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The Chosen Wars


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About the Author

Steven R. Weisman, vice president for publications and communications at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), previously served as a correspondent, editor, and editorial board member at The New York Times. His book The Great Tax Wars: How the Income Tax Transformed America, received the Sidney Hillman Award in 2003.


"American Judaism underwent a radical shift in the 19th century, adapting its rituals and its theology alike for an open, modern society. Weisman offers a thorough and fascinating history of these decades, which gave birth to the liberal branches of Judaism and allowed Jews to feel at home and thrive in America."

--New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

"Only rarely does an author succeed in writing a book that reframes how we perceive our own history. The Chosen Wars is one such book, and it could not arrive at a more appropriate time in that history. . . . fascinating and provocative."--Jewish Journal
"American Jews have shockingly little self-awareness about their place in an incredible saga. Life in the New World transformed their religion, creating distinctive beliefs and ritual. It is a fascinating tale, full of conflict and ingenuity. Steve Weisman has excavated this history with narrative flair and wisdom. The Chosen Wars is a book that will become a fixture on the shelves of the diaspora and beyond."--Franklin Foer, author of World Without Mind
"A popular, readable account of the outsized personalities and dramatic conflicts that produced a distinctively American Judaism over the course of the Nineteenth Century. The Chosen Wars draws upon recent scholarship to produce a history that is as unforgettable as it is relevant to our times."--Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor, Brandeis University and author of American Judaism: A History
"The Chosen Wars is filled with light for dark times. It is an important and engaging narrative about the evolution of American Judaism. Gone are the old myths and suspicions, and in their place is a profound meditation on the nature of Jewish identity."--Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of A World on Fire
"The Chosen Wars is a uniquely American story about how minority religious communities have grappled with the tension between being, as Weisman puts it, 'a part' of and yet 'apart' from our wider society. It's a book full of life about a living tradition."--E.J. Dionne Jr, New York Times bestselling author of Why the Right Went Wrong and co-author of One Nation After Trump
"Steve Weisman shares important observations about the American Jewish past and the way it shaped and continues to shape today's Jewish communities. The Chosen Wars offers a framework to view a complex, often contentious but ever proud people struggle with tradition and innovation on a new and captivating shore."--Erica Brown, author of Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet

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