Lillian Faderman, Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death (2018)
  • Kirsten Fermaglich, A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America (2018)
  • Charles King, Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century (2019)
  • Bradley Hart, Hitler's American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States (2018)
  • Laura Leibman, The Art of the Jewish Family: A History of Women in Early New York in Five Objects (2020)
  • Susie Linfield, The Lion's Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt through Noam Chomsky (2019)
  • Beryl Satter, Family Properties: How the Struggle over Race and Real Estate Transformed Chicago and Urban America (2010)
  • Jeffrey Shandler, Shtetl: A Vernacular Intellectual History (2014)
  • Sarah Stein, Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century (2019)

 

Reader's choice! Name one more book you find important for whatever reason.
  • Louis Adamic, Dynamite: The Story of Class Violence in America (1931)
  • Lila Corwin Berman, The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex: The History of a Multibillion-Dollar Institution (2020)
  • Jessica Cooperman, Making Judaism Safe for America: World War I and the Origins of Religious Pluralism (2018)
  • Libby Garland, After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965 (2018)
  • Norman Geras, The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust (1999)
  • Bruce Haynes, The Soul of Judaism: Jews of African Descent in America (2018)
  • Deborah Dash Moore, with Jeffrey Gurock, Annie Polland, Howard Rock, Daniel Soyer, and Diane Linden, Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a City and a People (2017)
  • Pamela S. Nadell, America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today (2019)
  • Riv-Ellen Prell, Fighting to Become Americans: Jews, Gender, and the Anxiety of Assimilation (1999)
  • Nora Rubel, Doubting the Devout: The Ultra-Orthodox in the Jewish American Imagination (2009)