Praise for The Peddler’s Grandson
“The Peddler’s Grandson takes a clear-eyed look at the changing world of the twentieth century South, beginning with the arrival of Cohen’s immigrant grandparents, a world in which he is both outsider—as a Jew among Christians—and insider as member of a large and intimate clan. Cohen is an unsentimental, yet complex and moving and unsparingly honest writer, and his story is absorbing.”
- Ellen Douglas
Author of Apostles of Light and Can’ t Quit You, Baby.
“Mississippi has always been far more culturally complex than its black/white stereotype would allow. Some of my fondest memories, growing up in Alligator, Mississippi, were of Kline’s sundries store. In his humorous and touching narrative, rich with anecdote and detail, Edward does a wonderful job of evoking better than a hundred years of one Jewish family’s part in the ongoing story of this craziest of all states. From Moishe to Edward, the Cohens assimilated and yet maintained their own identities, individual and cultural. Their story reads like a generational novel. It couldn’t be more germane, in this age of increasing diaspora and fusion, and will fascinate any lover of human nature the world over.”
- Jack Butler
Pulitzer Prize nominee and Faulker/PEN nominee
for Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock.
“The Peddler’s Grandson is an intelligent and candid account of the author’s love-hate relationship with each of the two powerful, often conflicting cultures that shaped him. You do not have to be Southern and/or Jewish to recognize the importance of this beautifully written book.”
- Stella Suberman
Author of The Jew Store.
“… a poignant memoir of truth and discovery of how a wandering Jewish family was fashioned into Southerners by the power of the South and her traditions.”
- Clifton L. Taulbert
Author of Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored and The Last Train North.
"A delightful, beautifully written memoir. Edward Cohen takes us on an insightful journey in which he learns why being a southern Jew is not a double curse but a double blessing.”
- Marc Rosenbaum
Editor of Heart of a Wife: The Diary of a Southern Jewish Woman.
“This wry and riveting memoir is by that one in a thousand, Southern by birth and Jewish by the grace of God—or is it the other way around? Raised in Jackson, Mississippi (surely one of the farther flung corners of Jewry), Cohen shows us that there are different ways of being Southern than the old familiar ones and, Lord knows, different ways of being Jewish.”
- John Shelton Reed
Author of The Enduring South and Whistling Dixie: Dispatches from the South.
Reviews of The Peddler’s Grandson
“Vividly detailed ... sometimes painfully funny, sometimes painfully honest…you walk away from The Peddler’s Grandson with a sense of the importance of making a separate peace, and understanding that a person can be defined not by how he fits into the world, but how he stands defiant in the face of a world apart.”
- USA Today
“This thoughtful and beautifully written memoir is a revelation about the allure of assimilation and the evasiveness of identity.”
“An author who has both love and a clear eye.... a beautiful book."
- Chicago Sun-Times
“Tender… filled with gentle humor and self-deprecating honesty, the story is an outsider’s look at a place that never felt like his until he left…. The memoir also is hilarious.”
- San Jose Mercury
“A poignant account ... a story that begs to be told.”
- Tampa Tribune
“A thoughtful account of assimilation and separation.”
- Dallas Morning News
“A beautifully written but brutally honest account.... His writing style and mastery of the language make The Peddler's Grandson a book not merely to be read and enjoyed, but one to be savored.”
- Northeast Mississippi Journal
“An absorbing memoir, gracefully written.
- New York Jewish Week
“A diamond-like telling of his outsider’s life…. Normally a book like this peters out as it approaches the author's adulthood, but just as he is leaving Jackson, the Civil Rights struggle blows in at gale strength, nearly destroying his family's store. Cohen's telling of the change, and of his family's complex relationship with the blacks who were their customers and who worked for them is, like the book itself, a small masterpiece of subtlety and candor.”
- Chicago JUF News
“Edward Cohen deserves our gratitude for writing this fine memoir, if for no other reason than for writing this about his days in Miami: ‘I was a lost tribe of one. Everybody else knew holidays like Simchas Torah, and I knew Confederate Memorial Day.’”
-The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Program
“…rich with detail…. Ultimately more tender than bitter, concluding with his awareness that both the South and Judaism shape his behavior, his ideals and his memory.”
- Philadelphia Inquirer
“… reveals both universal truths and enlightening, esoteric details.”
- Oxford Town
“…an absolute must-read for anyone interested in Jackson’s cultural history…a poignant portrait of the artist as a young outsider.”
- Mississippi Magazine
“…a well-written memoir that sheds light on what it was like to grow up Jewish—and white—in the South in the 1950’s.”
- Washington Jewish Week
“That Cohen can cross the divide between Southerner and Jew at will is at the heart of this story. Without his journey, the reader would miss the opportunity to share his unique perspective on an explosive era in the South.”
- Jackson, Tennessee Sun
“An introspective, revealing, but thankfully, not narcissistic account.”
- Jewish Press, Omaha
“…frank, engaging, thoughtful, well-written… a vivid picture of his origins and family life."
- AJL Newsletter
“How Cohen comes to terms with his identities makes for fascinating reading.”
- Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience Newsletter
“Engrossing, funny, very entertaining…. It draws you in completely .…a must-read for anyone who has ever loved something but still remained somewhat an outsider.”
“Cohen’s critically acclaimed memoir … conveys not only his story, but ours as well."
- Miami Magazine
“Beautifully written… moving.”
- San Francisco Chronicle
“A marvelous memoir… This enjoyable, well-written book, rapidly involves the reader, and effortlessly invites us to become part of the wider Cohen clan…”
- The Rocky Mountain