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Jews and the American soul : human nature in the twentieth century /
Andrew R. Heinze.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2004.
description
xvi, 438 p.
ISBN
0691117551 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2004.
isbn
0691117551 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5258393
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
National Jewish Book Awards, USA, 2005 : Nominated
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Why do Americans worry so about their souls? Andrew Heinze's amazing book offers an amazing answer--an extraordinary and unexpected dialogue among modern American Jewish writers and figures about the essence of humanity, the soul. Ranging across American Jewish writing on psychology, neurosis, self-help, humanism, and the Holocaust, Heinze explains how Jewish intellectuals uncovered and explicated the marrow of American identity even as, or precisely because, they sought to secure their place in an America that did not always want them. Heinze uplifts an unexpected, enlightening story with insight, grace, and not infrequent irony--a simply fascinating read."--Jon Butler, Yale University "This telling of the American story gives a clarifying resonance to a heretofore muted theme. The nation's culture, politics, and civic religion have been powerfully influenced by Jewish contributions. But it has taken this vigorous work by Andrew Heinze to make them plain. This book will surely change the way America understands itself."--James Carroll, author of the bestsellingConstantine's Sword "Jews and the American Soulis the most forthright, probing, nuanced, and carefully documented book yet addressed to the ways in which modern American culture has been influenced by Jews. A truly distinctive work of American history."--David Hollinger, University of California, Berkeley "I do not know any books like this one. Heinze concludes that Jewish ways of thinking about human personality and the meaning of human life have spread to millions of Americans. The implications of this conclusion are startling. A wonderful, compelling book, a major accomplishment. It has changed the way I think about the 'American soul.'"--Deborah Dash Moore, Vassar College "Andrew Heinze'sJews and the American Soulis a shrewd and unsettling account of the influence of some surprising Jewish figures upon contemporary popular culture in the United States."--Harold Bloom, author ofThe Western CanonandThe American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-10-15:
Heinze (American history & director, Swig Judaic studies, Univ. of San Francisco; Adapting to Abundance) examines how modern American culture has been greatly influenced by Jewish American psychologists and thinkers. One of the chief merits of his work is that he does not disdain popular psychologists. So while there is plenty of material on the enduring thinkers of the past century, e.g., Adler, Maslow, and Eriksen, there are also chapters on such popular figures as Rabbi Joshua Liebman, who wrote a widely read-but now forgotten-self-help book after World War II, titled Peace of Mind. These figures found a way to transform their Jewish backgrounds into advice and thought that could greatly influence all Americans. Most recently, the works of Rabbi Harold Kushner have helped many Americans come to an understanding of suffering and evil in the world. An informed lay reader can appreciate Heinze's scholarly study. Best for larger public libraries and academic libraries that have strong collections in popular culture and thought.-Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2005-07-01:
This ambitious undertaking raises many very interesting questions about the role of Jewish thinkers in exploring the American mind. Heinze (Univ. of San Francisco) presents 20th-century Jewish psychiatrists, psychologists, and rabbis who have never been included in discussions of this topic before, and the natural question is why. Though Heinze does not answer that question to this reviewer's satisfaction, he does offer fascinating portraits of these thinkers and their work. Particularly between the 1890s and 1940s, the first generation of psychologists, many of whom were Jewish, offered ideas to a popular audience about how the mind works and how human nature functions. Joseph Jastrow, for example, was a very effective popularizer of psychology. As professor at the University of Wisconsin, he studied comparative psychology and had a syndicated column on mental fitness. As a Jewish American, Jastrow operated in a secular professional environment appealing to a larger Christian audience. Indeed, the book's heart is with that first generation, but there are earlier chapters that range from 18th-century Jewish ethical writings to Ben Franklin's list of virtues to 19th-century surveys of Christian thought, which may confuse uninitiated readers. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. Sochen Northeastern Illinois University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-08-23:
How have Americans come to define the vague notion of "the pursuit of happiness" enumerated as a basic right in the Declaration of Independence? This groundbreaking, wonderfully researched and consistently provocative book suggests that while traditional Protestant values formed the foundation of the nation's prescription for happiness, after 1900 Jewish thinkersAfrom Freud and Adler, to the 1950s popular psychology of Dr. Joyce Brothers and Ann LandersAprovided a framework to shape the American psyche and "individual development." Through these thinkers and writers "Jewish concerns and values... entered into American popular thought." Heinze states his case judiciouslyAhe makes it clear that he's not speaking of all Jewish thinkers, but rather popularizers of psychology, who came from various religious and secular Jewish traditions; these men and women shaped American ideas about "intelligence, personality, race, the subconscious mind, and mass behavior and evil." Readers will be familiar with some of Heinze's examplesAErik Erickson, Erich Fromm, Harold KushnerAbut there's plenty of material that is explored in this context for the first time. Heinze, a professor of American history and Jewish studies at the University of San Francisco, looks at Hugo M?nsterberg, who taught at Harvard in the early 1900s and was one of the first popularizers of psychology; Otto Kleinberg, who in the mid-1930s published influential works exploding racist theories of intelligence; and Rabbi Joshua Liebman, whose bestselling 1946 Peace of Mind argued, from a clearly Jewish perspective, that "spiritual growth depended on psychological maturity." Heinze has a fluid, readable style and supports his larger arguments and history with an abundance of compelling anecdotes and facts. When he's at his bestAas in discussing a 1950s response to popular Freudianism, led by TV star Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (whose Peace of Soul was a counterpoint to Leibman's book) and Clare Boothe Luce, both of whom Henize calls "the two most charismatic leaders of American Catholicism" of the eraAHeinze writes splendid social history. This is an important addition not only to Jewish studies, but to American cultural studies as well. 20 b&w photos. Agent, Carol Mann. (Nov.) Forecast: This could garner review attentionAand salesAalongside another excellent Princeton book, Yuri Slezkine's The Jewish Century, pubbing in October (Forecasts, June 20). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
[A] groundbreaking, wonderfully researched and consistently provocative book. . . . Heinze has a fluid, readable style and supports his larger arguments and history with an abundance of compelling anecdotes and facts. . . . [He] writes splendid social history. This is an important addition not only to Jewish studies, but to American cultural studies as well.
