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September 2015 Vol. 53 No. 1

University of North Carolina Press

The following review appeared in the September 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email


Hartnett, Kimberly Marlowe. Carolina Israelite: how Harry Golden made us care about Jews, the South, and civil rights. North Carolina, 2015. 359p bibl index afp ISBN 9781469621036, $35.00; ISBN 9781469621043 ebook, $34.99.

Harry Golden (1902-81) is a legend and his life, described here, is almost unbelievable.  Fortunately, Hartnett (a long-time journalist) has documented almost every paragraph with a supporting footnote.  She follows him starting with his early years on the Lower East Side of New York.  He went on to become a broker; investment fraud landed him in jail for five years.  From there he made the unlikely move to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he became a journalist and started a newsletter-magazine, Carolina Israelite (1944-69), that served as a platform for his humorous observations on racism, anti-Semitism, and humanity in general.  Though his progressive attitudes had no support in the South, his style made him friends with everyone.  Among his close acquaintances were Carl Sandberg, the Kennedys, and Martin Luther King Jr.  The assassinations of the 1960s hit him especially hard and his influence diminished, especially with the younger population, whose concern had shifted to Vietnam.  After shutting down Carolina Israelite, Golden devoted the rest of his life to speaking and writing.  This book describes a significant chapter of American political history, serves as a supplemental resource for social and cognitive psychology, and will appeal as a well-told, stranger-than-fiction tale.

--P. L. Derks, emeritus, College of William and Mary

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.