Cover

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Front Matter

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Contents

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Series Foreword

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p. vii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xvi

I came to this project to honor two men I loved: my father, Monroe Moosnick, and my adopted grandfather, Mousa Ackall. Both men knew fabrics....

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xviii

Th is book did not develop in a vacuum. I had support and a good deal of it. To start, I must thank the men and women who took the time to chat with me, holding enough trust to believe that I would portray their lives with sensitivity....

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Introduction

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pp. 1-14

Strong images come to mind when thinking about Arabs and Jews and their religions, ethnicities, and lands. Arabs, in particular, are in the public eye and under scrutiny in contemporary America. Th ey are widely viewed as “foreign” and Muslim, an attitude that neglects the many Arabs who may be...

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1. Complexities

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pp. 15-33

This work is multilayered and polyphonic. Th e seemingly simple assertion that it is about Arab and Jewish women with businesses in Kentucky proves misleading. Th is chapter is therefore committed to multiplying the dimensions of the stories told and exposing the many tiers that exist. Characterizing...

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2. Publicly Exceptional

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pp. 35-73

Three extraordinary women are featured in this chapter. Howard Myers narrates the story of his aunts, Sarah and Frances Myers, from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Who wouldn’t be impressed with these two Jewish women? They brought big-city sophistication to rural Kentucky from the 1930s to the...

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3. Maternal Echoes

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pp. 75-110

Expectations are h igh for mothers. Women are supposed to mother, and they are supposed to do it well. Th at’s a lot of pressure. Some almost mythic renderings assume that women come into their own in the company of children and that good mothers relinquish any sense of self with the advent of off spring....

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4. Into Focus

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pp. 111-148

In this chapter, the stories of Manar Shalash and Sawsan Salem, who are Muslim, are coupled with that of Renee Hymson, who is Jewish. Manar and Sawsan are in their forties, and each has four children. Renee is in her l ate seventies; she has...

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5. Archetypal and Distant Figures

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pp. 149-172

How does one write about women who have long since died— women who, if alive, would be well over a hundred years old and whose sons, who are relaying their stories, are themselves old men? In this chapter, ninety-one-year-old Mike Rowady...

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Conclusion

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pp. 173-179

Family characters from the past can take on larger-than-life personas in the present when people look back. Th is tendency points toward something largely unaddressed in this work—namely, how people choose to narrate their own lives or those of loved ones. Over time, personal and ancestral tales evolve in line with cultural discourses that transform immigrants and their close family...

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Postscript

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pp. 181-187

Nearly two decades ago, when I embarked on my first qualitative work interviewing black activists, the practice of documenting ordinary lives was known outside of academia, but it was not widely done. Today, by contrast, lives are incessantly recorded in books, films, photographs, reality television shows, and social networking sites. Is there a point at which we document...

Notes

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pp. 189-194

Bibliography

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pp. 195-199

Index

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pp. 201-208