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In the second of two volumes of this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the PBS and BBC series The Story of the Jews—Simon Schama details the story of the Jewish people, spanning from their expulsion from Spain during the Inquisition across six hundred years to the present day. It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in the face of oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds. It spans the centuries and the continents—from the Iberian Peninsula and the collapse of “the golden age” to the shtetls of Russia to the dusty streets of infant Hollywood. Its voices ring loud and clear, from the philosophical musings of Spinoza to the poetry written on slips of paper in concentration camps. Within these pages, the Enlightenment unfolds, a great diaspora transforms a country, a Viennese psychiatrist forever changes the conception of the human mind. And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a people apart, but of a Jewish culture immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled. Which, as Simon Schama so brilliantly demonstrates, makes the story of the Jews everyone’s story, too. The Story of the Jews Volume 2 features 24 pages of color photos, numerous maps, and printed endpapers.
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It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amid grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds. The first of two volumes, The Story of the Jews spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes readers to unimagined places: a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia, a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings, the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the writers of the Bible to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain. Within these pages, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world, candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, and ships loaded with spices and gems founder at sea. And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians. Which makes the story of the Jews everyone’s story.
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 BY THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, MAIL ON SUNDAY AND OBSERVER Belonging is a magnificent cultural history abundantly alive with energy, character and colour. From the Jews’ expulsion from Spain in 1492 it tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It sails in caravels, rides the stage coaches and the railways; trudges the dawn streets of London, hobbles along with the remnant of Napoleon’s ruined army. The Jewish story is a history that is about, and for, all of us. And in our own time of anxious arrivals and enforced departures, the Jews’ search for a home is more startlingly resonant than ever.
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In this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the pbs and bbc series The Story of the Jews—simon schama details the story of the jewish people, tracing their experience across three millennia, from their beginnings as an ancient tribal people to the opening of the new world in 1492 It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance in the face of destruction, of creativity in the face of oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life despite the steepest of odds. It spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain. In The Story of the Jews, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with gems and spices founder at sea. And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians. Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.
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A sweeping history of Judaism over more than three millennia Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and it has preserved its distinctive identity despite the extraordinarily diverse forms and beliefs it has embodied over the course of more than three millennia. A History of Judaism provides the first truly comprehensive look in one volume at how this great religion came to be, how it has evolved from one age to the next, and how its various strains, sects, and traditions have related to each other. In this magisterial and elegantly written book, Martin Goodman takes readers from Judaism's origins in the polytheistic world of the second and first millennia BCE to the temple cult at the time of Jesus. He tells the stories of the rabbis, mystics, and messiahs of the medieval and early modern periods and guides us through the many varieties of Judaism today. Goodman's compelling narrative spans the globe, from the Middle East, Europe, and America to North Africa, China, and India. He explains the institutions and ideas on which all forms of Judaism are based, and masterfully weaves together the different threads of doctrinal and philosophical debate that run throughout its history. A History of Judaism is a spellbinding chronicle of a vibrant and multifaceted religious tradition that has shaped the spiritual heritage of humankind like no other.
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LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE The Jewish story is a history that is about, and for, all of us. And in our own time of anxious arrivals and enforced departures, the Jews' search for a home is more startlingly resonant than ever. Belonging is a magnificent cultural history abundantly alive with energy, character and colour. It spans centuries and continents, from the Jews' expulsion from Spain in 1492 it navigates miracles and massacres, wandering, discrimination, harmony and tolerance; to the brink of the twentieth century and, it seems, a point of profound hope. It tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It sails in caravels, rides the stage coaches and the railways; trudges the dawn streets of London, hobbles along with the remnant of Napoleon's ruined army. Through Schama's passionate telling of this second chronicle in an epic tale, a history emerges of the Jewish people that feels it is the story of everyone, of humanity.
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A national bestseller, this brilliant 4000 year survey covers not only Jewish history but he impact of Jewish genius and imagination on the world. By the author of Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Eighties.
