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A Double Thread Growing up English and Jewish in London

ISBN 1566634245 / 9781566634243 / 1-56663-424-5

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Book summary

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. [via]