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A Double Thread: Growing Up English and Jewish in London

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This evocative picture of a lost London and a vanished culture is also the story of a bookish boy discovering his own path. John Gross is the son of a Jewish doctor who practiced in the East End of London from the 1920s to World War II and beyond. His parents were the children of immigrants, steeped in Eastern European customs, yet outside the home he grew up in a very Eng This evocative picture of a lost London and a vanished culture is also the story of a bookish boy discovering his own path. John Gross is the son of a Jewish doctor who practiced in the East End of London from the 1920s to World War II and beyond. His parents were the children of immigrants, steeped in Eastern European customs, yet outside the home he grew up in a very English world of comics and corner shops, sandbags and bomb sites, battered school desks and addictive, dusty cinemas. Mr. Gross looks back on his childhood with humor and insight, tracing this double inheritance. Religion underpins family life: the richness of the Yiddish language, stories, jokes and music-hall humor, the rituals and mysteries of the synagogue, are set against the life of the streets, where boxers and gangsters are heroes and patients turn up on the doorstep at all hours. And in the background, behind the wit and the color, lie the shadows of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.


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This evocative picture of a lost London and a vanished culture is also the story of a bookish boy discovering his own path. John Gross is the son of a Jewish doctor who practiced in the East End of London from the 1920s to World War II and beyond. His parents were the children of immigrants, steeped in Eastern European customs, yet outside the home he grew up in a very Eng This evocative picture of a lost London and a vanished culture is also the story of a bookish boy discovering his own path. John Gross is the son of a Jewish doctor who practiced in the East End of London from the 1920s to World War II and beyond. His parents were the children of immigrants, steeped in Eastern European customs, yet outside the home he grew up in a very English world of comics and corner shops, sandbags and bomb sites, battered school desks and addictive, dusty cinemas. Mr. Gross looks back on his childhood with humor and insight, tracing this double inheritance. Religion underpins family life: the richness of the Yiddish language, stories, jokes and music-hall humor, the rituals and mysteries of the synagogue, are set against the life of the streets, where boxers and gangsters are heroes and patients turn up on the doorstep at all hours. And in the background, behind the wit and the color, lie the shadows of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

31 review for A Double Thread: Growing Up English and Jewish in London

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Askanase

    A wonderful picture of both threads! Well written and short enough to hold my interests. Knowing he grew up to be the book editor on two great papers adds resonance.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lemar

    Very honest and unflinching book recounting the rather unusual and important experience of growing up Jewish in 20th century Britain. Extremely erudite and, appropriately, combining warmth with a certain British reserve. I loved it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mishav Bookclub

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leah Deen-Sandoval

  5. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Drnadeem

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristiwilliamson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stefano

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

  12. 5 out of 5

    Reader2007

  13. 5 out of 5

    sezen

  14. 5 out of 5

    Doug

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beanz

  16. 5 out of 5

    Baskintm

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katya

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eerik

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

  21. 4 out of 5

    Zhongyuting

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Perez

  23. 5 out of 5

    J9

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jim McGovern

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ian Knight

  28. 5 out of 5

    Camille Deaton

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

  30. 4 out of 5

    Will

  31. 5 out of 5

    Joel Tankel

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