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A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Sarna, Author of When General Grant Expelled the Jews

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Dr. Jonathan Sarna

Conflict and uncertainty can make life difficult for minorities in the United States.  As we’ve seen, events of the last decade have led some to be suspicious of American Moslems.  This isn’t new in our history.  During the U.S. Civil War, it was Jewish Americans who came under suspicion.  Adding to existing prejudices were broad accusations of trading with Confederates and undermining the Union.  Things came to a head in December 1862 when U.S. Major General, and future President, Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order Number 11 expelling all Jews from areas under his command, including western Kentucky.  But, thanks largely to a Paducah shopkeeper, it was rescinded soon after.  How the order came to be, how it was revoked, and how it strengthened both Grant and the American Jewish community is the subject of a new book by Dr. Jonathan Sarna titled When General Grant Expelled the Jews and I spoke with him from his office at Brandeis University.

Todd Hatton hails from Paducah, Kentucky, where he got into radio under the auspices of the late, great John Stewart of WKYX while a student at Paducah Community College. He also worked at WKMS in the reel-to-reel tape days of the early 1990s before running off first to San Francisco, then Orlando in search of something to do when he grew up. He received his MFA in Creative Writing at Murray State University. He vigorously resists adulthood and watches his wife, Angela Hatton, save the world one plastic bottle at a time.
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