The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC-1492 AD

The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC-1492 AD

by Simon Schama

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Overview

The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC-1492 AD by Simon Schama

In this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the PBS and BBC series The Story of the Jews—Simon Schama details the story of the Jewish experience, tracing it across three millennia, from their beginnings as an ancient tribal people to the opening of the New World in 1492 to the modern day.

It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds.

It spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.

In The Story of the Jews, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with spice and gems founder at sea.

And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.

Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060539184
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/18/2014
Series: Story of the Jews , #1
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 247,244
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University in New York. His award-winning books include Scribble, Scribble, Scribble; The American Future: A History; National Book Critics Circle Award winner Rough Crossings; The Power of Art; The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age; Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution; Dead Certainties (Unwarranted Speculations); Landscape and Memory; Rembrandt's Eyes; and the History of Britain trilogy. He has written and presented forty television documentary films for the BBC, PBS, and The History Channel, including the Emmy-winning Power of Art, on subjects that range from John Donne to Tolstoy.

Table of Contents

List of Maps xi

Foreword xiii

Part 1 papyrus, potsherd, parchment

1 In Egypt 3

2 The Words 28

3 Delving, Divining … 56

4 Classical Jews? 88

Part 2 mosaic, parchment, paper

5 The Menorah and the Cross 173

6 Among the Believers 230

7 The Women of Ashkenaz 292

8 Trials 327

9 Exile from Exile 374

Maps 422

Timeline 428

Notes 431

Bibliography 455

List of Illustrations 467

Acknowledgements 471

Index 475

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The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC-1492 AD 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
55T-Bird More than 1 year ago
I came across this book because I was looking for an overview of Jewish history. I have read previous works by Shama and I respect him as a historian and author so I assumed this would be a good read. But for anyone who is looking for a basic chronological history of the Jewish people, this is not it. At first I found Shama’s seemingly disjointed storytelling style to be confusing and sometimes frustrating– essentially, I felt like I was reading a continuous prologue and never getting to the real story. It took me several chapters (over 100 pages) to finally realize that Shama was detailing Jewish history, but not so much in a strict chronological recitation of facts as I expected. Instead he tells the history through the writings and artistry that were preserved over the generations. At times it becomes a story of singular characters and how their individual story fits into the overall history of the Jewish people.  Although I felt a little ashamed for not understanding Shama’s storytelling style sooner, once I did understand it, my frustration level with the book decreased and I was able to enjoy the story as Shama told it. There are so many fascinating and enlightening aspects of Jewish history as portrayed in this book. The Story of the Jews takes one on a journey through thousands of years, thousands of miles across the Middle East and into Europe, and through so many cultures where the Jewish people left their mark while either assimilating or segregating as needed. The story swings between periods when the Jews thrived and prospered amidst their non-Jewish neighbors, and periods when they had to fight for their survival pinched between the persecution inflicted by Christians on one side and the Arabs on the other. For me, knowing this history has provided insight into the modern-day Jewish culture, not only in the present-day nation of Israel, but throughout the world as Jewish people have dispersed from their beginnings in the ancient world.  Very interesting and very insightful and recommended for the history aficionado.  Only one complaint: the few sections on Jewish poets was tedious reading in my opinion and could have been summarized instead of including so much detail– but that is only personal opinion. I am enthusiastically awaiting  the second volume of The Story of the Jews!
Anonymous 6 months ago
More in this one book than tons of other sources!
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How to lose a customer who wants to buy a book in the bookstore? It is easy! Just do not have the book in the store when it is published at the same time it is available to be purchase o line. That is what happened to me when I tried to buy a copy of The Story of the Jews.