The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
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For many in Israel and elsewhere, Benjamin Netanyahu is anathema, an embarrassment; yet he continues to dominate Israeli public life. How can we explain his rise, his hold on Israeli politics, and his outsized role on the world’s stage? In Bibi, Anshel Pfeffer reveals the formative influence of Netanyahu’s father and grandfather, who bequeathed to him a once-marginal brand of Zionism combining Jewish nationalism with religious traditionalism. In the Zionist enterprise, Netanyahu embodies the triumph of the underdogs over the secular liberals who founded the nation. Netanyahu’s Israel is a hybrid of ancient phobia and high-tech hope; of tribalism and globalism — just like the man himself. We cannot understand Israel today without first understanding the man who leads it.
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Author of a number of celebrated works, including the bestselling The Story of the Jews and Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Simon Schama's latest book fuses history and art to create a tour de force of narrative sweep and illuminating insight. Using images from works-paintings, photographs, lithographs, etchings, sketches-found in London's National Portrait Gallery, The Face of Britain weaves together an account of their composition, framed by their particular moment of creation, and in the process unveils a collective portrait of nation and its history. "Portraits," Schama writes, "have always been made with an eye to posterity." Commissioned to paint Winston Churchill in 1954 Graham Sutherland struggled with how to capture the "savior" of Great Britain honestly and humanely. Schama calls the portrait, initially damned, the "most powerful image of a Great Briton ever executed." Annie Leibovitz's photograph of a nude John Lennon kissing Yoko Ono, taken five hours before his murder, bears "a weight of poignancy she could not possibly have anticipated." Hans Holbein's preparatory sketch for a portrait of Henry VIII depicts "an unstoppable engine of dynastic generation." Here are expressions from across the centuries of normalcy and heroism, beauty and disfigurement, aristocracy and deprivation, the familiar and the obscure-the faces of courtesans, warriors, workers, activists, playwrights, the high and mighty as well as pub-crawlers. Linking them is Schama's vibrant exploration of how their connective power emerges from the dynamic between subject and artist, work and viewer, time and place. Schama's compelling analysis and impassioned evocation of these works create an unforgettable verbal mosaic that at once reveals and transforms the images he places before us. Lavishly illustrated and written with the storytelling brio that is Schama's trademark, The Face of Britain invites us to look at a nation's visual legacies and find its reflection.
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From a long-time Guardian correspondent and editor, an expansive, authoritative, and balanced account of over a century of violent confrontation, war, and occupation in Palestine and Israel, published on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War In Enemies and Neighbors, Ian Black, who has spent over three decades covering events in the Middle East and is currently a fellow at the London School of Economics, offers a major new history of the Arab-Zionist conflict from 1917 to today, published on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Laying the historical groundwork in the final decades of the Ottoman Era, when the first Zionist settlers arrived in the Holy Land, Black draws on a wide range of sources—from declassified documents to oral histories to his own vivid on-the-ground reporting—to recreate the major milestones in the most polarizing conflict of the modern age from both sides. In the third year of World War I, the seed was planted for an inevitable clash: Jerusalem Governor Izzat Pasha surrendered to British troops and Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour issued a fateful document sympathizing with the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people.” The chronicle takes us through the Arab rebellion of the 1930s; the long shadow of the Nazi Holocaust; the war of 1948—culminating in Israel’s independence and the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe); the “cursed victory” of the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Palestinian re-awakening; the first and second Intifadas; the Oslo Accords; and other failed peace negotiations and continued violence up to 2017. Combining engaging narrative with historical and political analysis and cultural insights, Enemies and Neighbors is both an accessible overview and a fascinating investigation into the deeper truths of a history that continues to dominate Middle Eastern politics and diplomacy—one which has preserved Palestinians and Israelis as unequal enemies and neighbors, their conflict unresolved as prospects for a two-state solution have all but disappeared.
