Ellis Island to Ebbets Field

Ellis Island to Ebbets Field : Sport and the American-Jewish Experience

3.72 (11 ratings by Goodreads)
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A general study of Jewish participation in American sports, which focuses specifically on baseball, boxing and basketball. The author refutes the assumption that Jewish tradition has not been positive about sporting activities.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 340 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 33.02mm | 635.03g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Ill.
  • 0195051289
  • 9780195051285

Review quote

"Levine convincingly and repeatedly demonstrates the way in whch sport served as an important vehicle of assimilation and, perhaps more important, provided a vivid demonstration of Jewish strength, fortitutde, determination, and heroism in the face of anti-Semitic calumny at home and impending genocide abroad. Levine's social history of Jews and American sports weaves together this special perspective with bittersweet tales of achievement and overcoming."--American Jewish Archives"A scholarly exploration of the important role sport played in transforming Jewish immigrants into American Jews."--The Sporting News"A valuable footnote to American sports history...Makes a major contribution to the field."--Publishers Weekly"Ellis Island to Ebbets Field is a wonderfully evocative combination of sports and Jewish cultural and athletic life in our country. It tells the stories of Hank Greenberg, Nat Holman, Barney Ross, and many other famous and not so famous Jewish athletes with great insight and appeal."--W.P. Kinsella, author of Shoeless Joe"Levine tells an important but little-known story."--Elliott J. Gorn, Miami University"An engaging glimpse into an aspect of Jewish culture often overlooked and ignored. A home run."--Gary David Goldberg, creator of TV's Brooklyn Bridge"For too long we have focused our historical attention on the political scene--wars and presidents etc. Peter Levine reminds us that sometimes our most revealing history comes from different arenas and playing fields."--Ken Burns, Filmmaker"A fine study."--Dr. Linda J. Borish, Western Michigan University"This is history at its best. Ellis Island to Ebbets Field offers much to appreciate and to savor."--Richard C. Crepeau, University of Central Floridashow more

Review Text

A thoroughly researched but dull treatise showing the significant impact of sports on the great American-Jewish pastime of assimilation. As Levine (A.G. Spalding and the Rise of Baseball, 1985) demonstrates how second-generation Jewish immigrants dominated the playing, coaching, and administration of basketball in its formative decades, it becomes clear that in this sport, unlike in baseball, boxing, college football, or Olympic sports, Jews (with teams like the Cleveland Rosenblums) gave far more than they got. What all these sports did for Eastern European immigrants of a foreign and anti-recreational culture, Levine explains, was to give them a passport to the level playing field where even "undersized and weak-muscled" Hebrews might prove themselves the equal of wholesome Christian lads. But the bearded Talmud scholars who disdained the sporting frivolity of grandsons with names like Red Auerbach (basketball icon), Barney Ross (boxing champ), and Sid Luckman (football star) were aghast at the possibility that these boys "would someday be eating pig" - and they couldn't imagine things getting so bad that, by 1970, the son of baseball slugger Hank Greenberg would list himself as a Congregationalist. Levine offers an impressive record of little-known Jewish sports figures, but his hard digging is trivialized by his seemingly watered-down sense of Jewish issues and identity. Occasional interviews with athletes who were caught in cultural conflicts with their families make up the book's most engaging segments. Interesting, but too long and too dry. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Peter Levine

Peter Levine is Professor of History at Michigan State University. He is the author of A.G. Spalding and the Rise of Baseball, American Sport: A Documentary History, and the editor of Baseball History, 1986-91.show more

Rating details

11 ratings
3.72 out of 5 stars
5 27% (3)
4 27% (3)
3 36% (4)
2 9% (1)
1 0% (0)
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