Thursday, March 5, 2020

Audiobook Review: The Minuteman by Greg Donahue

Title: The Minuteman
Author: Greg Donahue
Narrator: Jonathan Davis
Publication: January 2nd 2020 by Audible Original

Genre: Nonfiction, History
Purchase it on: Amazon/Audible
Rating: 4/5

In the early 1930’s, pro-Nazi groups began popping up across the US in an attempt to drum up support among recent immigrants for the fascist movement developing back home. With a large German population, Newark, New Jersey became a hotbed for this kind of Nazi recruitment, with pro-fascist groups like the German-American Bund staging parades, screening anti-Semitic films, and organizing boycotts of Jewish business and politicians through the city. But at the time, Newark was also the epicenter of the Jewish mob and Abner ‘Longie’ Zwillman, known as the “Al Capone of New Jersey,” who had made a fortune in gambling, bootlegging and racketeering and controlled the city’s ports and police force, helped organize a group of ex-boxers, factory workers and students to defend the city’s Jewish interests. The group dubbed themselves ‘The Minutemen’ - ready at a moment’s notice - and took to breaking up Nazi gatherings using a combination of stink bombs, baseball bats, lead pipes and brass knuckles.

Greg Donahue’s The Minuteman, tells the story of one of Newark’s native sons; ex-prizefighter and longtime Zwillman enforcer Sidney Abramowitz, a.k.a. Nat Arno, who took over leadership of the Minutemen in 1934 and made it his personal business to put an end to what he saw as the Bund’s “anti-American” activities. For six years, Arno and his crew of vigilantes battled Newark’s Nazis at every turn. The Minuteman is a story of the ethics of violence in the face of fascism; a forgotten legacy that is as relevant now as it was nearly a hundred years ago.

Photos included in cover art courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of NJ - Warren Grover Collection.

The Minuteman by Greg Donahue was a surprising, easy to listen to nonfiction about a lesser known fragment of American history that I quite liked. It was a little less than two hours long so I finished it fairly quickly. I also liked that the chapters were pretty short so often I told myself I could listen to another chapter and another. You know how it goes.

I had never heard about the Minutemen who fought nazis in America and definitly not about Nat Arno (a boxer) who took over the leadership of them in 1934. I knew there were people in the US that were pro nazi party but I didn't realize it was all as big as it was. So yeah punching nazis is always a good thing in my opinion. 

As short as the book was it did give me a good view on who Arno was. I gotta say it wasn't all possitive even with all the Nazi fighting. Because he told a girl to call him when she grew it which is kinda sketch and weird. But I guess that shows how the author, Greg Donahue, didn't only highlight the good things Arno did.

Jonathan Davis was a great narrator. He had a nice voice and I liked listening to him. So far this book doesn't seem to have the best ratings on Goodreads which I don't really get because as far as historical nonfictions go it was a really good one in my opinion. So definitely don't hesitate to pick this one up. 


  1. That's crazy that this happened in New Jersey, which is where I've lived all my life, and I never heard of this!

  2. This shows how much history is hidden from us!

  3. Huh. This sounds like such a good part of history -- though the sketchy bit was well, sketchy.

  4. I have to admit I know nothing about the Minutemen at all so it sounds like I could learn a lot from listening to this one, and it wouldn't take me too long either. I am also glad the author is very honest and shares about the good and the bad!


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