"[A] groundbreaking, wonderfully researched and consistently provocative book. . . . Heinze has a fluid, readable style and supports his larger arguments and history with an abundance of compelling anecdotes and facts. . . . [He] writes splendid social history. This is an important addition not only to Jewish studies, but to American cultural studies as well."-- Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)
A major contribution. . . . Anyone interested in the afterlife of European psychology in America; anyone interested in the difference between Jewish and non-Jewish attitudes towards psychological structures needs to read this book. . . . You will find it a pleasure to read and you will learn something new on every page (and in virtually every footnote).
"A major contribution. . . . Anyone interested in the afterlife of European psychology in America; anyone interested in the difference between Jewish and non-Jewish attitudes towards psychological structures needs to read this book. . . . You will find it a pleasure to read and you will learn something new on every page (and in virtually every footnote)."-- Sander L. Gilman, American Jewish History
"Andrew R. Heinze's Jews and the American Soul: Human Nature in the Twentieth Century is a sweeping, ambitious study of Jewish contributions to Americans' self-understanding. . . . In his chronicle of Jews who have aided Americans in their search for meaning, Heinze has provided us with fascinating insights into the cultural work of many of these conversations."-- Marjorie N. Feld, American Studies
"Heinze makes an admirably detailed study of how Jews in America became party to the important discussion of the place of the psyche in the lives of Americans."-- Edmund Connelly, The Occidental Quarterly
Heinze's argument is that Christian America doesn't realize how Jewish it is. And while it would have been simple enough to round up the usual suspects . . . Heinze's choices are refreshing.
"Heinze's argument is that Christian America doesn't realize how Jewish it is. And while it would have been simple enough to round up the usual suspects . . . Heinze's choices are refreshing."-- Joel Yanofsky, National Post
Indeed, it is difficult to imagine the full history of [the] psychologization of American ideas about the psyche and human nature without considering the vast influence of Jewish writers. . . . This is a sharply argued contribution to American cultural and intellectual history that will deservedly be cited for decades to come.
"Indeed, it is difficult to imagine the full history of [the] psychologization of American ideas about the psyche and human nature without considering the vast influence of Jewish writers. . . . This is a sharply argued contribution to American cultural and intellectual history that will deservedly be cited for decades to come."-- Robert C. Fuller, American Historical Review
[M]asterfully weaves together several strands of American and Jewish intellectual, cultural and social history . . . this important book succeeds brilliantly.
"[M]asterfully weaves together several strands of American and Jewish intellectual, cultural and social history . . . this important book succeeds brilliantly."-- Paul Lerner, Times Literary Supplement
One of the more remarkable revelations of Andrew Heinze'sJews and the American Soulis . . . The interpenetration of the American and the Jewish outlook . . . Ranging from the thunderous impact of Freudianism through the popular ministrations and down-to-earth advice of Dr. Joyce Brothers. . . . Heinze writes well and often colorfully.
"One of the more remarkable revelations of Andrew Heinze's Jews and the American Soul is . . . The interpenetration of the American and the Jewish outlook . . . Ranging from the thunderous impact of Freudianism through the popular ministrations and down-to-earth advice of Dr. Joyce Brothers. . . . Heinze writes well and often colorfully."-- Charles Morris, Commonweal
[O]utstanding . . . . Heinze cogently and elegantly traces the flow of Jewish values, attitudes, and arguments into the mainstream of American thought.
"[O]utstanding . . . . Heinze cogently and elegantly traces the flow of Jewish values, attitudes, and arguments into the mainstream of American thought."-- Ilana Mercer, Jewish Chronicle (London)
[O]utstanding . . . triumphant . . . Heinze cogently and elegantly traces the flow of Jewish values, attitudes, and arguments into the mainstream of American thought.
