Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The Enemy Camp, Jerome Weidman, Random House Inc, 1958, 561 pp

 Jerome Weidman wrote 22 novels in a long career which also included plays and hundreds of short stories. His first novel, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, became the Broadway musical in which Barbra Streisand made her debut. The Enemy Camp, which was the #9 bestselling novel in 1958, is the only one of his I have read. 

 It is said to be autobiographical and tells the story of George Hurst, a Jewish man who rose up out of the Lower East Side ghetto, married a Christian woman and learned to overcome his fear of anti-Semitism.

 Many Jewish writers have covered this ground and Jerome Weidman was among the first. He writes with energy and knows how to keep a reader on the edge of the protagonist's anxiety. In other words, he wrote a page turner that reveals to a shiksa like me what it was like for a Jewish man in early  to mid 20th century America.

 I did not know anything about the author or the novel when I started it and was happily surprised to find it so good.

(The Enemy Camp is out of print, so is best found at libraries or from used book sellers.)

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