Carolina Israelite

How Harry Golden Made Us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights

By Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett

368 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4564-3
    Published: August 2018
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2103-6
    Published: May 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2104-3
    Published: May 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8147-2
    Published: May 2015

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This first comprehensive biography of Jewish American writer and humorist Harry Golden (1903-1981)--author of the 1958 national best-seller Only in America--illuminates a remarkable life intertwined with the rise of the civil rights movement, Jewish popular culture, and the sometimes precarious position of Jews in the South and across America during the 1950s.

After recounting Golden's childhood on New York's Lower East Side, Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett points to his stint in prison as a young man, after a widely publicized conviction for investment fraud during the Great Depression, as the root of his empathy for the underdog in any story. During World War II, the cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, and founded the Carolina Israelite newspaper, which was published into the 1960s. Golden's writings on race relations and equal rights attracted a huge popular readership. Golden used his celebrity to editorialize for civil rights as the momentous story unfolded. He charmed his way into friendships and lively correspondence with Carl Sandburg, Adlai Stevenson, Robert Kennedy, and Billy Graham, among other notable Americans, and he appeared on the Tonight Show as well as other national television programs. Hartnett's spirited chronicle captures Golden's message of social inclusion for a new audience today.

About the Author

Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett is a writer living in New Hampshire. She worked as a journalist for more than thirty years in New England and the Pacific Northwest.
For more information about Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, visit the Author Page.


"[Hartnett] does not scant any of her subject’s faults and brings out his virtues."--Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal

"[Hartnett] is a superb writer who knows what can be produced when you research the past and learn what ‘regular people’ are reading."--Robert Stepto, Washington Post

“Superbly written [and] solidly researched."--Seattle Times

“[A] highly readable and recommended biography.”--Library Journal, starred review

"[A] brisk, thoroughly researched, and mostly admiring biography."--Edward Kosner, Commentary

“Much more than the biography of one man . . . this is a well-told account of the civil rights movement, describing significant milestones in its history, the splits among its leaders, and the various forms that activism took. A solid piece of research.”--Kirkus Reviews

Multimedia & Links

Visit the author's website at

Listen: Hartnett is a guest on WFAE's Charlotte Talks program. (5/27/2015, running time 51:32)