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Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America

Michael E. Staub

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Paper, 392 pages, 38 illus
ISBN: 978-0-231-12375-4
$30.00 / £20.50

July, 2002
Cloth, 392 pages, 38 illus
ISBN: 978-0-231-12374-7
$90.00 / £62.00

"Staub explores divisions within Jewish liberalism during the Sixties and into the Seventies, showing that Jews have long differed in their stances on key political issues. . . recommended." — Library Journal

"Torn at the Roots contributes significantly to our understanding of what Jewish identity meant to different groups of American Jews, those marching on the left, sitting in the establishment's center, and leaning towards the conservative right in the decades after the Holocaust." — Pamela S. Nadell, History

"Jewish liberalism and its history is a familiar subject, but this book by Michael Staub offers a great deal of new insight and information; indeed, it is arguably the best treatment of the rightward drift of the Jewish mainstream from the late 1940s to the early 1970s." — Tikkun Magazine

"[Staub] challenges commonly held notions regarding the purported liberalism of US Jewry while underscoring the growing importance of spirituality for left-of-center Jews. . . This is an important work. . . highly recommended." — Choice

"Masterful. . . A vibrant history of the liberal quest for improving the world, a history relevant for the present and future, and one which deserves wide reading and discussion." — American Jewish History

"Staub's work is important precisely because it records the history of competing visions of Jewishness." — Marjorie N. Feld, The Minnesota Review

"Staub's carefully researched and cogently argued book explores the evolution and complex dimensions of Jewish politics, calling into question many widely-held assumptions about Jewish liberalism. . . . [Torn at the Roots] offer[s] new insights into the dimensions of Jewish culture in postwar America." — Beth Wenger, Jewish Quarterly Review

"[T]hrough Staub's book we have a much clearer and better appreciation for the depths of the intra-Jewish, internecine struggles that took place within the American Jewish community from the end of World War II until the end of the war in Vietnam. Torn at the Roots paints a sobering picture of a Jewish community torn by ideological conflict." — Abraham J. Peck, Journal of American History

"Another welcome addition to the already large literature on the suprisingly tenacious adherence of Jews to liberalism." — Nathan Abrams, Journal of American Studies

"Torn at the Roots will force important and powerful historiographic changes. It is a rich, well-researched, and intricate study." — Marc Dollinger, Journal of American Ethnic History

"a vibrant history of the liberal quest for improving the world" — Gad Nahshon, Jewish Post of New York

"A window into just how complex the conservative - liberal split has been in the American Jewish community... It adds an important chapter to the story of what the American Jewish community is really like." — Peter J. Haas, JAAR

"Thoughtful, well-written and well-researched, this volume should be must reading for anyone seeking to understand what American Jews have been fighting about since the 1950s." — Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University

"In this stunning book . . . Staub recovers the epic struggles for the soul of American Jewry--its liberal vision of a better world--and reclaims a vital history for a new century. Anyone who wants to understand American politics and religion, and American Jews today, should read this book." — Deborah Dash Moore, Vassar College

"In this wonderfully readable and compelling history, Michael Staub traces American Jewish political engagements from the early cold war through the sexual revolution, from Montgomery to Jerusalem. " — Michael Rogin, University of California, Berkeley

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About the Author

Michael E. Staub teaches English and American Studies at Bowling Green State University. He is the author of Voices of Persuasion: Politics of Representation in 1930s America. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI.

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