Customer Reviews


17 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an outstanding introduction to Jewish history!
Max Dimont's talent is comparable to that of the late Will Durant. He manages to give an accurate sketch of Judaic history with enough flavour to make it "come alive" for the non-historian. As a Jew, I found that Dimont the scholar is factual and respectful of the subject matter while adding much-needed levity in key moments. Highly recommended, especially...
Published on 12 Jun 1998

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly less balanced than it should be!
I bought this mistakenly thinking that it would be a detailed and balanced assessment of the contribution that Jews have brought to world history. At one level it works - there are many genuine nuggets of real interest and insight to be unearthed between its pages. Unfortunately there is more than a little dross and a far from subtle bias with more than a few incredulous...
Published 5 months ago by Rayj


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an outstanding introduction to Jewish history!, 12 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Jews, God and History (Paperback)
Max Dimont's talent is comparable to that of the late Will Durant. He manages to give an accurate sketch of Judaic history with enough flavour to make it "come alive" for the non-historian. As a Jew, I found that Dimont the scholar is factual and respectful of the subject matter while adding much-needed levity in key moments. Highly recommended, especially for the bibliography.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Israel lives!, 28 Mar 2007
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Jews, God, and History (Mass Market Paperback)
This popular history of the Jewish people succeeds in bringing the four thousand year saga alive for the general reader. The author observes that even though the furniture of the West may be Greek, the house of Western civilization is Jewish. One of the questions examined in this book is: How did the Jewish people survive the disappearance of every civilization in which they lived? The following six eras are discussed in the Preface: the Pagan World, Greco-Roman civilization, Diaspora, Islam, European Middle Ages and the Modern Age. Dimont accepts the psychoanalytic, philosophical and existentialist interpretation of history that holds that ideas motivate mankind and shape history.

Part One: The Portable God, explores the age of paganism, the origin of the Hebrews and of monotheism and the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah, until the coming of the Greeks and the clash of Greek and Hebrew culture. In Part Two: Age Of The Apikorsim, he looks at the survival of Jewish culture and religion under the Greeks, the Roman take-over of the land, the destruction of Jerusalem and the various Jewish revolts until the final banishment from the Holy Land.

Part 3: Moses, Christ and Caesar investigates the birth of Christianity as a Jewish sect, how the religions were separated during the aforementioned wars and revolts and the spread and ultimate triumph of Christianity in Europe. The next section, Invisible World Of The Talmud, explains how Judaism and Jewish identity were preserved in the diaspora by means of Talmudic learning.

In Part 5: Mohammed, Allah and Jehovah, the author covers the rise of Islam and the Arab expansion, the golden era of Jewish scholarship and the end of that period with the Mongol invasion of the Middle East and the Christian reconquest of Spain, whilst the following, The Prince And The Yellow Star, considers the Middle Ages, Crusades, Renaissance and Reformation. It also examines the role of the Jewish people in the feudal age and the origin of Kabalah.

Part 7: On The Horns Of Modern Isms, chronicles the emancipation from the ghetto to the enlightenment when Jews started occupying important positions and became intellectual leaders in Europe. This section looks at Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the United States, Nazism and finally, Zionism and the birth of the State of Israel. In the last part: Cultural Mosaic, Dimont attempts an historical explanation of the incredible survival of this miracle nation.

In his view, the first 2000 years represent that third of the Torah and Talmud which concerns priesthood and sacrifice that preserved the Hebrews from paganism. The second 2000 years had to do with that third of the Torah and Talmud that preserved ethnic identity through ritual while spreading Biblical ideas of humanism. He speculates that the last one third now remains, that part that deals with universal concepts of The justice, morality and ethics.

There is an extensive bibliography divided into various sections and an index. Although here and there certain observations in the text have become a little outdated since publication, Jews, God and History remains a magisterial work and a gripping read inhabited by fascinating ideas, personalities, events and historical facts. The style is engaging and accessible throughout. I also recommend A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson and WorldPerfect: The Jewish Impact on Civilization by Ken Spiro.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good general survey but needs to be supplemented with detail, 25 April 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Jews, God and History (Paperback)
This is a good, accurate book. For those with little knowledge of the subject, it is a good start; however, it oversimplifies and overgeneralizes in many areas. I would suggest that a reader of this book supplements his background with more detailed studies of the various topics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best history on the survival of the Jewish race., 27 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Jews, God and History (Paperback)
Of all the Jewish histories I have read, Jews, God & History best describes the survival of not only the Jewish race and religion, but the actual idea of being Jewish. To paraphrase Joseph Heller in God Knows -- If God chose to flood the world again, Jews would learn to breath under water. This is the idea behind Max Dimont's wonderful little history (although Mr. Heller wrote God Knows after Mr. Dimont's book -- but as they say, "great minds think alike"). Read, learn and enjoy this masterpiece of Jewish history.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly less balanced than it should be!, 20 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jews, God, and History (Mass Market Paperback)
I bought this mistakenly thinking that it would be a detailed and balanced assessment of the contribution that Jews have brought to world history. At one level it works - there are many genuine nuggets of real interest and insight to be unearthed between its pages. Unfortunately there is more than a little dross and a far from subtle bias with more than a few incredulous liberties taken with real history to try to support claims that just do not work. Overall a bit of a disappointment - the three stars are for the nugggets alone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We're good Babylonian Jews: who wants to go back to Israel??", 9 Oct 2013
By 
E. Hernandez "Call me Harry" (U. S. A.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jews, God, and History (Mass Market Paperback)
Max Dimont is little known to me and I am not too ashamed to say so ~ but it has been my loss. His creds just say he was educated in Finland and lectured a lot in St. Louis ~ so perhaps my St. Louis cousins know of him, but I don't. Only the name was vaguely familiar to me.

