The Story of the Jews : Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492) Hardback
by Simon Schama
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.
Within these pages, 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.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 512 pages, 3 plate sections
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 12/09/2013
- Category: General & world history
- ISBN: 9781847921321
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Review by joeydag
I had some difficulties reading this history. The author is brilliant and his writing can be quite demanding. Also he covers some of the most wretched tragedies. I don't think I've felt so disheartened reading about the atrocities that were suffered during medieval times. This is not an exhaustive history but it is more than just a companion book to the TV series. I imagined a series of snapshots in time. And not necessarily where one might expect them to be taken.