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The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
0375831002
March 2006
Hardcover
·
 
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of...


Constantine's Sword
James Carroll
0618219080
Apr 2002
Paperback
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Book Review
Constantine's Sword is a sprawling work of history, theology, and personal confession by James Carroll (the author of An American Requiem, among many others). Carroll begins his landmark project by describing contemporary Catholic remembrances of the Holocaust and the Church's intolerable legacy of hostility towards Jews. He then surveys Catholic anti-Judaism beginning with the New Testament and proceeding through the early Church, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Enlightenment, and World War II, before concluding with "A Call for Vatican III," a Church council that would make meaningful repentance for an entrenched tradition of hatred. Carroll's prescriptions for repentance, continued in a powerful epilogue, are bracingly concrete: "there is no apology for Holy Week preaching that prompted pogroms until Holy...


The Jesus Dynasty : The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity
James D. Tabor
0743287231
April 4, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Tabor, chair of religious studies at UNC-Charlotte, offers a bold and sometimes speculative interpretation of the historical Jesus and his family, beginning with his paternity. Evaluating several possibilities, Tabor concludes that the most historically plausible claim is that Jesus' father was neither God nor Joseph, but another man, possibly a Roman soldier named Pantera. He also argues that Joseph likely died when Jesus was young, leaving Jesus head of a household that included his six half-siblings. Like many scholars, Tabor emphasizes that we must understand Jesus in the context of first-century Judaism. After Jesus' death, his brother James took over the titular family dynasty. James championed a version of the faith quite different from Paul's, and, although James was more faithful to Jesus' original...


Night
Elie Wiesel
0374500010
January 2006
Paperback
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Amazon.com
In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.

The New York Times
"A slim volume of terrifying power"

See all Editorial Reviews


Why the Jews Rejected Jesus
David Klinghoffer
0385510217
Mar 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The provocative title of this unfocused book implies that it contains an answer to the question of why the Jews rejected Jesus. Indeed, Klinghoffer, whose memoir The Lord Will Gather Me In was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, buries several answers in this study's dense verbiage, but the reader has to struggle to locate them. After numerous citations, many from obscure sources, demonstrating erudite research, Klinghoffer reveals that the Jewish rejection of Jesus was "the founding act of Western civilization." It facilitated the development of Christianity and Islam as mass religions. Thus, according to Klinghoffer, the rejection of Christ was a "civilization-creating act." He arrives at this determination by examining "God's perspective," "God's intention," "God's purposes" and "God's plan." This...


Everyman
Philip Roth
061873516X
May 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [Signature]Reviewed by Sara NelsonWhat is it about Philip Roth? He has published 27 books, almost all of which deal with the same topics—Jewishness, Americanness, sex, aging, family—and yet each is simultaneously familiar and new. His latest novel is a slim but dense volume about a sickly boy who grows up obsessed with his and everybody else's health, and eventually dies in his 70s, just as he always said he would. (I'm not giving anything away here; the story begins with the hero's funeral.) It might remind you of the old joke about the hypochondriac who ordered his tombstone to read: "I told you I was sick."And yet, despite its coy title, the book is both universal and very, very specific, and Roth watchers will not be able to stop themselves from comparing the hero to Roth...


Born to Kvetch : Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods
Michael Wex
0312307411
September 1, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Fortunately, despite its title and cover photo, this is not a kitschy book about a folksy language spoken by quaint, elderly Jews. It is, rather, an earthy romp through the lingua franca of Jews, which has roots reaching back to the Hebrew Bible and which continues to thrive in 21st-century America. Canadian professor, translator and performer Wex has an academic's breadth of knowledge, and while he doesn't ignore your bubbe's tsimmes, he gives equal time to the semantic nuances of putz, schmuck, shlong and shvants. Wex organizes his material around broad, idiosyncratic categories, but like the authors of the Talmud (the source for a large number of Yiddish idioms), he strays irrepressibly beyond the confines of any given topic. His lively wit roams freely, and Rabbi Akiva and Sholem Aleichem collide happily with...


Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History (Revised and Updated)
Joseph Telushkin
0688085067
March 1991
Hardcover
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Book Review
In 1988, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin undertook a mission to heal "Jewish ignorance," an affliction whose symptoms include the ability to name the three components of the Trinity, coupled with an inability to explain mitzvah. Telushkin's contribution to the cure is his wide-ranging, entertaining Jewish Literacy. First published in 1991, Jewish Literacy contains almost 350 entries on subjects ranging from the Ten Commandments to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Entries are numbered (for easy, encyclopedia-style reference) and organized topically (to smooth the experience of reading each page straight through). And the revised edition contains several new entries (including articles about the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the vice-presidential nomination of Joseph Lieberman) as well as numerous corrections,...


Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Anne Frank, et al
0553296981
June 1, 1993
Paperback
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Book Review
A beloved classic since its initial publication in 1947, this vivid, insightful journal is a fitting memorial to the gifted Jewish teenager who died at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945. Born in 1929, Anne Frank received a blank diary on her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Her marvelously detailed, engagingly personal entries chronicle 25 trying months of claustrophobic, quarrelsome intimacy with her parents, sister, a second family, and a middle-aged dentist who has little tolerance for Anne's vivacity. The diary's universal appeal stems from its riveting blend of the grubby particulars of life during wartime (scant, bad food; shabby, outgrown clothes that can't be replaced; constant fear of discovery) and candid discussion of emotions familiar to every...


Schlepping Through the Alps : My Search for Austria's Jewish Past with Its Last Wandering Shepherd
Sam Apple
0345477731
March 28, 2006
Paperback
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From Booklist
Apple is a Jewish comic writer, and in July 2000 he met Hans in New York. Hans, the son of a Jewish father and Gentile mother, was born in Vienna, became a shepherd, and developed a love for singing Yiddish songs. The following year Apple joined Hans in "schlepping" through various Alpine locations, tape recorder and sheep in hand. His account of that sojourn is whimsical, often hilarious, and often deeply disturbing. For Apple was not merely interested in an eccentric shepherd or in local folk culture. He was fully cognizant of the long tradition of Austrian anti-Semitism and of the role of Austrians in the Holocaust. So, while recounting delightful episodes with Hans and his sheep, as well as interesting observations on the lost world of Yiddish culture, Apple suggests that anti-Semitism maintains a tenacious hold in...


A History of the Jews in the Modern World
Howard M. Sachar
0375414975
August 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this monumental and complex narrative, successor to his distinguished 1958 The Course of Modern Jewish History (substantially revised in 1990), Sachar, generally acknowledged as the preeminent scholar of modern Jewish history, proves himself to be not only a superb historian, but a compelling storyteller. The scope of this project is both exhilarating and daunting, including western and eastern Europe, America and the Middle East from the 17th century to the present; Sachar's major themes include the history of anti-Semitism, the development of the nation state, the rise of European fascism and the immigration of Jews throughout Europe and to the Americas. Sachar has constructed this history with such adroitness that it is best read as a sweeping chronicle of not just Jewish but world...


Jews, God and History
Max I. Dimont
0451207017
Mar 2003
Paperback
·
 
From Library Journal
The vitality and longevity of Jewish culture raises the question: How did this tenacious people survive throughout history when many other cultures and religions were annihilated or absorbed? Uniquely, they accomplished this without a homeland for nearly 2000 years. The work, a revision of a huge history written shortly after World War II, doesn't dwell on the Holocaust but presents a history of ancient and modern Jewish states and spells out how Torah and Talmud kept alive a tradition of abstract thought: a potent survival tool. The work also details differences between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews and the split that created Christianity. The rift among the Semites, i.e., with Islam and the Arabs, gets less attention. Anna Fields narrates this classic, which, to Jews and non-Jews alike, successfully captures the...


