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A Short History of the Jews Paperback – 12 Mar 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (12 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069115497X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691154978
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 919,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"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

From the Back Cover

"Drawing on the best recent scholarship and wearing his formidable learning lightly, Michael Brenner has produced a remarkable synoptic survey of Jewish history. His book must be considered a standard against which all such efforts to master and make sense of the Jewish past should be measured."--Stephen J. Whitfield, Brandeis University

"With his characteristically deft touch, Michael Brenner has produced a sweeping and riveting account of Jewish history from Biblical times until the present day. This slender volume is lively, engaging, and a pleasure to read."--John M. Efron, University of California, Berkeley

"Brenner is a proven author with a broad competence in Jewish history, which makes him one of the few Jewish historians able to handle a volume of such large scope. His book has a novel approach that sets it apart from other one-volume histories. It is intended as a first book in Jewish history for readers with little knowledge of the subject. The style is extraordinarily readable."--Michael A. Meyer, author of Judaism within Modernity

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Birmingham Book Reader VINE VOICE on 23 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As someone how is interested in the history of the Jewish people I have found this book to be a super introduction.
We are given a clear understanding of how the Jewish people have changed and moved through the years. Much of the early history many will know from the Bible (but it is well presented) the more recent history is very good and brings to life the struggles the Jewish people have had to deal with.
There are many colour pictures and super maps.
Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Accessible, Knowledgeable and Concise 21 May 2012
By twp77 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Brenner's book is accessible, knowledgeable and concise. It is an excellent starting point for those wanting to learn more about the history of the Jewish people. The book also contains interesting images from various versions of the Haggadah through the centuries from different countries. This underlines the deep respect one gets upon completion of the book for a people who have maintained their culture through centuries of diaspora. Recommended for students of religion and history.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Good introduction 16 July 2011
By Molly Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am posting this review to counteract the one above, who does not seem to have read the book, and seems to have given it one star because he ordered the wrong title. The book is not overly long, given the 5,000 year history of the Jews.
Very good book for introduction to Jewish History 10 Oct. 2013
By Tevfik Bahadir Sarikaya - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree with the comment of twp77. This book is concise and a very good introduction to Jewish history. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in history, as the language of the book is very accessible to anyone. The author has some other books on the same subject so I will have a look at those books, too.
2 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Misleading title 6 May 2011
By Felix Aiellouria - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I mistakenly purchased this book, thinking that it was "A Short History of the Jewish People," by Raymond Scheindlin, which was recommended to me & often used as a textbook. I should have been more careful to read the author's name! This Brenner book is misnamed: it's nearly twice as long as Scheindlin's superb "Short History of the Jewish People" (which I ended up buying and reading; it is published by Oxford University Press), and not nearly as good a read as Scheindlin's.A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood
1 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Counteracting Molly Myers Review using the Molly Myers Book Review Standard 11 Aug. 2011
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I want to thank Molly for introducing me to a new review standard for Amazon book reviews. Because I do not believe that the author speaks every language that Jewish people have spoken in the last 5000 years, noone should buy this book. You wouldnt buy a book about China from someone who doesnt speak Chinese.
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