"Kirsten Fermaglich's highly suggestive American Dreams and Nazi Nightmares offers a spirited plea for us to reassess the multiple and often ambiguous meanings of secular Jewish identity. Her defense of secular American Jewishness is as well a rebuke to more static ideas about Jewishness that measure identification strictly in terms of ritual observance or temple membership. As Fermaglich demonstrates, secular Jews at the turn of the 1960s championed universal values and liberal causes in a fashion completely consonant with their Jewish identities even while they often neglected (or hesitated) to name Jewishness as a motivation for their actions. As Fermaglich illustrates in a quartet of case studies, the content of secular Jewish self-understanding for these individuals was anything but static. It often could--and did--change dramatically over time. "Shofar
"American Dreams and Nazi Nightmares is a well-written, fully documented study of how Holocaust consciousness came to America."
Journal of American History
"Fermaglich (Michigan State Univ.) ably presents complex issues surrounding the emergence of the Holocaust in US culture as a unique and significant series of events separate from WW II. She invokes the role of Jewish intellectuals coming to terms with their own marginalization in US life, seeking to find a voice and role as social analysts . . . Fermaglich asks readers to consider if the fears of widespread compliance and emergence of the "total state" remain reasonable, or simply a product of the early 1960s. Summing Up: Recommended."Choice