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The Last Jew

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  2,612 ratings  ·  154 reviews
In the year 1492, the Inquisition has all of Spain in its grip. After centuries of pogrom-like riots encouraged by the Church, the Jews - who have been an important part of Spanish life since the days of the Romans - are expelled from the country by royal edict. Many who wish to remain are intimidated by Church and Crown and become Catholics, but several hundred thousand c ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 15th 2000 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 1999)
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93rd out of 419 books — 232 voters
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14th out of 84 books — 43 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
If you're like me and don't know a lot about late-15th-century Spain, this novel is a nice accessible little history lesson. I learned a lot about beliefs and customs at the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

Ferdinand and Isabella issued a royal edict expelling all Jews from Spain. Fifteen-year-old Yonah Toledano is a Jewish boy whose family members have all fled or been slain. He stays in Spain, keeping his Jewishness a secret and using a Christian name. He travels far and wide on his trusty bur
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Alessandro
Ti vien voglia di girare tutta la Spagna a fianco di Jonah Toledano, che tenta di sfuggire all'Inquisizione, che in quel periodo voleva scacciare e mandare via tutti gli ebrei dai propri territori. E così comincia un nuovo esodo. Alcuni si convertono, altri fuggono fuori i confini, ma Jonah no. Lui vuole mantenere la parola data a suo padre e anche a se stesso. Lui rimarrà l'unico Ebreo di Spagna. Qui si sposterà di città in città, rimanendo incantato e adattandosi a ogni tipo di lavoro. Qui cer ...more
Reinhold
Das vorliegende Werk ist überhaupt nicht mit Noah Gordons Werk 'Der Medicus' zu vergleichen. Das ist nicht gut, das ist nicht schlecht - das ist einfach ein Fakt. Hier wäre es sicherlich klüger gewesen, den von Gordon selbst gewählten Titel des Originals 'The Last Jew' (Der letzte Jude) zu nehmen.

Der Medicus von Saragossa beschäftigt sich mit dem Leben eines Mannes, der als Knabe im Spanien des ausklingenden Mittelalters und der beginnenden Renaissance zu überleben versucht. Seine Familie wurde
...more
Peter
The Last Jew (2000) is the second book by Gordon that I've read in recent months. The first was The Physician (2001). His stories offer excellent reading value both as a result of the amount of historical research he puts into them which give them a feel of authenticity as well as the way each story is crafted.

The Last Jew takes place during the Inquisition in Spain in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The first part of the book conveys the devastating impact the Inquisition had on Jews.
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Lauren
This is one of the best books I've read in a while. The setting is fascinating and terrifying - the Spanish inquisition. While the inquisition is a continual backdrop - especially the first half of the book - the book is not really about the horrors of the inquisition in the blood and gore sense. Yes, there are some passages about the brutality, but this book is at its core a deep character study.

The Last Jew is about Yonah Toledano, a man who by circumstances ends up orphaned at the time of th
...more
bookczuk
I read The Physician by this same author years ago and bits and pieces have come back at odd times to haunt me. I suspect it will be the case with this book as well. This period of Jewish history has always fascinated me (though my family's background is from an entirely different region.)

As to the book itself, I found the pace a little uneven and the story thinned out in points to test my powers of believability. But all in all, I am more satisfied than less. Even if it got a little pat in plac
...more
Lawrence Schwimmer
This is a wonderfully absorbing historical novel about people (and the central character, a Jew) living during the 15th century and the Spanish Inquisition. The author is a great story-teller and weaves his character through this period in history giving you the feeling that you are a living, breathing person alive during this tumultuous time. This story engages you from the very beginning a holds your interest until the last page. And, like most great books...you only wish the book were longer! ...more
Karen
15th Century and the Spanish Inquistion...Ferdinand and Isabella kick all the Jews out of Spain and this book tells the story of one who stayed behind in hiding. The first half of the book is REALLY slow but the last half you can't put down. Learned a lot about a time period I don't know much about plus can't see that much has changed from the 15th and 21st Centuries...we still can't get along!
Julián
El mundo es un pañuelo y la España del siglo XV, ni te cuento. Nuestro último judío se va encontrando con los mismos personajes en cada esquina de la península, desde Toledo hasta Granada y los Pirineos. ¿Para qué reparar en verosimilitudes cuando se quiere hacer algo entretenido? Como también ocurre en El médico, el autor se ha documentado poco (o si lo ha hecho, lo consigue disimular). Pero las cosas como son: el libro es entretenido y de lectura fácil. Otra cosa, el protagonista aprende hebre ...more
Sori
I was worried that this would turn into "My name is Yonah Toledano. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Then nothing much happened, and I wish it had.
Carmenza
Excelente novela histórica. Se muestra un personaje entrañable al mejor estilo de los creados por Noah Gordon. Una detallada descripción de la España del siglo XVI época de persecución a los judíos y de inquisición. Yonah Toledano es el protagonista; un ser valiente que debe dejar su casa, y cambiar de identidad para protegerse. Con todos los peligros que corre y los variados oficios que debe desempeñar para sobrevivir, logra forjar una personalidad recia, disciplinada y sabia. Libro muy recomen ...more
Ernesto
La novela se basa en un hecho histórico: a finales del siglo XVI, los Reyes Católicos de España lideran una expulsión judía del territorio español. En este marco se narra la historia de un personaje que, a pesar de todas las desgracias y desdichas que tiene que soportar, va logrando sobreponerse y sobresalir en la sociedad, ocultando todo el tiempo su condición de judío, pero al mismo tiempo recordando en cada momento de dónde viene.

