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A Short History of the Jews
Princeton University Press / 2010 / Hardcover
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A Short History of the Jews is the story of the Jewish people told in a sweeping and powerful historical narrative. Michael Brenner chronicles the Jewish experience from Biblical times to today, tracing what is at heart a drama of migration and change, yet one that is also deeply rooted in tradition. He surveys the latest scholarly perspectives in Jewish history, making this short history the most learned yet broadly accessible book available on the subject.
Brenner takes 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. This richly illustrated book is full of fascinating and often personal stories of exodus and return, from that told about Abraham, who brought his newfound faith into the land of 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. Brenner traces the major events, developments, and personalities that have shaped Jewish history down through the centuries, and highlights the important contributions Jews have made to the arts, politics, religion, and science.
Breathtaking in scope, A Short History of the Jews is a compelling blend of storytelling and scholarship that brings the history of the Jewish people marvelously to life.
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 Abrahams journey from Ur and idolatry through the treacherous, monotheistic course of Jewish history, concluding with modern-day Israeli society. A professor of Jewish history at the University of Munich, Brenner treats much of the biblical narrative as lore, accepting as fact only those stories and time lines corroborated by extra-biblical evidence. Wandering, tradition, and tragedy emerge as themes as the Jews, once exiled from their biblical homeland of Israel, spend much of history defending their religion, being coerced to forsake it, and yearning for the re-establishment of the Temple. Tragedies have followed the Jews: Crusades, expulsions, book burnings, the Holocaust; yet there have also been periods of efflorescence and development during which the Jews have thrived and produced works of great scholarship and innovation. Brenners work successfully conveys, in a comprehensive and comprehensible fashion, the enduring history of the Jewish people. (July) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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