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Our Gang provides a fascinating historical portrait of the Jewish criminal world from the era of mass immigration through Prohibition and beyond. Jenna Weissman Joselit traces the origins, nature, patterns, location, and impact of Jewish crime from the early years, when it was inextricably bound up with the East Side community as a whole, with criminals living among the more or less law-abiding citizens they preyed upon, to the post-World War I period and the gradual assimilation and absorption of Jewish crime into the mainstream of the American underworld.
Parallel with this theme is a broader one: the New York Jewish community's reaction to Jewish crime, evolving from disbelief to denial to concern and the establishment of a network of correctional and preventive agencies, and finally—as the nature of Jewish crime changed, and as the community itself felt a growing sense of security—a sort of acceptance.
Indiana University Press
Posted September 17, 2013
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