El libro (y la autora) tiene un estilo muy parecido al de Ken
...more
Shomeret
This book changed its nature three times during the course of the narrative. It started off as a whodunit, became a picaresque novel(about a wanderer who has adventures) and finally a book that reminded me of Greek tragedy because destiny or the Fates seemed to play a rather relentless role. The picaresque aspect took up most of the book as the main character, Yonah Toledano, wandered through different parts of medieval Spain. The best known picaresque novel is Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes. T ...more
Anna Engel
The story is that, upon the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, young Yonah Toledano is left alone as the last Jew in Spain (highly doubtful!). He wanders around, bereft of family and community, taking on a variety of jobs as needed to survive. He apprentices to an armorer, which ultimately doesn't work out when his master is killed. Honor-bound to deliver a box of money to the armorer's brother, who happens to be a physician, Yonah finds himself apprenticed to the physician. He eventually becomes ...more
Manugw
IMPLAUSIBLE

Yonah Toledano, is a Jewish youngster who loses his family when Jews are expelled from Spain by Royal mandate at the end of the 15th century and the ruthless Inquisition institution of the Catholic Church prepares to gets in full force to render Spain full Christian
Though entertaining, the tale fails to go deep enough as to grasp the roots of the life problems that beset the character, in fact is unable to catch the essence of the suffering of a Jew who is undergoing two different and
...more
Dhe
ho recentemente scritto un'opinione su un altro libro di questo autore, anticipando che essendo entusista del libro ne avevo già preso un altro in biblioteca ed eccomi qui infatti, sempre convinta di aver scoperto uno scrittore interessante e decisamente capace.

gordon è uno scrittore particolare, per quanto mi riguarda ho scoperto un ottimo scrittore di libri storici, la sua caratteristica principale pare essere scrivere libri in cui in un qualche modo c'entra la medicina e devo dire che riesce
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Sabine
Vorweg eines: man darf dieses Buch nicht mit „Der Medicus“ vergleichen, auch wenn der Titel suggeriert, dass dies die Fortsetzung des Bestsellers ist. Es ist ein eigenständiges Buch und der Originaltitel „The Last Jew“ ist weitaus passender für diesen Roman.
In Spanien herrscht die Inquisition, man schreibt das Jahr 1492. Nach dem Mord an seinem Bruder und Vater steht der 13jährige Jona völlig alleine da, Juden ist es verboten, im Land zu bleiben, so dass er sich auf eine abenteuerliche Reise mac
...more
Jessica
The back cover of this book promised me "a glimpse of history, an authentic tale of high adventure, and a tender and unforgettable love story," about a fugitive learning to fight like a knight, and "hurling snatches of almost forgotten Hebrew at the stars." I expected an exploration of what being Jewish meant to the main character, and why he would accept a life as a fugitive to hold on to it.

