Book review: 'When General Grant Expelled the Jews' by Jonathan D. Sarna

Dec. 17, 2012, will mark the 150th anniversary of the notorious anti-Jewish order by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. “When General Grant Expelled the Jews” (Nextbook, $24.95) by Jonathan D. Sarna looks at this piece of American history.
BY BENET EXTON Published: March 11, 2012
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“When General Grant Expelled the Jews” (Nextbook, $24.95) by Jonathan D. Sarna looks at an unusual piece of American history.

Dec. 17, 2012, will mark the 150th anniversary of the notorious anti-Jewish order by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. He unwittingly issued an order to expel all Jews from certain areas of Kentucky that were part of Grant's war zone.

Grant was intending to remove people who were smuggling things in and out of the war zone, most of whom were Jewish, or at least he thought they were.

Grant mistakenly decided to expel all Jews, a move that provoked Jewish leaders in the area.

They contacted other leaders and eventually Abraham Lincoln, who had the order countermanded.

The expelling of the Jews remained a sore spot between Grant and the Jewish community, and Sarna shows how Grant was eventually able to be forgiven and to win Jewish support for his presidency.

Several Jews were appointed to government positions during Grant's administration.

This book is highly recommended to those interested in the Civil War and American Jewish history.

— Benet Exton



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