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This masterwork of interpretative history begins with a bold declaration: The Modern Age is the Jewish Age--and we are all, to varying degrees, Jews. The assertion is, of course, metaphorical. But it underscores Yuri Slezkine's provocative thesis. Not only have Jews adapted better than many other groups to living in the modern world, they have become the premiere symbol and standard of modern life everywhere. Slezkine argues that the Jews were, in effect, among the world's first free agents. They traditionally belonged to a social and anthropological category known as "service nomads," an outsider group specializing in the delivery of goods and services. Their role, Slezkine argues, was part of a broader division of human labor between what he calls Mercurians-entrepreneurial minorities--and Apollonians--food-producing majorities. Since the dawning of the Modern Age, Mercurians have taken center stage. In fact, Slezkine argues, modernity is all about Apollonians becoming Mercurians--urban, mobile, literate, articulate, intellectually intricate, physically fastidious, and occupationally flexible. Since no group has been more adept at Mercurianism than the Jews, he contends, these exemplary ancients are now model moderns. The book concentrates on the drama of the Russian Jews, including émigrés and their offspring in America, Palestine, and the Soviet Union. But Slezkine has as much to say about the many faces of modernity--nationalism, socialism, capitalism, and liberalism--as he does about Jewry. Marxism and Freudianism, for example, sprang largely from the Jewish predicament, Slezkine notes, and both Soviet Bolshevism and American liberalism were affected in fundamental ways by the Jewish exodus from the Pale of Settlement. Rich in its insight, sweeping in its chronology, and fearless in its analysis, this sure-to-be-controversial work is an important contribution not only to Jewish and Russian history but to the history of Europe and America as well.
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This work reflects upon the historical relationship between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East, from the origins to the present day, exploring the impact of Zionism, clashing nationalisms, and the Six-Day War. The relationship between Jews and Muslims has been a flashpoint that affects stability in the Middle East and has consequences around the globe. In this book the author challenges the standard media portrayal and presents a fascinating account of hope, opportunity, fear, and terror that have characterized these two peoples through the 1,400 years of their intertwined history. Harking back to the Biblical story of Ishmael and Isaac, he takes the reader from the origins of the fraught relationship, the refusal of Medina's Jews to accept Mohammed as a prophet, through the ages of the Crusader reconquest of the Holy Land and the great Muslim sultanates to the present day. He explores the impact of Zionism in the first half of the twentieth century, the clash of nationalisms during the Second World War, the mass expulsions and exodus of 800,000 Jews from Muslim lands following the birth of Israel, the Six-Day War and its aftermath, and the political sensitivities of the current Middle East. This book sheds light on a time of prosperity and opportunity for Jews in Muslim lands stretching from Morocco to Afghanistan, with many instances of Muslim openness, support, and courage. Drawing on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sources, the author uses archived material, poems, letters, memoirs, and personal testimony to uncover the human voice of this centuries-old conflict. Ultimately this account of mutual tolerance between Muslims and Jews provides a perspective on current events and a template for the future.
The Slaves, the British, and the American Revolution
Author: Simon Schama
Publisher: Harper Collins
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If you were black in America at the start of the Revolutionary War, which side would you want to win? When the last British governor of Virginia declared that any rebel-owned slave who escaped and served the king would be emancipated, tens of thousands of slaves fled from farms, plantations, and cities to try to reach the British camp. A military strategy originally designed to break the plantations of the American South had unleashed one of the great exoduses in U.S. history. With powerfully vivid storytelling, Schama details the odyssey of the escaped blacks through the fires of war and the terror of potential recapture, shedding light on an extraordinary, little-known chapter in the dark saga of American slavery.
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 BY THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, MAIL ON SUNDAY AND OBSERVER Belonging is a magnificent cultural history abundantly alive with energy, character and colour. From the Jews' expulsion from Spain in 1492 it tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It sails in caravels, rides the stage coaches and the railways; trudges the dawn streets of London, hobbles along with the remnant of Napoleon's ruined army. The Jewish story is a history that is about, and for, all of us. And in our own time of anxious arrivals and enforced departures, the Jews' search for a home is more startlingly resonant than ever.