This book of his, JEWS GOD AND HISTORY at just over 420 pages is a marvel especially since it is his first book. (Here's the 50th anniversary edition!) Not one of the best of its kind but in fact a sort of stand-alone brief history of the Jews. While Dimont's left brain sometimes merely transcribes history right out of the TORAH, his right brain mocks and disbelieves some of it. He certainly gives the Jewish people and religion a bit of a hard time.

That is precisely the joy of this book. Dimont is not going to kick any sacred cows which don't really need kicking: he does not argue one iota with the old traditional dates and events, such as the Exodus occurring in 1200 B.C. He does not seem to argue the existence of Moses, though nearly every other scholar does so. Dimont also swallows whole the lie that is Christianity.

Otherwise and mostly, Dimont gives a streamlined, wonderfully abbreviated history from the Jewish perspective without going nuts like a Zionist would do. I learned more from Dimont's book in some cases than I have learned in my lifelong education. For example, did you know that while in Babylonian captivity, the Jews became civilized, prosperous and happy? "We're good Babylonians, who wants to leave?", Dimont imagines them saying when King Cyrus of Persia freed them.

There are so many wonderful tidbits and the book doesn't read as dated as you might think. It is dated to be sure, at least my 1962 copy is, but nothing we can't handle. It is, in fact, a stunning and subtle exposé of Dimont's own theories: one is that the original Hebrews and the later ones (post-Sinai) were two different but related folks.

Another theory he puts out there is the Jews did an about-face with their religious beliefs around 600 B.C. in order to survive and exclude other peoples from their midst. Now THAT is fascinating, and no one as far as I know has disproved Dimont's theories yet! If you'd like two sides of the spectrum: try John Bright's A History of Israel (Third Edition) (Westminster Aids to the Study of the Scriptures) then Prof. Shlomo Sands' The Invention of the Jewish People (see my reviews).

Aha!! You'll find both Bright and Sand basically leaning heavily on Dimont's seminal work.

NOW, FOR THE TRULY BAD AND SOUR: Dimont may be said to take liberties. He flies right over, with far too much convenience, some interesting albeit minor episodes in Israel's history. For example, whilst he discusses the origins of the Hebrews for a few pages, he suddenly abandons the subject with almost as little as he broached it.

Dimont dangles his carrots often, and as such, he omits important periods or simply dismisses events as he sees them rather than to admit that hopeless truth: no one knows the details for certain. He seems to praise Josephus-the-Lair, yet dismisses Rabbi Akiva and the Bar Kochba Rebellion in a few (slightly inaccurate) paragraphs. I hate it when authors dangle the carrot then run. Who learns anything that way?

And I was honestly quite put out by his easy dismissal of King Saul and totally ignoring the relationship between David and Prince Jonathan. Dimont sours the wine a bit too often in this manner.

What annoyed me most was Dimont's struggle not to be a loudmouth Christian when addressing the topic of Jesus, but he managed it anyway. He avoids references to the divinity of Jesus and simply pretends the Jews magically changed into Christians. He also simply and lazily follows what everyone is taught, which is all wrong.

All Dimont did here was summarize the synoptic Gospels, not even bothering to utilize the Gospel of John which is the one non-synoptic Gospel. What opportunities he threw away here! Especially after his concise yet educational explanation of the Maccabee dynasty and its rule.

Of course Dimont also covers, for example, the history of the Jews from the beginnings of civilization through the Roman invasion, in 100 neatly, tightly written pages. It is but a quarter of his book and look how far he manages to get. That's a bit like gleaning all of history from a history of the popes. Only Dimont makes his narrative flow well, despite some amateurish errors and dopey, dated spellings.

Get this and read true world history by a mercurial, eccentric and forgotten man who really had the 'Jewish number'. We might just all learn how to get along under Dimont's weird guidance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jews, God and History Max I Dimont, 7 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Always wondering why the Jews have been persecuted throughout history I purchased the kindle edition of this book and found it to be very informative, well written and a really good read. I would recommend it to anyone with any interest in this topic irrespective of their own religious persuasion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Informative, 23 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Jews, God and History (Paperback)
Topically organized as well as chronological, this is a good introductory history. Like all general audience works, it is bound to gloss over issues that are in debate and like, much modern Jewish history, the development of modern Israel and Zionism is sanitized. Still, this is probably one of the best popular works around and quite a pleasant read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Popular History read, 27 Mar 2007
By 
Bc V. Price "Bernard Price" (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jews, God, and History (Mass Market Paperback)
Some reviewers have quibbled about this book glossing over detail and supplements being needed. I say nonsense to this, the book does not pretend to be anything else than a popular history of the Jewish people. As the advert says, "it does exactly what it says on the tin". If you want an academic study then you will not be reading this book. What do you expect in 571 pages. The book includes bibliography,and appendix anyway !

However, without a doubt, the late Max Dimont has a great gift as a popular communicator and the book is a highly enjoyable read, in fact I would say it is unusual to read a history book as a rapid 'page turner' which this book is.

For the non academic this book is excellent.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Some books like Cheese improve with age, 29 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I first read this book as a University comparitive religion set book back in the 1970s. Recently I saw it was on Kindle and deceided to re-read it again. It's very pithy, direct and very American Jewish. It is full of intesting comments on the study of History, What it means to be Jewish, and the interesting contribution the Jews have made to Civilisation. I am non-Jewish, but I think we should all be aware of what this book has to tell us. It is just as important now as when it was written 50 + years ago.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Jews, God, and History
Jews, God, and History by Max Isaac Dimont (Mass Market Paperback - 7 Aug 2007)
4.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews