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The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn against Liberalism

Jonathan Rieder

ISBN 9780674093614

Publication date: 03/15/1987

What accounts for the precarious state of liberalism in the mid-1980s? Why was the Republican Party able to steal away so many ethnic Democrats of modest means in recent presidential elections? Jonathan Rieder explores these questions in his powerful study of the Jews and Italians of Canarsie, a middle-income community that was once the scene of a wild insurgency against racial busing. Proud bootstrappers, the children of immigrants, Canarsians may speak with piquant New York accents, but their story has a more universal appeal. Canarsie is Middle America, Brooklyn-style.


  • Yale anthropologist Jonathan Rieder spent two years living not in New Guinea or up the Amazon but in a place that his academic colleagues probably found even more exotic: the lower-middle-class neighborhood adjacent to New York’s Kennedy Airport. There Rieder witnessed close-up the destruction of Roosevelt’s coalition by voter revulsion against crime, welfare, and casual disorder.

    —David Frum, Wall Street Journal


  • Jonathan Rieder is Professor of Sociology at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Book Details

  • 306 pages
  • 6 x 9-3/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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