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Jews and the Civil WarA Reader$
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Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam D. Mendelsohn

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740910

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740910.001.0001

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Before Korn: A Century of Jewish Historical Writing about the American Civil War

(p.1) Introduction
Jews and the Civil War

Adam Mendelsohn

NYU Press

This introduction traces the origin and evolution of the earlier literature on Jews and the Civil War and considers the possible reasons why a number of factually incorrect but attractive ideas about Jewish involvement in the conflict have endured. The historical literature on the American Jewish experience of the Civil War can be divided into two eras: the period from the 1880s until 1950, when the field was dominated by amateur historians, and the period from 1951, when Bertram Korn published American Jewry and the Civil War. In this introduction, the focus is on the period before American Jewish history became an academic field and on how amateur historians developed a consensual understanding of the meaning and importance of the Civil War for Jews. These Jewish historical writings include Isaac Markens's The Hebrews in America (1888) and Simon Wolf's The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier and Citizen (1895).

Keywords:   amateur historians, Jews, Civil War, Bertram Korn, American Jewry and the Civil War, American Jewish history, Isaac Markens, The Hebrews in America, Simon Wolf, historical literature

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