By Jonathan Rieder
What debts for the precarious country of liberalism within the mid Eighties? Why was once the Republican occasion capable of scouse borrow away such a lot of ethnic Democrats of modest capacity in contemporary presidential elections? Jonathan Rieder explores those questions in his robust research of the Jews and Italians of Canarsie, a middle-income group that used to be the scene of a wild insurgency opposed to racial busing. Proud bootstrappers, the kids of immigrants, Canarsians may well communicate with piquant long island accents, yet their tale has a extra common charm. Canarsie is heart the United States, Brooklyn-style.
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Extra resources for Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn Against Liberalism
The Belt Parkway was a sinuous curve between shore and land, humming with commuters heading for Long Island or the outer reaches of Queens and Brooklyn. Earlier that day, out on Canarsie pier, huddles of men in Bermuda shorts sat in beach chairs and kibitzed over cards, the quiet rhythmically broken by the roar of jets landing and taking off at Kennedy Airport a few miles east. Across the parkway in Seaview Village, Orthodox Jews in skullcaps headed for Sabbath services. Grabstein's Deli on Rockaway Parkway, with the neon-orange Hebrew lettering on the window, was crammed with families feasting on blintzes, corned beef, and knishes.
They start taking sides, and that was the end of it. The only thing we could think of was to fight back. Pitkin Avenue became a symbolic reproach for all the changes that had transformed Brooklyn. This artery that coursed through Brownsville once pulsated with the beat of immigrant trade, drive, politics, sarcasm, chutzpah, deli, recreation, dialectic. "Pitkin Avenue weighs on me," Kazin eulogized. "As you go up from Belmont, the neon glare suddenly lights up all the self-conscious confusion of Brownsville's show street ...
21 The cold war fired Catholic anxieties about communism, intensi- Ethnic Traditions 41 fied disaffection with the national Democratic party, and widened the political wedge between Jews and Catholics. "Alienated by the liberal internationalism which had plunged one generation of Americans into two wars and imposed a considerable strain on the psyches (although not the loyalty) of several major ethnic groups," the Italians joined other Catholics who had opposed Roosevelt in embracing the nationalist views of the Republican party.