History of the Jews Paperback – 21 Apr 1988
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A 4000-year history from the House of David until the 1980s. Johnsons enthusiasm and industry are, as usual, prodigious -- Sunday Times
Magisterial and eloquent -- Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
A classic study of the Jews by a best selling author.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
With these caveats, I doubt anyone, Jew or Gentile, would not learn a great deal from this one volume. I know I did. Johnson is intelligent, clear eyed, and creates some wonderful insights into the facts. That Israel today is riven by the same tensions between the worldly (Saul) and the religious (Samuel)is one bold and largely true insight. Johnson is clearly full of praise for the Jews throughout, though he is not sparing in his adept analysis of Jewish self-hatred, as seen in Marx and many other characters. This is due to the astonishing persecution throughout the ages, and the internal fight between the worldly and religious. There is much to think about here and reflect.
Johnson is also unsparing about his views of tormented Israel and the role of the Arabs, Soviet Union and oil money in creating a topsy-turvy image of Zionism as racism.Read more ›
The opening chapter, Israelites, follows the Biblical narrative of the founders of the Hebrew nation, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon, and then later, at the time of Isaiah, the narrative changes from when the descendants of Abraham became known as Jews, rather than Israelites.
The chapters Cathedocracy and Ghetto follow the story of the Jewish people after the fall of Jerusalem and their attempts to find place in European society. What follows is the story of various expulsions, ranging from the 1492 expulsion from Spain, the persecution under the Spanish Inquisition, and how the general fortunes of the Jewish people could change intermittently, as their rights under their hosts could often be (and were) revoked.
The chapter Emancipation is a general study of Jewish progress in the modern era, with the various Jewish intellectual achievements of the age, such as Freud and Marx (though Johnson makes no attempt to hide his critical attitude toward Marx) and the various Jewish leaders and politicians of the age. Although Theodore Herzl is examined very well, perhaps more background on the founder of modern Zionism could have been given, though the work is more about the movement, rather than the individuals.
A particular strength of Johnson's study is the chapter Holocaust. While this may be very familiar ground for any student of modern history, Johnson has at least covered new ground for this reader. Johnson approaches the infamous crime with a particular question, why did it happen in Germany, the most educated and advanced country in the world?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am about halfway through with the Kindle version of this. As is usual for Paul Johnson, it is an engaging read and hard to put down. Read morePublished 19 months ago by James G
It's so long ago that I can't remember whether I've rated it before not. It's so long ago that I can't remember whether I've rated it before not.Published on 4 April 2014 by Robert Cutts
Enjoying it. Some odd gaps so far, which probably have more to do the the reality of pre-history than Johnson's ability. Read morePublished on 3 Dec. 2013 by alcyst
It took me a year to read this and I am glad I did. I am a much more informed jewish person as a result! It starts slowly but comes to a momentous climax! Read morePublished on 14 April 2013 by Mr. R. C. Golten
Seems to me this is a classic case of the historian deciding what the truth is then seeking out only the facts and implications that support that proposition.Published on 4 Mar. 2013 by P. Taylor
This book does not cover everything - but then no work on such a vast topic can.
What Paul Johnson does cover he does very well - both on history, and on theology,... Read more
I have not finished reading this big ,all embracing, book but so far it promises what I wanted; a comprehensive review of Jewish history going to back to year one. Read morePublished on 17 April 2012 by lemon lloyd
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