A Short History of the Jews

A Short History of the Jews

3.91 (97 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is a sweeping and powerful narrative history of the Jewish people from biblical times to today. Based on the latest scholarship and richly illustrated, it is the most authoritative and accessible chronicle of the Jewish experience available. Michael Brenner tells a dramatic story of change and migration deeply rooted in tradition, taking readers from the mythic wanderings of Moses to the unspeakable atrocities of the Holocaust; from the Babylonian exile to the founding of the modern state of Israel; and from the Sephardic communities under medieval Islam to the shtetls of eastern Europe and the Hasidic enclaves of modern-day Brooklyn. The book is full of fascinating personal stories of exodus and return, from that told about Abraham, who brought his newfound faith into Canaan, to that of Holocaust survivor Esther Barkai, who lived on a kibbutz established on a German estate seized from the Nazi Julius Streicher as she awaited resettlement in Israel.
Describing the events and people that have shaped Jewish history, and highlighting the important contributions Jews have made to the arts, politics, religion, and science, "A Short History of the Jews" is a compelling blend of storytelling and scholarship that brings the Jewish past marvelously to life.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 440 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 34.8mm | 1,021g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 92 halftones. 1 table. 5 maps.
  • 069114351X
  • 9780691143514
  • 1,018,909

Table of contents

Chapter 1: From Ur to Canaan A Wandering People 1 Chapter 2: From Exile Back Home Priests and Prophets 19 Chapter 3: From Hebrew into Greek Disdain and Admiration 31 Chapter 4: From Modiin to Jerusalem A Jewish State Stands and Falls 39 Chapter 5: From Jerusalem to Yavneh The Diaspora Legitimates Itself 55 Chapter 6: From Medina to Baghdad Under Islamic Rule 69 Chapter 7: From Sura to Cordoba Sepharad--Jewish Culture on the Iberian Peninsula 83 Chapter 8: From Lucca to Mainz Ashkenaz--The Roots of Central European Jewry 95 Chapter 9: From Lisbon to Venice Expulsions and Their Aftermath 117 Chapter 10: From Khaybar to Rome Messianic and Mystical Movements 137 Chapter 11: From West to East A New Center in Poland 151 Chapter 12: From Dessau to Berlin Rural Jews, Court Jews, and Enlightenment Philosophers 167 Chapter 13: From the Ghetto to Civil Society Political Emancipation and Religious Reform 189 Chapter 14: From Posen to New Orleans Starting Over in America 209 Chapter 15: From the Shtetl to the Lower East Side East European Jewish Dreams and American Realities 223 Chapter 16: From Budapest to Tel Aviv An "Old New Land" in Zion 255 Chapter 17: From T?touan to Teheran The Europeanization of Jews in the Islamic World 273 Chapter 18: From Czernowitz to Cerna?ut,i Political Crisis and Cultural Florescence between the Wars 287 Chapter 19: From Everywhere to Auschwitz Annihilation 319 Chapter 20: From Julius Streicher's Farm to the Kibbutz The Jewish World after the Holocaust 349 Appendix: Jewish History in Numbers 389 Further Reading 393 Picture Credits 401 Index of Names 405 Index of Place Names 415
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Review quote

As the title indicates, this is a compact survey of Jewish history, an introduction for general readers. Still, Professor Brenner manages to cover a great deal of ground while effectively explaining many of the key elements of the Jewish experience. From biblical times to the present, Brenner asserts, a recurring theme of Jewish history is migration, yet it is migration that constantly kept the land of Israel as the focus of Jewish emotions and aspirations... On the whole, this work serves as an excellent introduction. -- Jay Freeman Booklist In this concise but all-encompassing account of the Jews, Brenner (After the Holocaust) does a remarkable job of escorting readers from the biblical narrative of Abraham's journey from Ur and idolatry through the treacherous, monotheistic course of Jewish history, concluding with modern-day Israeli society. Publishers Weekly Religion Book Line This is an excellent overview of Jewish history--a well-written, up-to-date survey for college students and the general reader. Considering the scope of the coverage, the book is remarkably concise. The explanations under the attractive illustrations aptly point to their relevance in the period being discussed. -- Robert Seltzer H-Net Reviews Brenner offers a digestible, interesting, complex history, in an accessible format. Jewish Book World Recommended. -- Sandra Collins Library Journal A Short History of the Jews is well-written and Jeremiah Riemer's translation from the German is quite readable. All in all, an excellent source for the reader, Jewish or otherwise. -- Ed Sizemore Denton Record-Chronicle This elegantly produced, generously illustrated text attempts the impossible--the telling of 3,000 years of Jewish history in less than 400 pages. Choice Michael Brenner's lavishly illustrated and authoritative A Short History of the Jews is not exactly short, given its 421 pages with the index. But since he is dealing with about 3,000 years, Brenner's feat of condensation is commendable. -- Sheldon Kirshner Canadian Jewish News [A]n interesting survey and good place to start for any reader curious about the history of the Jewish people in their societies. -- Jay Howard Geller Canadian Journal of History
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About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is professor of Jewish history and culture at the University of Munich. His books include "Zionism: A Brief History" and "After the Holocaust: Rebuilding Jewish Lives in Postwar Germany" (Princeton).
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Rating details

97 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 24% (23)
4 48% (47)
3 23% (22)
2 5% (5)
1 0% (0)
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