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Mordecai: An Early American Family by Emily…
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Mordecai: An Early American Family (2003)

by Emily Bingham

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Epigraph
Say not of me that weakly I declined
The labours of my sires, and fled the sea,
The towers we founded and the lamps we lit,
To play at home with paper like a child.
But rather say: In the afternoon of time
A strenuous family dusted from its hands
The sand of granite, and beholding far
Along the sounding coast its pyramids
And tall memorials catch the dying sun,
Smiled well content, and to this childish task
Around the fire addressed its evening hours.

--Robert Louis Stevenson,
from Underwoods
Dedication
for Stephen, Cason, Henrietta, and the family we make
First words
One evening in 1846 in a New York City boardinghouse, a young woman confided her life story to a stranger.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809027569, Hardcover)

An Intimate Portrait of a Jewish American Family in America’s First Century

Mordecai is a brilliant multigenerational history at the forefront of a new way of exploring our past, one that follows the course of national events through the relationships that speak most immediately to us—between parent and child, sibling and sibling, husband and wife. In Emily Bingham’s sure hands, this family of southern Jews becomes a remarkable window on the struggles all Americans were engaged in during the early years of the republic.
Following Washington’s victory at Yorktown, Jacob and Judy Mordecai settled in North Carolina. Here began a three generational effort to match ambitions to accomplishments. Against the national backdrop of the Great Awakenings, Nat Turner’s revolt, the free-love experiments of the 1840s, and the devastation of the Civil War, we witness the efforts of each generation’s members to define themselves as Jews, patriots, southerners, and most fundamentally, middle-class Americans. As with the nation’s, their successes are often partial and painfully realized, cause for forging and rending the ties that bind child to parent, sister to brother, husband to wife. And through it all, the Mordecais wrote—letters, diaries, newspaper articles, books. Out of these rich archives, Bingham re-creates one family’s first century in the United States and gives this nation’s early history a uniquely personal face.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:54 -0400)

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