New Directions in Anglo-Jewish History

New Directions in Anglo-Jewish History


Geoffrey Alderman

ISBN: 9781936235131 (hardcover)
Pages: 208 pp.
Publication Date: July 2010

Add To Cart

The past two decades have witnessed a remarkable renaissance in the academic study of the history of the Jews in Great Britain and of their impact upon British history. In this volume Professor Geoffrey Alderman presents essays that reflect the richness of this renaissance, penned by a new generation of British and American scholars who are uninhibited by the considerations of communal image and public obligation that once exercised a powerful influence on Anglo-Jewish historiography. History does not have lessons, says Alderman, but it may provide signposts, and he adds that in the case of the essays presented here “I believe there is one signpost that we would all do well to ponder: in multicultural Britain hard-working immigrants may be welcome, or they may be feared--or both. They are destined to remain not quite British, and, for better or worse, they are destined to bequeath this otherness to the generations that follow them."

Geoffrey  Alderman studied history at the University of Oxford, where he completed his DPhil in 1969. Currently Michael Gross Professor of Politics & Contemporary History at the University of Buckingham, he is the acknowledged authority on the history of the Jews in modern Britain. In 2006 Oxford conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Letters in respect of his work in this field. For more information about Geoffrey Alderman, please visit

New Directions in Anglo-Jewish History presents a collection of seven essays on diverse aspects of modern Anglo-Jewish history. The introduction to the volume by its editor, Geoffrey Alderman, prepares the reader for something dynamic and original. . . . Considering the prominence of Alderman as a scholar in the field of Anglo-Jewish history and his deserved reputation as a witty and insightful ‘communal gadfly,’ we should expect an exciting, provocative and controversial collection of essays. The essays are indeed well researched, stimulating, and of an excellent standard. . . . [T]his volume contains something for anyone interested in Anglo-Jewish history.
— Simon Mayers, in the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, vol. 12, issue 3 (December 2013)
This valuable collection of essays by new scholars in the field of Anglo-Jewish history is a welcome addition. The essays introduce topics that have received little attention hitherto—such as immigrant identity in the provices at the turn of the century and emigre Jews in the British film industry in the 1930s—as well as question conventional historical views - such as the belief that the response of the Board of Deputies to British fascism was weak and ineffective.
— Todd M. Endelman, William Haber Professor of Modern Jewish History University of Michigan
This excellent collection is the advance guard of the second wave of scholarly research into the Jewish experience in Britain since the predominance of gifted amateurs ended in the 1980s. It is multi-disciplinary, wide ranging, conceptually sophisticated, full of irony and frequently witty. There are no apologetics here. With these mainly young scholars, who hail from a variety of backgrounds, British Jewish history has reached maturity. The results are fascinating, sometimes shocking, but always illuminating.
— David Cesarani is research professor in History at Royal Holloway, University of London
The essays in this neatly edited volume provide exciting new insights into Anglo-Jewish history. They represent the second generation of critical scholarship on the subject matter and are united in their innovative and subtle nature. Topics as varied as literature, film and orphanages are explored in essays that range in chronology from the mid-Victorian era through to the eve of the Second World War. They break through barriers of history from above and below, of history and culture, and of Jewish and non-Jewish responses, providing critical perspectives on new and old topics alike. Taken together they represent the coming of age of the study of Anglo-Jewry, a subject matter until recently sadly ignored in British as well as Jewish historiography.
— Professor Tony Kushner, Parkes Institute, University of Southampton