Drawn to an image of her great-grandfathers ornately carved cane, scholar Elisa New embarked on a journey to discover the origins of her precious family heirloom. Treading back across the paths of her ancestors, she travels from Baltimore to the Baltic to London in order to find and understand an immigrant world profoundly affected by modern German culture, from the Enlightenment through the Holocaust. Deeply ambitious in its narrative sweep, Jacobs Cane captures the rich texture of life on several continents as News family searches to establish itself in the tobacco trade. A fascinating history of one familys story of progress, innovation, and struggle, Jacobs Cane will change the way we think about the Jewish American experience.
Elisa New is Professor of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University. She is the author of The Line's Eye and The Regenerate Lyric. She lives with her husband, Larry Summers, the economist and former president of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.