Against the Grain
A Historian's Journey
Jerold S. Auerbach
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AGAINST THE GRAIN is a collection of essays and insights from a reflective American historian. Jerold Auerbach, Professor Emeritus of History at Wellesley College, where he taught for 40 years and once served as the Chair of its history department, writes in the Foreword how his experience in academia over the years, along with increasing travel to Israel, "each in its own distinctive way had converged to liberate me from my past as a non-Jewish Jew." He adds:
"Regardless of the subject--law, modern American history, the Pueblo Indians, American Judaism, Israel--deference to the conventional wisdom never had been my style. I always enjoyed the stimulation of writing against the grain: discovering hidden meanings, challenging historical and political pieties, and exposing the self-serving ideology that often lurked beneath self-evident truths. Providing intellectual catnip, it also enabled me to reach readers far beyond the narrow confines of academic journals."
"My creative work always was done in the solitude of my study, my sanctum within my home. Enclosed within the treasured artifacts, maps, photographs, prints, and books accumulated during decades of research and travel, I explored the historical past that both inspired and reflected my own intellectual trajectory. Virtually every book I have written, to my genuine surprise, contained within it the seed of its successor. That, of course, is discernible only with hindsight--which, after all, is the distinctive attribute of a historian. I invite my family, friends, and interested readers to accompany me to some favorite destinations during my journey."
A new book in Quid Pro's Journeys & Memoirs Series, AGAINST THE GRAIN presents this distinctive hindsight in essays and excerpts targeted to a general audience interested in such issues, and not only historians and college students. Many of the essays were first published in non-academic periodicals, though they are still supported with the prodigious research and uncovered, unvarnished truths of a recognized historian and much-published writer.
Jerold S. Auerbach is a senior professor at Wellesley College, where he has taught courses on modern United States history, freedom of speech, American Jewish history, and the history of Israel. He is widely published, including the acclaimed study of the legal profession 'Unequal Justice,' and the recent books 'Hebron Jews: Memory and Conflict in the Land of Israel' (2009) and 'Explorers in Eden: Pueblo Indians and the Promised Land' (2006). His study of the Altalena tragedy, 'Brothers at War,' was published by Quid Pro Books in 2011.