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My Future Is in America: Autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish Immigrants / Edition 1

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Overview

In 1942, YIVO held a contest for the best autobiography by a Jewish immigrant on the theme “Why I Left the Old Country and What I Have Accomplished in America.” Chosen from over two hundred entries, and translated from Yiddish, the nine life stories in My Future Is in America provide a compelling portrait of American Jewish life in the immigrant generation at the turn of the twentieth century.

The writers arrived in America in every decade from the 1890s to the 1920s. They include manual workers, shopkeepers, housewives, communal activists, and professionals who came from all parts of Eastern Europe and ushered in a new era in American Jewish history. In their own words, the immigrant writers convey the complexities of the transition between the Old and New Worlds.

An Introduction places the writings in historical and literary context, and annotations explain historical and cultural allusions made by the writers. This unique volume introduces readers to the complex world of Yiddish-speaking immigrants while at the same time elucidating important themes and topics of interest to those in immigration studies, ethnic studies, labor history, and literary studies.

Published in conjunction with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A treasure trove of Yiddish autobiographical gems available for the first time in English. These heartfelt and moving narratives reveal the rich, complex and multi-textured experience of the East European Jewish immigrant milieu. The masterful translations rendered by Cohen and Soyer capture the lyric, sophisticated and often times profound dimensions of the writers' contributions. To this considerable achievement, Cohen and Soyer add a valuable introductory essay and detailed notes that make the book accessible to students, researchers and thoughtful readers alike. This volume plugs a significant gap in the field of modern Jewish studies and belongs in every library collection, where it will update and complement classics like A Bintel Brief and World of Our Fathers.”
-Mark A. Raider,author of American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise and The Plough Woman: Records of the Pioneer Women of Palestine

“This unique volume introduces readers to the complex world of Yiddish-speaking immigrants while at the same time elucidating important themes and topics of interest to those in immigration studies, ethnic studies, labor history, and literary studies.”
-Shamash

,

“Cohen and Soyer have done a masterful job of collecting and translating these gripping immigrant narratives. A must read for anyone interested in immigration, American history, or the Jewish experience in America.”
-Beth S. Wenger,Katz Family Chair in American Jewish History, University of Pennsylvania

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814740194
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 342
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Jocelyn Cohen is a research associate of YIVO’s Max Weinreich Center for Advanced Jewish Studies in New York.

Daniel Soyer is associate professor of history at Fordham University. He is the author of Jewish Immigrant Associations and American Identity in New York, 1880-1939.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : Yiddish social science and Jewish immigrant autobiography 1
1 Success or failure? 18
2 Why I came to America 35
3 I have nothing to complain about 106
4 Why I left my old home and what I have accomplished in America 124
5 What drove me to America and my experiences in Europe and America 160
6 My future is in America 189
7 The movies pale in comparison 204
8 Why I left the old country and what I have accomplished in America 233
9 I haven't lost anything by coming to America 288
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2006

    I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN

    As a first generation American, I always wondered why and how my parents came to America. They passed away before imparting their stories. This book fills in all the gaps, in an interesting, heartwarming and exciting way. I could not put it down, and actually re read it... A MUST READ!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2006

    WHAT AN INTERESTING BOOK

    These stories would have been lost to us, had it not been for the translations into english. Kudos to the translators and editors for giving us this gem! I only wish the writers were still alive, to take a bow!..what an honor for them and for their children and grandchildren. There is poetry, history, psychology, religion...all wrapped up in exciting, enthralling and deeply felt stories. A WINNER!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    RIVETING AND INFORMATIVE

    This book answered a lot of questions I had about immigrants coming to America. My parents are included in this book and now I know all about them and how the others in this book came here. Could not put this book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2006

    My Future is in America: Autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish Immigrants

    I WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MY MOTHER AND FATHER'S EXPERIENCES IN EASTERN EUROPE AND THE OBSTACLES THEY FACED IN COMING TO AMERICA. I WANTED TO KNOW IF IT WAS 'WORTH ALL THAT'....well, I could not put the book down... laughing, crying... totally immersed! This was one of the most enjoyable and interesting books I have read...DO NOT MISS THE EXPERIENCE AND JOY!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2006

    My Future is in America: Autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish Immigrants

    GRIPPING IMMIGRANT NARRATIVES... A MUST READ FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN IMMIGRATION, AMERICAN HISTORY OR THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    AMERICA IS A LAND OF IMMIGRANTS

    MY GRANDPARENTS CAME FROM THE OLD COUNTRY, AND PASSED ON WITHOUT SHARING THEIR STORIES...NOW, WITH THIS BOOK I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY AND HOW THEY CAME TO AMERICA... it made me laugh, chuckle, sigh AND I read it straight through... very enjoyable and informative

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