Rosenthal, Steven T.
ROSENTHAL, Steven T.
Male. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1968, Ph.D., 1975.
Home—Scarsdale, NY. Office—University of Hartford, Department of History, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, CT 06117. E-mail—[email protected].
University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT, associate professor of history.
The Politics of Dependency: Urban Reform in Istanbul, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1980.
Irreconcilable Differences?: The Waning of the American Jewish Love Affair with Israel, Brandeis University Press (Waltham, MA), 2001.
Steven T. Rosenthal was educated at Yale University, where he received his B.A. in 1968 and his Ph.D. in 1975. He is an associate professor of history at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. He lives in Scarsdale, New York. He has written two books on Middle Eastern affairs.
Rosenthal's first book, The Politics of Dependency: Urban Reform in Istanbul, addresses issues of modernization of the Islamic world. Rosenthal looks specifically at urban reform in the Galata/Pera district of Istanbul from 1856 to 1871. During this time Western influences spurred the formation of municipal government. The experiment was ultimately a failure, and Rosenthal blames Western involvement stating that it created a sense of dependency in the region's inhabitants. Carter V. Findley noted in American Historical Review, "Rosenthal's presentation is generally persuasive, although not equally satisfying in every respect" and that "The focus of the work … is narrow." Roderic H. Davidson of Middle East Journal acknowledged, "There are imperfections in the book" but concluded "The findings are well presented, the story is interesting, and the contribution to Ottoman and to urban history is significant."
In Irreconcilable Differences?: The Waning of the American Jewish Love Affair with Israel, published in 2001, Rosenthal analyzes the attitude of American Jews toward Israel. After Israel was founded in 1948, American Jews considered it to be an example of Judaism's greatness and equated support of the country with Jewish identity. Rosenthal argues, however, that since the 1980s, "disastrous events and conflicts—the invasion of Lebanon, the Pollard spy affair, the Palestinian intifada and the 'Who is a Jew?' crisis—have tested the silent, uncritical unity of American Jews," according to Suzy Hansen of Salon. Rosenthal believes this change in perception is a positive development and means that Israel will be held accountable for its actions, good or bad. Lawrence K. Grossman writing for the New Leader found that Rosenthal's thesis that American Jewish support for Israel is waning "is clearly true, almost banal," and that "Rosenthal provides a convenient record of the stages in the process. Yet he oversimplifies." Laurence J. Silberstein wrote in American Jewish History, "What is missing … is any serious analysis of such primary source documents as organizational records, conference minutes, and in-depth interviews," but also stated, "His book provides the reader with a convenient overview of public events over the past half-century and raises many important questions." A contributor from Publishers Weekly agreed that "firsthand accounts would have enlivened the book" yet noted, "It remains a thoughtful, accessible study." Paul Kaplan of Library Journal called the book "clearly written" and "controversial."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, June, 1981, Carter V. Findley, review of The Politics of Dependency: Urban Reform in Istanbul, p. 626.
American Jewish History, June, 2001, Laurence J. Silberstein, review of Irreconcilable Differences?: The Waning of the American Jewish Love Affair with Israel, p. 192.
History, February, 1981, Archibald R. Lewis, review of The Politics of Dependency, p. 108.
Library Journal, April 1, 2001, Paul Kaplan, review of Irreconcilable Differences?, p. 117.
Middle East Journal, winter, 1981, Roderic H. Davidson, review of The Politics of Dependency, p. 84.
New Leader, May, 2001, Lawrence K. Grossman, review of Irreconcilable Differences?, p. 23.
Salon,http://www.salon.com/ (December 14, 2001), Suzy Hansen, "Is the Honeymoon Over?."
Yale Alumni Magazine,http://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/ (September 9, 2003), review of Irreconcilable Differences?.*