A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America Book Review

The United States is made up of people whose ancestors originated from another part of the world. As their ancestors immigrated to America and became American, many changed their names.

Kirsten Fermaglich’s 2018 book A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America, examines how and why, over the past few decades, American Jews changed their names. Whether it was due to assimilation, prejudice or educational/economic opportunity, many American Jews chose to, for lack of a better term, change their names to sound less Jewish.

The best way to describe this book is as a niche read. It almost comes across as a college textbook. I would say that unless this topic is of interest or it is being used as reference for an academic work, this book would not interest the average reader. Though I have to admit that I was both saddened and intrigued by the latter chapters that spoke about other immigrant groups and ethnic minorities that also changed their names.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History

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