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Lower East Side Memories


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction The Stirrings of Memory 3 Chapter One The Lower East Side and American Jewish Memory 17 Chapter Two The Texts of Memory: Representations of the Lower East Side Chapter Three The Wellsprings of Memory Notes 183 Index 211

Promotional Information

Hasia Diner has written a richly researched and deeply informed account of the distinctive role New York's Lower East Side holds in American Jewish memory. She knows what the Lower East Side was; her book goes further and tells us what it has become in memory and nostalgia. -- Nathan Glazer, Harvard University Lower East Side Memories is a powerfully explicated, imaginatively researched, sensitively elaborated, and spiritedly written work of historical scholarship. Few subjects have been so fortunate as to inspire the passion, dedication, imagination, excitement, and scholarly acumen and range that give this book such vibrancy and power. -- Moses Rischin, author of "The Promised City" In this pathbreaking book, Hasia Diner significantly advances the field of American Jewish history. Anyone interested in the history of American Jewry, in New York City, or in issues of historical memory will want to read it. -- Daniel Soyer, Fordham University

About the Author

Hasia R. Diner is the Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University. Her books include In the Almost Promised Land: American Jews and Blacks, 1915-1935; A Time for Gathering: The Second Migration, 1820-1880, and Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration.


"Diner, the inspired historian, has found her way to a particular intersection that no one else has located quite so precisely ... the exact place where cultural identity, historical myth and geographical location run together, in a tangle of traffic and honking horns, a strangely emotional place... "--Paul Berman, The New York Times Book Review "In this inventive and often startling reevaluation of popular belief, Diner examines the historical reality of the Lower East Side ... Diner's research and conclusions are both convincing and original."--Publishers Weekly "A nostalgic, affectionate, but also clear eyed account... "--Library Journal "... In articulate and convincing prose ... Diner illustrates how American Jews came to romanticize as a place of lost authenticity..."--Hope Edelman, The Chicago Tribune "This is both an enjoyable and important contribution to local and ethnic history."--Booklist "A provocative account of how the Lower East Side of New York became a mythical citation in the American Jewish narrative. Diner contends that the Lower East Side has played a far greater role in the collective memory of American Jews than it actually played in their lives... Admirably researched, this offers a perceptive revisionist analysis of American Jewry's most distinctive former address."--Kirkus Reviews "[An] engaging, informative book, which explores the role of this neighborhood in American Jewish culture ... Diner lovingly examines the poignant and powerful narrative that has grown up about the neighborhood."--Lev Raphael, The Jerusalem Report "A useful contribution of American Jewish history."--Morton I. Teicher, The Jerusalem Post "[A] beautifully written, handsomely illustrated, and powerfully argued book ... a unique and impressive contribution. It deserves to be read, pondered and debated."--Choice "The cumulative impact of Diner's pellucid prose, rich insights, and masterful control of variegated cultural, literary, and historical sources is invigorating indeed."--Benny Kraut, American Historical Review "A highly readable book... The intelligent perspective of a person steeped in American Jewish history informs the work."--Elisabeth Israels Perry, The Journal of American History

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