Folger and the Community

Engaging with the District



This reading list has been compiled by CrossTalk DC partner, the DC Public Library. Many thanks to Librarian Kari Mitchell and Special Collections Manager Kerrie Cotten Williams. These books are available at or through your local branch library. Check out Part 1.

Garfinkle, A. M. (2009). Jewcentricity: Why the Jews are Praised, Blamed, and Used to Explain Just About Everything. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

A wide-ranging analysis of pro-Jewish and anti-Semitic beliefs in today’s world draws on insights from a range of disciplines to explain how a misunderstanding of strategies that have promoted Jewish Diaspora have led to broad distortions about Jewish influence, intelligence, and success.


Garfinkle, M. (2005). The Jewish Community of Washington, D.C. Charleston, SC: Arcadia.

The Jewish community of Washington, D.C., located in the political nexus of the United States, has often enjoyed attention from people of every level of influence, including the president of the United States. On May 3, 1925, Calvin Coolidge attended the cornerstone laying ceremony of the Washington Jewish Community Center. Herbert Hoover, as a former president, was vocal in his denunciation of Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews. His voice garnered the support of many United States senators in 1943, including two from Maryland and one from Virginia. Ronald Reagan sent his personal regards to the Ohev Shalom Talmud Torah Congregation on their 100th anniversary celebration on April 10, 1986.


Gates, H. L., & West, C. (1996). The Future of the Race. New York, NY: A.A. Knopf.

In a groundbreaking collaboration, and taking the great W.E.B. DuBois as their model, two of America’s foremost African-American intellectuals address the dreams, fears, aspirations, and responsibilities of the black community — especially the black elite — on the eve of the 21st century.


Giroux, H. A. (2013). Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

Youth in Revolt chronicles the escalating backlash against dissent and peaceful protest while exposing a lack of governmental concern for society’s most vulnerable populations. Henry Giroux carefully documents a wide range of phenomena, from pervasive violent imagery in our popular culture to educational racism, censorship, and the growing economic inequality we face. He challenges the reader to consider the hope for democratic renewal embodied by Occupy Wall Street and other emerging movements. Encouraging a capacity for critical thought, compassion, and informed judgment, Giroux’s analysis allows us to rethink the very nature of what democracy means and what it might look like in the United States and beyond.


Gold, M. (2009). Jews Without Money (Re-Issue ed.). New York, NY: PublicAffairs.

As a writer and political activist in early-twentieth-century America, Michael Gold was an important presence on the American cultural scene for more than three decades. Beginning in the 1920s his was a powerful journalistic voice for social change and human rights, and Jews Without Money — the author’s only novel — is a passionate record of the times. First published in 1930, this fictionalized autobiography offered an unusually candid look at the thieves, gangsters, and ordinary citizens who struggled against brutal odds in lower East Side Manhattan. Like Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep and Abraham Cahan’s The Rise and Fall of David Levinsky, Jews Without Money is a literary landmark of the Jewish experience.


Hertzberg, A. (2002). A Jew in America: My Life and a People’s Struggle for Identity. San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco.

Undaunted by controversy, Hertzberg has been the moral conscience of American Jews, taking a stand on all the great issues of our time, from the creation of Israel through the Civil Rights movement to the Vietnam War and the highly fractious world of Jews today both here and abroad. Hertzberg is not willing to cede the great tradition either to religious fundamentalists or to the completely secularized. His life is a window onto the forces that have buffeted and strengthened Jews in our times, and his compelling story is an important portrait of the history and culture of the twentieth century, including his dealings with such luminaries as Golda Meir, Martin Luther King Jr., and Henry Kissinger.


Hobbs, J. (2014). The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League. New York, NY: Scribner.

A heartfelt, and riveting biography of the short life of a talented young African-American man who escapes the slums of Newark for Yale University only to succumb to the dangers of the streets — and of one’s own nature — when he returns home.

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