Runner-Up for the 2005 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish History, Jewish Book Council Finalist for the 2004 Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute Book Award, University of Scranton One of Publishers Weekly s Best Books for 2004
This ambitious undertaking raises many very interesting questions about the role of Jewish thinkers in exploring the American mind. Andrew Heinze presents 20th-century Jewish psychiatrists, psychologists, and rabbis who have never been included in discussions of this topic before.
"This ambitious undertaking raises many very interesting questions about the role of Jewish thinkers in exploring the American mind. Andrew Heinze presents 20th-century Jewish psychiatrists, psychologists, and rabbis who have never been included in discussions of this topic before."-- Choice
[This] fascinating and innovative book could not have arrived at a better time. . . . The book deserves a wide readership.
"[This] fascinating and innovative book could not have arrived at a better time. . . . The book deserves a wide readership."-- Elaine Margolin, Jerusalem Post
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, August 2004
Library Journal, October 2004
Choice, July 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is a pioneering history of American and Jewish ideas in the modern world which marshals a rich array of evidence to show that modern American ideas about the psyche, the soul and human nature derived from a complex and often tense interaction of Jewish and Christian values.
Main Description
What do Joyce Brothers and Sigmund Freud, Rabbi Harold Kushner and philosopher Martin Buber have in common? They belong to a group of pivotal and highly influential Jewish thinkers who altered the face of modern America in ways few people recognize. So argues Andrew Heinze, who reveals in rich and unprecedented detail the extent to which Jewish values, often in tense interaction with an established Christian consensus, shaped the country's psychological and spiritual vocabulary. Jews and the American Soulis the first book to recognize the central role Jews and Jewish values have played in shaping American ideas of the inner life. It overturns the widely shared assumption that modern ideas of human nature derived simply from the nation's Protestant heritage. Heinze marshals a rich array of evidence to show how individuals ranging from Erich Fromm to Ann Landers changed the way Americans think about mind and soul. The book shows us the many ways that Jewish thinkers influenced everything from the human potential movement and pop psychology to secular spirituality. It also provides fascinating new interpretations of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Western views of the psyche; the clash among Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish moral sensibilities in America; the origins and evolution of America's psychological and therapeutic culture; the role of Jewish women as American public moralists, and more. A must-read for anyone interested in the contribution of Jews and Jewish culture to modern America.
Main Description
What do Joyce Brothers and Sigmund Freud, Rabbi Harold Kushner and philosopher Martin Buber have in common? They belong to a group of pivotal and highly influential Jewish thinkers who altered the face of modern America in ways few people recognize. So argues Andrew Heinze, who reveals in rich and unprecedented detail the extent to which Jewish values, often in tense interaction with an established Christian consensus, shaped the country's psychological and spiritual vocabulary. Jews and the American Soul is the first book to recognize the central role Jews and Jewish values have played in shaping American ideas of the inner life. It overturns the widely shared assumption that modern ideas of human nature derived simply from the nation's Protestant heritage. Heinze marshals a rich array of evidence to show how individuals ranging from Erich Fromm to Ann Landers changed the way Americans think about mind and soul. The book shows us the many ways that Jewish thinkers influenced everything from the human potential movement and pop psychology to secular spirituality. It also provides fascinating new interpretations of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Western views of the psyche; the clash among Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish moral sensibilities in America; the origins and evolution of America's psychological and therapeutic culture; the role of Jewish women as American public moralists, and more. A must-read for anyone interested in the contribution of Jews and Jewish culture to modern America.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Jews and the American Soulp. 1
One Nation under Stress, Divisible: Jewish Immigrants and the National Psyche
Jews and the Psychodynamics of American Lifep. 11
The Moral Universe of the Jews
Benjamin Franklin in Hebrew: The Musar Sage of Philadelphiap. 39
Jews and the Crisis of the Psychep. 50
Freud and Adler: The Rise of Jewish Psychoanalytic Moralismp. 64
Jewish Morality and the Psychological Shift of American Culture ,1890-1945
Popular Psychology: The Great American Synthesis of Religion and Sciencep. 87
Jewish Psychological Evangelism: A Collective Biography of the First Generationp. 103
The Moronic Immigrant and the Neurotic Jew: Jews and American Perceptions of Intelligence, Personality, and Racep. 140
The Specter of the Mob: Jews and the Battle for the American Unconsciousp. 165
Peace of Mind: Judaism and the Therapeutic Polemics of Postwar America
Rabbi Liebman and the Psychic Pain of the World War II Generationp. 195
Peace of Mind :A New Jewish Gospel of Lovep. 217
Clare Boothe Luce and the Catholic-Jewish Clash over Freud in Americap. 241
Jews and the American Search for Meaning, 1950-2000
Jews and the Creation of American Humanismp. 261
Joyce Brothers: The Jewish Woman as Psychologist of Suburban Americap. 295
Holocaust, Hasidism, Suffering, Redemptionp. 321
Conclusionp. 349
Notesp. 353
Indexp. 419
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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