Crossing Lines: Three Portraits of the Jewish-Gentile Experience

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Crossing Lines provides a sharply etched portrait of the Protestant establishment and Jewish immigrants in three communities. Bangor, Mount Desert Island and Calais are all in Maine. But over the past century these particular instances of accommodation and assimilation strongly represent what occurred in small cities, small towns and exclusive resorts throughout America. This highly unusual and perceptive narrative brings together Yankee lumber barons and Jewish peddlers, Wall Street financiers and Main Street ...
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1992 Hard cover First edition. STATED 1ST EDITION, 1ST PRINTING New in new dust jacket. BRIGHT SHINY, BRAND NEW Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 320 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Crossing Lines provides a sharply etched portrait of the Protestant establishment and Jewish immigrants in three communities. Bangor, Mount Desert Island and Calais are all in Maine. But over the past century these particular instances of accommodation and assimilation strongly represent what occurred in small cities, small towns and exclusive resorts throughout America. This highly unusual and perceptive narrative brings together Yankee lumber barons and Jewish peddlers, Wall Street financiers and Main Street clothing merchants, local and national elites, and immigrants from Germany and Russia. Some of the personalities who are present in this book--John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Jacob H. Schiff, Charles W. Eliot and Henry Morgenthau, Sr.--maintain strong national reputations many years after their deaths. Others--Dr. Lawrence Cutler, and Sara and Arthur Unobskey--achieved distinction on a purely local scale. Patterns of acceptance varied from place to place. Calais was the most tolerant toward the Jews; yet, in Bangor and Mount Desert Island, rejection of the Jews, fueled by anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic attitudes, eventually gave way to acceptance and economic mobility. Shared by all three, however, was a deep respect for American-style success: wealth, civic pride, residential and commercial development, proud reputations and confidence about the future. Although Jewish immigrants in Bangor, Mount Desert Island and Calais differed in their numbers, cohesiveness and inclination to build Jewish institutions, they were similar in their patterns of development. The first immigrants were peddlers, the more successful of them eventually establishing clothing and dry-goods stores. They scrimped and saved to bring their families from Russia and poured their hopes into their children, who rose through the public education system into the middle class. As the immigrants and their children reached out to be part of American life, their eastern-European religious and cult
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This popularly written and lovingly researched study of Jewish-Gentile relations in three Maine communities--Bangor, Mount Desert Island, and Calais--sheds light on Jewish life outside the major centers of American Jewish life, and highlights the theme of diversity, since Jewish-Gentile relations in the three communities could scarcely have been more different. Goldstein successfully conveys the feel of life in these communities, and her data on ethnic interactions and prejudice in each locale add much to our knowledge. But she shies away from the generalizations and conceptual insights that might have added broader significance to this work, and ignores available hypotheses and comparable data from other communities that might have given the book greater depth. Still, this should be of substantial interest to anyone interested in Maine, and especially its Jews.-- Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis Univ., Waltham, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688080235
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 320

Table of Contents

Foreword 13
I Bangor 17
1 City Tides 19
2 The Wanderers 40
3 A Humble Niche 56
4 Converging Worlds 72
5 Passage Between the Wars 97
6 Sore Problems of Social Prejudice 116
7 Breaking Through 131
II Mount Desert Island 149
8 A Summer Empire 151
9 Visionaries 170
10 The Highest Christian Circles 197
11 A National Possession 212
III Calais 229
12 Claiming Their Place 231
13 New Traditions 251
Epilogue 271
Endnotes 277
Bibliography 301
Index 313
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