I got a so-so historical adventure story. I felt as if the author wanted to remind his readers every so
...more
Sue
Fascinating odyssey of a Jew in the 1400s-1500s in Spain. He transforms himself many times, changing his name and profession and even the essence of his real religion, as necessary to escape the Inquisition. Fascinating historical fiction. Now to read Noah Gordon's other books!
Mike Joanne
Fascinating story of Yonah, a man who does whatever he must to survive the Inquisition. I loved reading about his travels and his "odd jobs". I was about to quit reading on page 60 or so, but then the story picked up and I actually cared about Yonah and his future.
Taryn Fink
Absolutely fantastic historical fiction. Couldn't put the book down and read it in 3 days. It's an amazing story and truly eye opening to the horrors of the past, and some things that are happening today. Definitely recommended for historical fiction fans.
Joan
I loved this book. I was skeptical about enjoying a book about the inquisition, but Noah Gordon makes the whole scene come alive. Actually, it is less about the inquisition than it about the journey and survival of Yonah Tolendo,the middle son of Helkias a silvermaker. When the eldest son is found dead after delivering silver to the priory. The inquisition ordered all jews to leave Spain. Both of Yonah's parents were killed and his younger brother lost. The rest of the book is Yonah's journey fr ...more
Marta
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's written with very easy language, a lot of things happen, but somehow it's very difficult to get emotionally engaged in the plot or attached to the main character. I simply expected it to be deeper, more poetic, considering the settling which is medieval Spain. Instead I got an easy-to-read story that doesn't awake any feelings and serves A LOT of names, even third-party characters are presented with all their surnames, which makes it difficult to follo ...more
Xesc
Muy buen libro que habla de la España de la Inquisición. La persecución a los judíos se cuenta a través de un chico (Ionà Toledano), es muy entretenido y muy bien adaptado a aquellos tiempos (las curas medicinales son excelentes)
Alejandro Canton-Dutari
This interesting novel transports the reader to the age of Isabel and Fernando, Queen and King of Spain. The Spanish Inquisition, with its fierce persecution of Jews, is a constant in the story.
Though the author warns us that this is a work mainly of fiction his style of writing and the passion with which he describes the personal plights of the Jewish Spaniards to either fee or convert turns the story into an almost non-fictional historical novel.
I read the Spanish translation, which was very g
...more
Sarah Goodwin
I loved the physician, so I had to try another one of Gordon's books. This one seemed a good choice, but I'll be going back to read Shaman.

This is a shorter book than the physician, and while I missed the far reaching travel, and all the description and plots, it was still quite a read, and a very satisfying one. Yonah is an interesting protagonist, if a little similar to Rob from the physician.

The plot was good, well rounded, satisfying and very well writing, there were times that I didn't wa
...more
Garnet
Attempts to explore the Spanish Inquisition of the late 13th and early 14th centuries by weaving a story around Yonah, the only survivor of his family. He is forced to wander around Spain while posing as a Christian and searching for any remaining family members, learning metal work like his father and eventually becoming a physician. (see Noah Gordon's other work "The Physician"). So I had sort of read this book before in a way. I started this review with the word "attempt" because I was really ...more
Marco
Avete letto 'Medicus'? Allora dovete leggere questo.
Non lo avete letto ? Leggeteli tutti e due.
Ancora un viaggio alla ricerca di qualcosa. L�� alla ricerca di soddisfare una esigenza interna, qui alla ricerca di una possibilit�� di vivere.
L�� chi si finge ebreo, qui chi essendo ebreo deve nasconderlo per vivere nella Spagna di Isabella e di Torquemada.
Ben scritto e scorrevole una lettura avvincente che aggiunge qualcosa alla nostra conoscenza del medioevo spagnolo e non solo.
Da accompagnare al
...more
Melanie
This was one of those books that is okay to read, but I would never re-read it or recommend it to a friend who's interested in Spanish history. It does offer a decent depiction of the time period, I feel that everything seems to work out to well for the protagonist all the time which was in all likelihood was not how life was for a Jewish person during this time period. Often it seemed to undermine the discrimination that they would've faced (as well as the discrimination others would've faced, ...more
Kerstin
I loved reading about the history of Spanish Jews during the Middle Ages and the Inquisition. So so painful. We get to follow Yonah Toledano as he's forced from his home after all Jews are forced out of their entire country. It's a little long in the middle as he wanders from city to city, but it is so cool watching Yonah transform from angry revenge seeker, to healer, trying to heal the very people who had his family killed. The story comes full-circle and all loose ends are beautifully and bel ...more
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Noah Gordon is an American novelist. Some of the topics covered within his novels include medical history and medical ethics. More recently he has begun to focus more on themes relating to the Inquisition, and Jewish cultural history. His novel Shaman won the first James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 1993.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads databas
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The Physician (Cole Family Trilogy, #1) Shaman (Cole Family Trilogy, #2) Matters of Choice (Cole Family Trilogy, #3) La Bodega Rabbi

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