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Walter Roth delves deep into the archives of Chicago’s Jewish past, and provides a new collection of illuminating essays on its various aspects. Booklist said of his previous collection, Looking Backward: True Stories from Chicago’s Jewish Past, Roth writes about the well-known and the not-so-well-known, bringing to life the peOut of Printle, events and institutions that shaped the Jewish community.” Roth is also co-author of An Accidental Anarchist, about the killing of a Jewish immigrant by Chicago’s Chief of Police in 1908. Kirkus Reviews said, The authors have skillfully removed the dust from an obscure but troubling episode.” Roth brings his consummate skill as storyteller to bear on this new collection, which makes for entertaining and informative reading.
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The presence of Jews in Chicago goes back to 1841 with the arrival of four Jewish pioneers. Within five years the first synagogue in the city was a reality. Walter Roth, a scholar of Jewish history in the city, looks at the more colorful and little-known aspects of the rich history of Jews and their involvement in all aspects of city life. In this compelling new collection of essays, Roth looks at trouble in the city – Jewish connections to the Haymarket Bomb tragedy, to the Peoria Street Riots of November 1949, to the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937, to the Iroquois Theater fire, and to the murder of Jake Lingle. In a section called Business in the City, Roth discusses Albert Lasker, the father of modern advertising, Ernest Byfield, founder of the Pump Room, William Paley, the head of CBS, Benjamin Rosenthal and the Chicago Mail Order Company, and the demise of the Foreman State Bank. There are sections on culture in the city (Meyer Levin and Isaac Rosenfeld), and science in the city (Leo Strauss, Martin D Kamen and Gunther Stent). Further sections deal with such subjects as the Mexican adventure of Paul Rothenberg, Shalom Schwartzbard, Julian Marx, and the Lovers of Zion.
These are only a few of the influencial people - and events - who either lived in, visited or had some effect on Chicago over the last century. One of the more colorful of these characters was Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the ideological forbear of Israel's Likud Party, who made two visits to Chicago.
Walter Roth is an attorney, President of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society, and author of An Accidental Anarchist and the critically acclaimed Looking Backward: True Stories from Chicago’s Jewish Past, both available from Academy Chicago Publishers.
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