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Dec 30, 2017

Broken Alliance

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Edited: Dec 31, 2017


· Broken Alliance, The Turbulent Times Between Blacks and Jews in America, by Jonathan Kaufman(’74) Jonathan tells the story of the relationship between blacks and Jews from the end of World War II until the late 80’s. At this point, I’ve read about 30 books for this project; this is the only one that made me cry. We see the events (Brown vs the Board of Education, the rise of Martin Luther King, the competing power bases, the challenges in housing and education), through the eyes of real individuals, idealistic and involved blacks and Jews. By zooming in on seven activists and then sweeping out to the big picture of the struggles in the nation, Jonathan gives us history grounded in lives. Paul Parker fought in a segregated regiment in World War II. It fell to him and his comrades to liberate Dachau. They knew nothing of the holocaust. Paul could barely fathom what he saw, but he knew whose side he was on. This was a fitting starting place for the roles the two groups would play in the coming years in the struggle for civil rights. Jonathan tells the story in all its complexity. His analysis and insight reveal the hidden fissures in this alliance despite good intentions.

I finished this book just as the events in Charlottesville were unfolding. It is my fervent hope that the specter of Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists will shock all of us into repairing alliances.

I accidentally bought two copies of Broken Alliance. I will send a copy to the first person who sends me his/her address.


Donald Routh
Jan 2, 2018

I found this book enjoyable to read. It made me ponder a most important facet of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Jewish people were marvelously supportive of people of color in this battle, but their self-interest sometimes has interfered with this process.

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