Salonica, City of Ghosts : Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950
Mark Mazower
0375412980
April 26, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Situated on the Aegean where two mountain ranges meet, Salonica has a unique geographical location, which promoted the rich confluence of cultures that once characterized the city. Part travelogue, part history and part cultural study, this is a splendid tour of the fortunes and misfortunes of this Balkan city. Drawing on a wealth of archival documents, Mazower (The Balkans; Dark Continent) weaves a lavish tapestry illustrating the tangled history of Salonica, which began as a Hellenistic urban center in 315 B.C. and flourished through the Middle Ages as a Greek Orthodox city. In 1430, the Ottoman Empire commenced a rule that lasted until 1912. By the end of the 15th century, Salonica had a large influx of Jews who had fled persecution in Spain. Mazower eloquently points out that these "peoples of...


Jews, God, and History
Max I. Dimont
0451529405
June 2004
Mass Market Paperback
·
 
From Library Journal
The vitality and longevity of Jewish culture raises the question: How did this tenacious people survive throughout history when many other cultures and religions were annihilated or absorbed? Uniquely, they accomplished this without a homeland for nearly 2000 years. The work, a revision of a huge history written shortly after World War II, doesn't dwell on the Holocaust but presents a history of ancient and modern Jewish states and spells out how Torah and Talmud kept alive a tradition of abstract thought: a potent survival tool. The work also details differences between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews and the split that created Christianity. The rift among the Semites, i.e., with Islam and the Arabs, gets less attention. Anna Fields narrates this classic, which, to Jews and non-Jews alike, successfully captures the...


The Jew in the Modern World
Paul R. Mendes-Flohr
019507453X
Mar 1995
Paperback
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Book Description
The last two centuries have witnessed a radical transformation of Jewish life. Marked by such profound events as the Holocaust and the establishment of the state of Israel, Judaism's long journey through the modern age has been a complex and tumultuous one, leading many Jews to ask themselves
not only where they have been and where they are going, but what it means to be a Jew in today's world.
Tracing the Jewish experience in the modern period and illustrating the transformation of Jewish religion, culture, and identity from the 17th century to 1948, the updated edition of this critically acclaimed volume of primary materials remains the most complete sourcebook on modern Jewish history.
Now expanded to supplement the most vital documents of the first edition, The Jew in the Modern World features hitherto...


Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story
Lila Perl, Marion Blumenthal Lazan
0380731886
November 30, 1999
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Amid a growing number of memoirs about the Holocaust, this book warrants attention both for the uncommon experiences it records and for the fullness of that record. Marion Blumenthal was not quite five years old in 1939 when her family fled Germany for Holland, ending up in the relative safety of Westerbork, then a refugee camp run by the Dutch government. They had visas for the U.S. and tickets for an ocean crossing, but during a fatal three-month postponement of their sailing, the Germans invaded Holland. By 1944 the Blumenthals arranged to be part of a group bound for Palestine in exchange for the release of German POWs; the family was instead sent to Bergen Belsen, where they remained, together, in the so-called Family Camp. Marion, her brother and parents survived the war, but her father died of typhus...


Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels
Thomas Cahill
0385482493
August 1999
Paperback
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Book Review
Thomas Cahill, author of the bestselling How the Irish Saved Civilization, continues his Hinges of History series with The Gifts of the Jews, a light-handed, popular account of ancient Jewish culture, the culture of the Bible. The book is written from a decidedly modern point of view. Cahill notes, for instance, that Abraham moved the Jews from Ur to the land of Canaan "to improve their prospects," and that the leering inhabitants of Sodom surrounded Lot's lodging "like the ghouls in Night of the Living Dead." The Gifts of the Jews nonetheless encourages us to see the Old Testament through ancient eyes--to see its characters not as our contemporaries but as those of Gilgamesh and Amenhotep. Cahill also lingers on often-overlooked books of the Bible, such as Ruth, to discuss...


