Mr. Goldfarb has indeed written an excellent history of the emancipation of Europe's Jews, well-researched but adding almost nothing new to the story. He writes with the commendable style of a good journalist who avoids commentary. This is fine as far as it goes, but even in his epilogue, where he depicted individual responses to being emancipated, he seemingly leaves its beneficiaries unable to actualize that status, albeit through no innate fault of their own.
Had he shaped his narrative using the term modernity, he might have provided a coherency to the story. He opens with Spinoza, the first 'Modern' Jew, but fails to grasp the import of the word. He correctly focuses on the fact that it was Gentiles who initiated Emancipation, without overtly stating that without them there would have been no Emancipation. Jews locked inside of Ghetto walls were in no position to initiate anything (and as he also states, did not, in many cases, want to).
He makes much of the self-emancipation of Jews in Vienna, but does not attach any consequence to the fact that the society they created there was, while German-speaking, not 'German', as pointed out by the reactions of the Anti-Semites he cites.
One quibble: Mr. Goldfarb translates all German newspaper names into English every time, but from French only at the first occurence. In addition, he does not translate Alliance Israelite Universelle at all, assuming that his audience is like him, conversant in French. This is confirmed in his bibliography, which includes sources in French, but nothing in German (even if in translation). Perhaps that is an explanation for his usage of 'The Jewish State' as the English translation of 'Der Judenstaat', when in fact it should be 'The Jews' State', not quite the same thing.
'Emancipation into What?' might have been a better title, but the author never asked the question, and so this book remains limited to telling a story without a point.