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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful but Brief
Not a detailed account of any but a comprehensive overview of the subject. Most of the chapters are really only two pages and would benefit from a "further Reading" section. It is well however written and richly illustrated. A useful introduction
Published 14 months ago by Michael Ward

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars sloppily written, a dog-whistle antimuslim polemic; shame it is deceptively well produced
This weighty tome looks great. It has elegant typography and plentiful maps and colour illustrations, printed on heavy stock. There are only three things wrong with it: the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Early chapters recount the Biblical narratives of the patriarchs as if they are historical accounts, even to the point of recounting how Abraham was...
Published on 13 May 2012 by Catherine Lyons


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars sloppily written, a dog-whistle antimuslim polemic; shame it is deceptively well produced, 13 May 2012
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Catherine Lyons (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This weighty tome looks great. It has elegant typography and plentiful maps and colour illustrations, printed on heavy stock. There are only three things wrong with it: the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Early chapters recount the Biblical narratives of the patriarchs as if they are historical accounts, even to the point of recounting how Abraham was visited by the two angels who foretell the birth of Isaac. Oddly, Jesus is presented as if with detailed historicity; with no apparent relevance to Jewish history or geography. The devil Jesus encounters in the desert and Abraham's angels are apparently as real as any of the figures from history.

I can confirm the truth of Brian Gotts' review on Amazon.com. The chapter entitled 'Jews and trade in the early medieval era' (UK hdbk edition 2009, p. 190 ff) plagiarises evidently prior material in Wikipedia.

The chapters covering the 20th and 21st centuries are a relentless polemic. Any pretense of academic disinterest in the middle chapters is vigorously abandoned. The reader might never know that to two Jews there are traditionally ascribed three opinions. The narrative voice now depicts Jews assailed on all sides by anti-Semites. German Jewish internment on the Isle of Man is presented with the same gravity as the Shoah. The chapter on Jewish servicemen during the Second World War begins 'Despite ant-Semitic slurs to the contrary, Jews have always 'done their bit' .' Chapters on Israel and Palestine are pure ideology. Arabs appear only as terrorists. The chapter on 9/11 and 7/7 is mind-boggling. It begins with a quotation attributed to the American Nazi Party: 'Five Jews were arrested after they were seen dancing on a rooftop, filming and cheering as the planes crashed ...' The 7/7 bombings were apparently a 'wake-up call to the United Kingdom authorities who had taken no action against extremist groups with a Middle Eastern agenda.' Israel's relation with Palestine is described under the heading 'Palestinian Insurgency'. Apparently, relations are now so bad that 'few Israelis venture into the West Bank, let alone Gaza'. A map of Israel and the Occupied Territories records Hamas bombings. West Bank settlements are not mentioned at all. If you look up Josephine Bacon in the JC, you'll discover that the particular editorial voice ranting through the final chapters is mostly likely her own.

This book seems to have been written to order by a coffee-table publisher for a knee-jerk audience. The publishers hedge their bets as to whether you, a potential reader, are Jewish or not. But it is assumed that your politics are facile and unexamined, your Biblical hermeneutics are naive, at best, and your concern for scholarship is non-existent. Don't buy this book unless you simply want to cut out the pretty pictures. Instead buy a genuine scholarly reference work from a reputable Jewish publisher: A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful but Brief, 9 May 2013
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Michael Ward (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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Not a detailed account of any but a comprehensive overview of the subject. Most of the chapters are really only two pages and would benefit from a "further Reading" section. It is well however written and richly illustrated. A useful introduction
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The Historical Atlas of Judaism
The Historical Atlas of Judaism by Josephine Bacon (Hardcover - 28 April 2009)
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