The Military History of Ancient Israel
Richard A. Gabriel
0275977986
October 30, 2003
Hardcover
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Review
“[A] good chronological narrative of the military history of ancient Israel....Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”–Choice
“[P]rovides an excellent opportunity for addressing some thorny issues in the field of the military history of the Bible.”–The Journal of Military History
“Drawing on findings from archeology, demography, ethnography and other relevant disciplines, Gabriel analyses the Bible as if it were a militory history of ancient Israel; he makes a particularly significant contribution to Exodus studies. Gabriel an experienced infantry officer and military historian, offers astute military insight into the Biblical narrative and makes comprehensive some of the mysterious explanations for well known events.”–Jewish Book World


The Jew, the Arab
Gil Anidjar
0804748233
July 2003
Hardcover
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Sweet and Low: A Family Story
Rich Cohen
0374272298
April 2006
Hardcover
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Book Review
Rich Cohen's Sweet and Low bills itself as "the unauthorized true story of one Brooklyn family." And what a family. Cohen, the disinherited grandson of the artificial sweetener Sweet'N Low's inventor, combines two parts Horatio Alger memoir, one part cultural commentary, and three parts personal criticism into a fascinating snapshot of American life, the immigrant experience, and a broad sermon on the perils of fortune.

Cohen's maternal grandfather, Ben Eisenstadt, a mid-grade inventor and Brooklyn restaurateur concocts the idea of selling sugar in individual packets--a revolutionary concept in the age of crusty, unsanitary sugar dispensers. His idea stolen by the big sugar companies, Cohen squeaks out a post-war living selling his packets in their shadow until he and his son Marvin invent the formula for the...



The Jew, the Arab
Gil Anidjar
0804748241
July 2003
Paperback
·
 


A History of the Jews
Paul M. Johnson
0060915331
September 1988
Paperback
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Book Review
Paul Johnson says that writing A History of the Jews was like writing a history of the world "seen from the viewpoint of a learned and intelligent victim." Johnson's history begins with the Bible and ends with the establishment of the State of Israel. Throughout, Johnson's history is driven by a philosophical interest: "The Jews," he writes, "stand right at the centre of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose. Does their own history suggest that such attempts are worth making? Or does it reveal their essential futility?" Johnson's history is lucid, thorough, and--as one would expect of almost any project with such a broad scope--a little wrong-headed. By the end of the book, readers will be grateful for Johnson's questioning of the Jews' confidence in their cosmic significance. However, readers may...


From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine
Joan Peters
0963624202
February 1, 2001
Paperback
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Barbara Tuchman
"This book is a historical event in itself..."

Washington Post Book World
"A remarkable document in itself. . . . The refugees are not the problem but the excuse."

See all Editorial Reviews


A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People : From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present
Eli Barnavi
0805242260
October 14, 2003
Hardcover
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Book Review
A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People, edited by Eli Barnavi, is one of those rare books that can literally make a reader gasp with delight and horror. It may even be the best one-volume history of Judaism in print. Beginning with "The Migrations of the Patriarchs," and continuing to the present day, the book's chapters include historical maps, timelines, illustrations and photographs, and narrative essays by leading historians (such as Moshe Idel) that help readers not only understand but visualize the movements of the Jewish people. The editors have chosen not to structure the story as leading inexorably to the Holocaust and the rise of Israel, although both events are covered in some detail. Instead, they have depicted the rich variety of lives established by the Diaspora in such far-flung places as China and England,...


Eighth Dayhidden History Jew
Samuel Kurinsky
0876685874
Aug 1992
Hardcover
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Suite Francaise
Irene Nemirovsky
1400044731
April 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Celebrated in pre-WWII France for her bestselling fiction, the Jewish Russian-born Némirovsky was shipped to Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, months after this long-lost masterwork was composed. Némirovsky, a convert to Catholicism, began a planned five-novel cycle as Nazi forces overran northern France in 1940. This gripping "suite," collecting the first two unpolished but wondrously literary sections of a work cut short, have surfaced more than six decades after her death. The first, "Storm in June," chronicles the connecting lives of a disparate clutch of Parisians, among them a snobbish author, a venal banker, a noble priest shepherding churlish orphans, a foppish aesthete and a loving lower-class couple, all fleeing city comforts for the chaotic countryside, mere hours ahead...

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