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Jacob's Gift: A Journey into the Heart of Belonging Paperback – 25 May 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (25 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141014911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141014913
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.7 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 559,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. He has been a columnist at the Guardian since 1997 and was named Columnist of the Year in the 2002 What the Papers Say awards. His first book, Bring Home the Revolution, was published in 1988.

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Jacob was, if anything, too eager to see the world. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sc0tty on 27 Dec 2006
Format: Hardcover
This a gripping tale of a number of Mr Freeland's antecedents.

Their stories are interwoven with some of the key events of the Twentieth Century.

The lives portrayed are both inspirational and at the same time a sad reflection on the shallow and cynical world in which we find ourselves today.

However I feel there is one minor fault, which is the final chapter. I find this an unconvincing attempt to rationalise the conflicts of his Jewish (largely secular) identity and the world of progressive/socialist thought to which the rest of his identity belongs.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Feb 2005
Format: Hardcover
this is a great book. it is about mr freedland's search for his identity as a jewish person who half admires and also despises all israel stands for. confusing this would be in the hands of a lesser writer. mr freedland pulls it off thanks to his brilliant mind and awesome prose.as someone who has had doubts about israel in the past this book puts the case well for israel. i for one am now convinced.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was recommended to me. It was published several years ago, and I bought it used. It is a great book, beautifully written, with great warmth and feeling. It is an insight into a Jewish Family, going back to the migration during the Pogroms, through life in the East End of London, pre-independent Israel, and seen through the eyes of Freedland's Mother, and great uncles. I was sad to finish it.
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By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is not a book I would have chosen to read - it was a Book Group selection. Jonathan Freedland explores his Jewish heritage and offers it as a gift to his young son. He does this by focusing on specific relatives and trying to relate the history of the Jewish people through them. Nat Mindel (his great-great uncle) is a curiously ambiguous figure. He is proud of his acquired British citizenship and is a willing servant of the British Empire but he manages to combine this with his Zionist tendencies. His uncle Mick is also a larger-than-life character full of revolutionary zeal as he tries to organise the sweat-shop workers of the East End. But none of his forebears are seen through rose-tinted spectacles - Freedland describes them with affection but is unafraid to describe their flaws.

The most interesting story he tells is that of his mother Sarah Hocherman - what an amazing life. Her story could have been a book in its own right.

Apart from recording tales of his family Freedland explores other facets of Judaism - its long history, its traditions and its inconsistencies. The mention of the genetic/DNA background of the various Jewish peoples was fascinating (and could have been expanded). He tries to take a dispassionate look at all the issues - he is clearly uncomfortable about some actions carried out in the cause of Zionism and even looks into some of the causes of anti-semitism.

Jacob's Gift is well researched and written in an easy novelistic style. The family tree at the beginning was helpful - but I would have liked some dates to have been included.
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