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Who are the Jews--a race, a people, a religious group? For over a century, non-Jews and Jews alike have tried to identify who they were--first applying the methods of physical anthropology and more recently of population genetics. In Legacy, Harry Ostrer, a medical geneticist and authority on the genetics of the Jewish people, explores not only the history of these efforts, but also the insights that genetics has provided about the histories of contemporary Jewish people. Much of the book is told through the lives of scientific pioneers. We meet Russian immigrant Maurice Fishberg; Australian Joseph Jacobs, the leading Jewish anthropologist in fin-de-siècle Europe; Chaim Sheba, a colorful Israeli geneticist and surgeon general of the Israeli Army; and Arthur Mourant, one of the foremost cataloguers of blood groups in the 20th century. As Ostrer describes their work and the work of others, he shows that to look over the genetics of Jewish groups, and to see the history of the Diaspora woven there, is truly a marvel. Here is what happened as the Jews migrated to new places and saw their numbers wax and wane, as they gained and lost adherents and thrived or were buffeted by famine, disease, wars, and persecution. Many of these groups--from North Africa, the Middle East, India--are little-known, and by telling their stories, Ostrer brings them to the forefront at a time when assimilation is literally changing the face of world Jewry. A fascinating blend of history, science, and biography, Legacy offers readers an entirely fresh perspective on the Jewish people and their history. It is as well a cutting-edge portrait of population genetics, a field which may soon take its place as a pillar of group identity alongside shared spirituality, shared social values, and a shared cultural legacy.
Philosemitism in England, from Cromwell to Churchill
Author: Gertrude Himmelfarb
Publisher: Encounter Books
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The history of Judaism has for too long been dominated by the theme of antisemitism, reducing Judaism to the recurrent saga of persecution and the struggle for survival. The history of philosemitism provides a corrective to that abysmal view, a reminder of the venerable religion and people that have been an inspiration for non-Jews as well as Jews. There is a poetic justice – or historic justice – in the fact that England, the first country to expel the Jews in medieval times, has produced the richest literature of philosemitism in modern times. From Cromwell supporting the readmission of the Jews in the 17th century, to Macaulay arguing for the admission of Jews as Members of Parliament in the 19th century, to Churchill urging the recognition of the state of Israel in the 20th, some of England's most eminent writers and statesmen have paid tribute to Jews and Judaism. Their speeches and writing are powerfully resonant today. As are novels by Walter Scott, Disraeli, and George Eliot, which anticipate Zionism well before the emergence of that movement and look forward to the state of Israel, not as a refuge for the persecuted, but as a "homeland" rooted in Jewish history. A recent history of antisemitism in England regretfully observes that English philosemitism is "a past glory." This book may recall England – and not only England – to that past glory and inspire other countries to emulate it. It may also reaffirm Jews in their own faith and aspirations.
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An accessible introduction to the classics of Jewish literature, from the Bible to modern times, by “one of America’s finest literary critics” (Wall Street Journal). Jews have long embraced their identity as “the people of the book.” But outside of the Bible, much of the Jewish literary tradition remains little known to nonspecialist readers. The People and the Books shows how central questions and themes of our history and culture are reflected in the Jewish literary canon: the nature of God, the right way to understand the Bible, the relationship of the Jews to their Promised Land, and the challenges of living as a minority in Diaspora. Adam Kirsch explores eighteen classic texts, including the biblical books of Deuteronomy and Esther, the philosophy of Maimonides, the autobiography of the medieval businesswoman Glückel of Hameln, and the Zionist manifestoes of Theodor Herzl. From the Jews of Roman Egypt to the mystical devotees of Hasidism in Eastern Europe, The People and the Books brings the treasures of Jewish literature to life and offers new ways to think about their enduring power and influence.
How Liberating Europe's Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance
Author: Michael Goldfarb
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
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The first popular history of the Emancipation of Europe’s Jews in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—a transformation that was startling to those who lived through it and continues to affect the world today. Freed from their ghettos, Jews ushered in a second renaissance. Within a century Marx, Freud, and Einstein created revolutions in politics, human science, and physics that continue to shape our world. Proust, Schoenberg, Mahler, and Kafka redefined artistic expression. Emancipation reformed the practice of Judaism, encouraged some to imagine a modern nation of their own, and within decades led to the dream of Zionism.