From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History

Product Details
Wayne State University Press
Publish Date
7.6 X 9.1 X 1.5 inches | 1.95 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
Nancy Sinkoff is the academic director of the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and professor of Jewish studies and history at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She is author of Out of the Shtetl: Making Jews Modern in the Polish Borderlands, of "Yidishkayt and the Making of Lucy S. Dawidowicz" the introductory essay to Dawidowicz's reissued From that Place and Time, A Memoir, 1938-1947, and co-editor with Rebecca Cypess of Sara Levy's World: Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin.
It is customary in a book review, especially a positive book review, to ferret out something that one does not like and expand on it. Normally I would obey this code, but it isn't easy because I honestly liked everything about Nancy Sinkoff 's biography. It is well written and informative about an important person and her growth and development and place in Jewish letters. It brings attention to a neglected and fascinating New York intellectual who went from left to right and stayed there, never seeing the need to apologize for her move. It has interesting new archival material and photographs. It has interesting letter exchanges with notable figures, among them Albert Einstein, Simon Wiesenthal, and Noam Chomsky. What's not to like?-- (04/01/2020)
In this masterful biography of a pioneering scholar-intellectual, Sinkoff reveals precisely how American Jewish politics came to be bound by the golden chains of memory and trauma to the vanished world of pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe. In the process, she sets a new standard for American Jewish political history.-- (09/26/2019)
Lucy Dawidowicz's life and career encapsulates much of the Jewish experience since the time of World War II. She was in Poland immediately before the war, in Germany right after the war, and at the heart of the political debate that would roil and continues to roil the American Jewish community over the past seventy years. Often ignored by historians because she was a woman, Dawidowicz regains her rightful place in the annals of American Jewish history thanks to this compelling and meticulously researched biography by Nancy Sinkoff.-- (09/26/2019)
With this book, Lucy Dawidowicz has found her biographer. But even beyond that important contribution, Nancy Sinkoff offers profound insight into the American Jewish psyche, chronicling its diverse cultural proclivities and political sensibilities. With literary elegance and masterful command of her sources, Sinkoff uses Dawidowicz to tell a larger story: the rise of Jewish political conservatism as a powerful force in American life from its roots in Yiddish progressive circles in New York. An outstanding achievement by a first-rate historian.-- (09/26/2019)
Lucy Dawidowicz comes alive again with her wisdom and insight, her prescience and unflinching honesty (and her sometimes orneriness). This prodigiously researched book takes readers deep inside the world that shaped Dawidowicz and that she documented with passion and courage.-- (09/26/2019)
I never quite knew how to approach Dawidowicz's legacy. She was a bold female voice who rejected the "special pleading" of second-wave feminism. She dedicated herself to Yiddish but rejected it as a basis for Jewish life. She was a frustrating, consternating figure for me, a political thinker who, along with her better known male peers, had journeyed from far left in the 1930s to neoconservative in the 1980s. As I saw it, we had so much, and so little in common. From Left to Right affirms my impression of a woman of fierce intellect and principle, a woman of her many times and places.-- (03/27/2020)
Alert to her driving obligations to both the European past and American present, Lucy Dawidowicz once said she felt "somehow pulled between two poles, never quite at home in either, and above all not wishing to be." Thirty years after her death in 1990, Ms. Sinkoff's rewarding reappraisal, a model of biographical clarity, at last brings a formidable practitioner of the historian's craft home and gives her the attention commensurate with her irrefutable influence.-- (04/24/2020)