BKMT READING GUIDES

Gentleman's Agreement
by Laura Z. Hobson

Published: 2007-03-01
Paperback : 280 pages
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The plot of GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT concerns the experiences of a young Gentile writer who poses as a Jew in order to secure material on anti-Semitism for a series of magazine articles. A thesis novel concerning the social and economic aspects of anti-Semitism in American life. Timely when issued in ...
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Introduction

The plot of GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT concerns the experiences of a young Gentile writer who poses as a Jew in order to secure material on anti-Semitism for a series of magazine articles. A thesis novel concerning the social and economic aspects of anti-Semitism in American life. Timely when issued in 1947 - timely today. Number 1 position on the New York Times Best Seller List for five straight months in 1947. Film version chosen as Best Picture of the Year by the New York Film Critics Circle. "If a masterful work of art is one which probes deep into the consciousness of the beholder to create a lasting impression and to forge and refine the higher human impulses, then GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT deserves such a description. It is a rare combination of absorbing story and statement of a current problem." - The Indianapolis Star

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Prior to publication, this book was serialized and published through Cosmopolitan Magazine. When first published in 1947, Gentleman’s Agreement was an instant bestseller and literary sensation, selling over 1.6 million copies and soon after translated into 13 other languages. This fascinating story of anti-Semitism among the upper crust was also adapted into an award-winning major motion picture directed by Elia Kazan and starring Gregory Peck. Its thought-provoking themes of bigotry and class exclusionism, excellent storytelling and rich characters make it a wonderful book club pick—and, in fact, it has been spotlighted as a major book club recommendation through the Literary Guild and Book of the Month Club.

“To the shame of human decency, the brutal and the subtle cruelties [of anti-Semitism] have often been ignored. They cannot be ignored in Gentleman’s Agreement.” —The New York Times

"If a masterful work of art is one which probes deep into the consciousness of the beholder to create a lasting impression and to forge and refine the higher human impulses, then Gentleman’s Agreement deserves such a description. It is a rare combination of absorbing story and statement of a current problem." —The Indianapolis Star

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

"What did I try to do with the book? I think a woman who wrote to me put it in two wonderful sentences. She says, 'Villains aren't really frightening. It's the millions of nice people who do, and allow, villainous things.' I think that's the gist of what I was trying to say."—Laura Z. Hobson in Cosmopolitan Magazine, July 1947

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