Jews And Booze By Marni Davis

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In Marni Davis’s book Jews and Booze, she offers readers a well-researched study addressing Jewish immigrant acculturation. Data on Jews, booze, and prohibition is familiar to scholars who study the histories of New York City, Chicago, and New Jersey. Much to her credit, Davis also gathers information from southern locales such as Atlanta and California. In Robert Rockaway’s book But He Was Good to His Mother, he examined Jewish gangsters in the early twentieth century and came to the conclusion that the reason a large number of them worked in the illegal alcohol business was because of the profit caused by prohibition and the intense thirst society developed for alcohol that came with it. When he studied further he realized that these “gangsters” running illegal operations often were more caring and human than people believed. Incorporated into this review are studies of the real life activity of these gangsters through information that Rockaway was able to recover. As Jewish immigrants found their place in nineteenth and twentieth century America, alcohol was never far from their lips. True, Jews were known for their abstemious drinking habits, but the production and sale of alcoholic beverages offered economic opportunity in the United States as it had in Europe, where some Jews were vintners, brewers, liquor distributors, and tavern owners (Davis). However, if alcohol selling brought prosperity, it also brought the Jews into the world of mobs and gangsters.

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