The Peddler's Grandson: Growing up Jewish in Mississippi

Overview

Edward Cohen was among the tiny minority of Jews in Jackson, Mississippi, the heart of the Bible Belt. As a child, he grew up singing "Dixie" in his segregated school and saying sh'ma in synagogue. And in his powerful, luminous memoir, Cohen tells a story as universal as it is particular, at once a deeply personal account of growing up an outsider and a vibrant family story of three generations of American Jews.

To Edward Cohen, it seemed the entire world was Jewish. Then he ...

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Overview

Edward Cohen was among the tiny minority of Jews in Jackson, Mississippi, the heart of the Bible Belt. As a child, he grew up singing "Dixie" in his segregated school and saying sh'ma in synagogue. And in his powerful, luminous memoir, Cohen tells a story as universal as it is particular, at once a deeply personal account of growing up an outsider and a vibrant family story of three generations of American Jews.

To Edward Cohen, it seemed the entire world was Jewish. Then he went to school, where he was the only child who didn't bow his head during Christian prayers, the only child not invited to dance class. As the polite '50s segued into the racially explosive '60s, Jackson, Mississippi, would never be the same. And Edward would escape to the University of Miami in search of a new identity. There, he thought he would find other Jews and finally gain the acceptance he never had. But once again he found himself an outsider -- this time as a southerner. A stirring memoir for anyone who's ever felt a loss of identity or pressure to conform, The Peddler's Grandson is sure to touch readers everywhere who have grappled with who they are.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This thoughtful and beautifully written memoir is a revelation about the allure of assimilation and the evasiveness of identity.”
Booklist

“Vividly detailed ... sometimes painfully funny, sometimes painfully honest ... you walk away from The Peddler’s Grandson with a sense of the importance of making a separate peace, and understanding that a person can be defined not by how he fits into the world, but by how he stands defiant in the face of a world apart.”
USA Today

John Webb
In The Peddler's Grandson Cohen writes with a sensitivity that belies his lack of sentimentality. He forsakes moss-draped Southern romanticism for a detached, scrutinizing eye. Cohen inspires compassion with his drama of the gifted child torn between a distaste for Bible Belt anti-intellectualism and a need to assimilate among the good ol' boys. You walk away from the The Peddler's Grandson with a sense of the importance of making a separate peace, an understanding that a person can be defined not by how he fits into the world, but by how he stands defiant in the face of a world apart.
USA Today
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385335911
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,407,369
  • Product dimensions: 4.98 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
Chapter 1 The Big House 3
Chapter 2 Worlds in Collision 31
Chapter 3 The Temple 85
Chapter 4 The Store 117
Chapter 5 The Lost Tribe 165
Epilogue 191
Acknowledgments 195
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