White Ethnic New York: Jews, Catholics, and the Shaping of Postwar Politics
Historians of postwar American politics often identify race as a driving force in the dynamically shifting political culture. Joshua Zeitz instead places religion and ethnicity at the fore, arguing that ethnic conflict among Irish Catholics, Italian Catholics, and Jews in New York City had a huge impact on the shape of liberal politics. With significantly diverging views on authority and dissent, community and individuality, secularism and spirituality, and obligation and entitlement, the liberal coalition of the Roosevelt era fractured, as Catholics bolted a Democratic party increasingly focused on individual liberties, and the dissent-minded Jews moved on to the anti-liberal New Left.
Praise for White Ethnic New York
"An ambitious book. . . . This book joins the growing literature on whiteness studies, but emphasizes, unlike so many others, the primacy of religious difference in shaping ethnicity. That is a significant contribution."
—The Journal of Religion
"A valuable contribution to the study of the ethnic and religious experience in New York."
—Catholic Historical Review
"Does a fine job of weaving personal stories with larger doctrinal ideologies and popular narratives. A useful corrective to the overly simple postwar story of ethnic pluralism."
—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"A complex yet intriguing story. . . . Almost every critical reader will be surprised."
— Journal of American Ethnic History
"A valuable and provocative exploration. . . . Offers us a perspective into the postwar era that is complex and fresh."
"An interesting and, at times, trenchant account of ethnic relations after the war."
— The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"A fascinating account. . . . Supported by the rich material [Zeitz] has so ably presented. . . . The general reader will be fully rewarded."
—National Jewish Post and Opinion
"[A] fascinating book."
—Catholic News Service
"A richly textured analysis of ethnicity, religion, and class. . . . Essential reading for Catholic historians and for anyone interested in understanding late twentieth-century urbanization."
—American Catholic Studies
"Valuable for students of ethnic politics."
—Journal of American History
"White Ethnic New York is a must read for all scholars of the history of post-World-War II American politics, law, and culture."
—William E. Nelson, Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law, New York University.