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BELLA SPEWACK was a reporter, press agent, and short story writer. She is the author, with Sam Spewack, of over 35 films and plays, including Kiss Me, Kate (written with Cole Porter).

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A Memoir of the Lower East Side
Bella Spewack

Introduction by Ruth Limmer. Afterword by Lois Elias.

In this critically acclaimed memoir, Bella Spewack describes the sights, sounds, and characters of urban Jewish immigrant life after the turn of the century. Witty, street-smart, and unsentimental, Bella Spewack was a genuine American heroine who went on to become a celebrated author. Booklist comments, “The book provides a startling, clear-eyed look at the difficult life millions endured."

"Streets gives us an idea of how the immigrant experience has changed, for better and worse . . . and how it has remained the same."

Los Angeles Times

"Written in the stark, naturalistic prose of a born journalist, the book provides a startling, clear-eyed look at the difficult life millions endured in what sentimentalists call a simpler, happier time in America."


"[Bella Spewack's] voice is strong and individual. Her executors did well to bring the story to publication . . . after her death at the age of ninety-one."

The New York Times Book Review

"Bella's early skills as a writer are evident in her bitter caricatures of the adults who populated this hallucinatory cityscape. Her talents and determination were her ticket out, though she leaves us mindful of the many others who had no such strengths to draw on, and no such fortunate escape."

The Boston Globe

"Streets tells both the history of one immigrant girl's struggle to survive and the general history of Jewish immigration to the lower East Side. . . . Ultimately, Streets . . . represents a triumph of will and spirit."

—Jewish Week