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The Jewish Century

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  14 reviews
This masterwork of interpretative history begins with a bold declaration: The Modern Age is the Jewish Age--and we are all, to varying degrees, Jews.

The assertion is, of course, metaphorical. But it underscores Yuri Slezkine's provocative thesis. Not only have Jews adapted better than many other groups to living in the modern world, they have become the premiere symbol and...more
Paperback, 438 pages
Published August 27th 2006 by Princeton University Press (first published August 23rd 2004)
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Michael
Jun 24, 2010 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: European Historians, Scholars of Judaism, the open-minded
Recommended to Michael by: Chad Bryant
This book was assigned to me as part of my graduate work in History, in a class on Eastern Europe. I was the only person in the class who liked it. The others felt that it made an argument with poor substantiation, that it essentialized the Jewish identity, and even that it bordered on being a racist evaluation of Jewishness. They had their points, but I still appreciated it, if only for trying to make an argument broader than simply counting the number of angels dancing on the pin of history.

Sl...more
Elanor
The author Berkeley mentor, and just an incredible human being. I read it in manuscript form, and was blown away.
Sascha Altman-DuBrul
Jun 03, 2010 Sascha Altman-DuBrul is currently reading it
this book is blowing my little mind and typing together my understanding of the rise of Modernism with the role of the Jews.
I'll have more to say when I've actually read the whole thing but in the meantime this is taken of the Princeton website:
"This masterwork of interpretative history begins with a bold declaration: The Modern Age is the Jewish Age--and we are all, to varying degrees, Jews.
The assertion is, of course, metaphorical. But it underscores Yuri Slezkine's provocative thesis. Not onl...more
Sam Schulman
A frank, often over-decoratively written, clear-headed book about the fate of the Jews in Russia and the fate of Russia at the hands of the Jews. The mythology is childish, but the knowledge is extremely good, and the writing is often witty and laff-out-loud. Slezkine's translations of Russian poems and diaries are worth the price of admission - and Slevkine's restraint in letting his evidence speak for itself, and not driving home with a hammer and sickle the ironies of history he outlines, is...more
Fred R
Not as systematic or grounded as I had hoped and expected, but plenty of fruitful speculation. More of "intellectual riffing" around a few historical themes than actual history, although the section on the transition in the Soviet State from philo-semitism to anti-semitism is quite detailed.

Jews, for Yuri Slezkine and with good reason, are Mercurians, innately modern, native inhabitants of the world-city. Their marriage to the soviet state is forgotten history, and yet a hinge of the twentieth c...more
Russell
The theory behind this book is outstanding.

Jews, through systematic discrimination were forced to enter into the new industries, ideas, and philosophies of the 20th century and thus become its leaders. As an ethnicity they heralded change and thus were persecuted for it.

The problem is that the book reads like a college text and the author overreaches in trying to tie all elements of Jewish history (especially Marxism) to this theory.

This theory academically reiterates the rightwing wall streeter...more
Oxy
Important book in showing a reasonable account of Jewish involvement in the Bolshevik revolution but over emphasises cultural factors in ethnic character and under emphasises ethnic networking as a factor in Jewish over representation in Russian economic, cultural, political and educational elite and ethnic motivations for Jewish behaviour and self-perception(deception?)in general. I recommend everyone who enjoyed this book read Kevin MacDonalds 36 page review of The Jewish Century: "STALIN'S WI...more
Julia
Feb 05, 2012 Julia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
"Modernization, in other words, is about everyone becoming Jewish."

This book has an amazing argument and I found it very fresh and provocative. It's a totally new and irreverent look at Jewish roles in the USSR, the US, and Israel...at the same time, it left me with a lot of respect for what those roles have been.
Mariana Budjeryn
A fascinating read. Among other themes, an interesting take on why Jews (or people of Jewish ancestry) were so overrepresented and successful in commerce, scientific and intellectual and art thought in late 19th - early 20th century in Europe.
lindsay
you want a conspiracy theory, take this!
provocative account of the role of jews in the 20th century that cannot be easily written off.
a bit to culturalist at times for me, but riveting nonetheless.
Justine
So fascinating. And right up my 'family-tree' alley, so to speak.

Probably not an interesting read for everyone, but it was full of so much relevant information for me!
Ben
The intro is great. The rest of the book, meh... a bit on the generic side. Not up to the standard of Slezkine's articles on Soviet history.
Zach Heiden
Fascinating. Some of the psychology stuff seemed a little far fetched, but the political philosophy sections were really well done.
Elle
Really interesting ideas of Jews and modernity.
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