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The Jews of Khazaria Paperback – 16 Dec 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.; 2nd Revised edition edition (16 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742549828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742549821
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 825,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


This second, revised edition of Kevin Brook's well-received publication in 1999 of The Jews of Khazaria, integrates important new data culled from ongoing archaeological digs in southern Russia and the Crimea, genetic results of DNA processing, examination of formerly unknown or ignored coin hordes, and the continuing research of scholars around the world. It succeeds in elucidating controversial issues, while contextualizing the Khazar polity within the competitive 9th-11th-century world of Byzantium, the Arab Caliphate, and two regional upstarts: the Dnepr-based aggregate of Nordic, Slavic, and Turkic peoples known as Rus', and the Turkic-Islamic kaganate of Bulgar flourishing in the middle and upper Volga territory. As a full exploration in English of the history and culture of the Khazars, this volume is without equal, and would be quite useful reading in courses focused on the Kievan period of Russian history, as well as broader ones treating the dynamics of Central Eurasian history during these lively and formative centuries.--Edward J. Lazzerini, Indiana University

About the Author

Kevin Alan Brook is an historian who has researched the Khazars since 1993. He has contributed articles about the Khazars to The Encyclopaedia of Judaism Second Edition (Brill, 2005) and The Turks Vol. 1 (Yeni Turkiye, 2002). Since 1995, Brook has maintained the website of the American Center of Khazar Studies (Khazaria.com).

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Format: Hardcover
In his well written and detailed book, with a large-spectrum analysis of the Turkic peoples of the Middle Ages and their relationship with present day European peoples, Kevin Alan Brook helps us discover the secrets of the Khazar Turks - an ancient people who created the largest Jewish state in history in southeastern Europe. I especially had a personal interest in the issue, since I know that my ancestors from my father's family were Khazar Turks. They migrated to Istanbul in the Ottoman Empire ( where we live today ) circa 200 years ago, from the Russian city of Kazan; at the east of Moscow. Even though they converted to Islam long before they migrated to the Ottoman Empire, I also know that my oldest ancestors were Jewish Khazar Turks. It really is a great book, with lots of interesting ' details ' which display the author's vast knowledge on early Turkish history. If you are someone who likes ' details ', you'll absolutely love this book. The book also shows the relationship between the Khazar Turks and the present day Magyars ( Hungarians ) and the Bulgars ( Bulgarians ); who are both of Turkish origin but were extensively Slavized after becoming Christians. There's also a glossary showing the similar words in Hungarian and Turkish ( which also amused me - since Turkish language apparently hasn't changed much in the past centuries and it really reveals the affinity between the Turks and Magyars ( Hungarians ) Some scholars believe that the Khazars chose Judaism in order to protect their ' neutrality ' in confrontation of the Muslim Arabs and the Christian Byzantines. Whatever the case may be, it is known that Judaism was the dominant religion in the Khazar state and that their experience is unique in entire Eurasian history.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
A Gentile myself, I once went to a party in Golders Green with my then girlfrield who was half Jewish. Both of us were struck by the fact that all the other people at the party were of a distinctive (as we both thought) Jewish type, and I was moved to say to a man who offered to drive us to the tube station afterwards: "It's amazing how the Jewish people have kept their ethnic purity after so many centuries of dispersal". He laughed and said "Not a bit of it. 90% of Jews today are descended from the inhabitants of a kingdom in southern Russia which converted to Judaism in the early middle ages. The idea of ethnic purity in the Jewish people is a complete myth." "Really?" said I "You mean a lot of Jews may not actually be descended from Abraham?" He just looked at me and smiled.

In David Icke's "Guide to the Global Conspiracy and how to end it" much is made of the Khazar origin of most of the Jewish people today. Icke asserts that the modern state of Israel (which is at least four fifths Ashkenazi, that is Yiddish-speaking Jews from eastern Europe, as opposed to Sephardic Jews from the west, who speak Ladino)has no right to claim what they call the land of Israel on the grounds of Abraham's promise, because most of them are not descended from Abraham.

Icke bases this on Arthur Koestler's The Thirteenth Tribe, a book I have not read. It was when looking for Koestler's book on Amazon that I came across Brook's book, which looked like a much more scholarly and less partisan look at the same topic, so I bought it instead.

"The Jews of Khazaria" satisfied all my expectations in this regard. There are no assertions that are not backed up with sources (which can hardly be said of Icke's book!).
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By Mac McAleer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked this book. It is more detailed than some other publications which mention the Khazars but leads to the same question: Are the Khazars substantially or partially the ancestors of the east European Jewry? The author suggests that the Khazarian Jews may represent 25% of Ashkenazic Jews and up to 60% of the Ukrainian Jews.

The Khazars were a mainly Turkic people, a cultural-linguistic group rather than an ethnicity, who migrated westward into southern Russia. Originally shamanistic, they converted to Judaism in the early medieval period and became an important third force balancing the Christian Byzantine Empire and the Islamic imperium.

These partly nomadic pastoralists, partly urbanised traders, were aggressively expansionist. Relations with Byzantium oscillated between friendship and war. These relations worsened when the Khazars adopted Judaism, a religion that the Byzantines were actively persecuting.

The Arab-Khazars wars lasted over a century, starting with the Arab expansion following the emergence of the new Arab religion. Eventually their respective territories were stabilised with the Khazars north of, and the Arabs south of, the Caucasus. This prevented the Islamic conquest of eastern Europe. With the Rus, the proto-Russians, there was continuous conflict. There was also some conflict with the Magyars as they moved westward, but when this nation reached its final destination of Hungary they were joined by many Khazars.

The Kazarian Empire was gradually destroyed, first by the Rus, then by the Rus in alliance with the Byzantines. The last remnants of the Khazars were obliterated by the Mongol Golden Horde. This was a tough neighbourhood.
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