From stereotypes to role models, the first comprehensive look at how Jews were portrayed on radio from the 1920s to the 1950s.
-- From struggling immigrants to prominent men and women who were recognized for their significant contributions in their chosen fields.
-- From comedic characters who made a nation laugh to more serious ones who brought comfort and reassurance to generations of listeners.
Travel back in time as Radio and the Jews examines over 100 programs that featured Jewish themes and/or characters. The very first book that takes an in-depth look at the Jewish image across all program genres.
Here's what others have said about Radio and the Jews
Journal of Radio & Audio Media, Vol 16, #2, November, 2009
The Siegels have written a serious book and have made a respectable but occasionally flawed attempt at presenting their story in a work that will be of interest not only to professional radio historians but to serious readers interested in broadcasting or Jewish history.
American Jewish History, Vol 94, #1-2, March-June 2008
The book explores the way popular radio programs addresssed themes that have long been of interest to scholars of American Jewish history, including Jewish stereotypes, assimilation, antisemitism, and American Jewish response to Nazi Germany. . . Radio and the Jews is filled with useful background material about the actors, writers, sponsors, and networks responsible for the many programs, famous and obscure, that included Jewish representations.
Jewish Book World
The Siegels put their encyclopedic knowledge of the Golden Age of Radio to good use. Their study brings together virtually every significant mention of Jews in popular radio programs from 1920 to 1960. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of how popular culture both reflected and shaped public perceptions of who and what Jews were, at once contributing to and battling anti-Semitism and intolerance. . . A valuable work for the vast majority of us who have no direct memory of the Golden Age of Radio.
Christopher Sterling, Editor, Encyclopedia of Radio
Co-author of Stay Tuned: A History of American Broadcasting and author of many other books about radio.
These pages provide a valuable record of Jewish portrayals during radio's golden age. That some of these portrayals were anything but positive sheds useful light on the early 20th century social context of radio's program development.
Tona Hangen, Author of Redeeming the Dial: Radio, Religion, and Popular Culture in America
A carefully researched volume which explores the myriad portrayals of Jews and Jewishness on golden-age network radio. The Siegels' new book salvages many comedy, drama, and religious programs from obscurity, sheds new light on familiar Jewish-themed programs, and addresses anti-Semitic radio. A highly useful and often entertaining glimpse into Jewish radio of the golden age, Radio and the Jews is a unique reference for scholars of 20th century radio, media and religion.
From A. Mintz, a reader from Massachusetts
Your book was an insightful window into the world of anti-semitism during the 30's and 40's. Now I know what my uncles were talking about. They would drone on and on about what it was like for them as kids in a gentile world. I know that wasn't a goal of your book but somehow your work tells the story of that part of the Jewish Experience during that time very well.
Andrew Ingall, Assisant Curator, The Jewish Museum/National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting
The Siegels provide a useful overview of American Jewish broadcast history that benefits collectors and scholars.
From J. Eccles, Jr., a New Jersey resident
You did a wonderful job at placing these shows in a historical context and showing how the stereotypes evolved over time and gradually faded as with "Meet Millie." Rather than just reciting cold facts (program titles, broadcast dates, etc.) you can actually trace the development of Jewish characters in mainstream media through the book.
From G. Jacobs, a Florida resident who grew up listening to radio
I think anyone reading the book will come away with a good understanding of what was being accomplished in the 30's and 40's in light of the Nazi treatment of Jews plus the insular and isolationist mind set in this country...Unfortunately, we are so far removed from that technology that is it difficult to comprehend how people could sit and listen to hour after hour of talk. Today we have to "see" and then fail to comprehend what we see.
Comedy • Drama • Soap opera • Juvenile • Religion • Documentaries • World War II
Compare and contrast the many different images. Decide which ones were positive or negative -- and which ones had the most influence on shaping mainstream America's views of Jews. Learn about:
- The evolution of the Jewish image over four tumultuous decades in American history.
- The controversy over the use of the Yiddish dialect.
- Why some Jews opposed certain programs.
- How Jewish secular organizations used radio to further their agenda.
- How radio was used to incite as well as fight anti-Semitism
- Radio's reaction to the Holocaust.
- How Judaism was presented to non-Jews.