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The Last Jew

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,814 Ratings  ·  197 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 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 03, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, library, spain
Gordon's scathing denunciation of prejudice and its effects, couched in a moving narrative. Yonah, a young Jew in 15th century Spain, is forced to flee his home of Toledo after a younger brother and father, a talented silversmith, are killed in what we'd call a pogrom which followed Ferdinand and Isabella's infamous Order of Expulsion of Jews from Spain. Yes, THOSE monarchs! Yonah, throughout his life, holds on to his religion and stays one step ahead of the horrible Inquisition. He represents h ...more
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
Antonio Rosato
Apr 23, 2016 Antonio Rosato rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Libro davvero spettacolare e, lo dico senza esagerare, uno dei più belli ad aver mai letto! Ambientato in un paesaggio splendidamente descritto ed in un periodo storico molto "buio" per la comunità ebraica in Spagna narra, detto in parole povere, le peripezie dell'ultimo ebreo in territorio iberico al tempo della cacciata degli ebrei per mano dei regnanti cattolici (fatto realmente avvenuto il 31 marzo 1492) che, giurando vendetta prima su chi ha ucciso suo fratello e suo padre e successivamente ...more
Apr 23, 2013 Alessandro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 01, 2009 Reinhold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 02, 2008 Lauren rated it it was amazing
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
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
2.5 stars
I think the author wrote, unintentionally, about the Jews of the last 80 years: they know it is important to be a Jew but they either don't know why or they are unable to articulate why. Actually, there is always a percentage of Jews in each generation that are cultural Jews and do not have the knowledge of Judaism to understand what is to be a Jew and the value in persisting to be Jewish, even if it means death, imprisonment or exile. These days the Holocaust and Israel substitute for
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
Lawrence Schwimmer
Jun 12, 2013 Lawrence Schwimmer rated it it was amazing
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 only wish the book were longer! ...more
Adam Rabiner
Sep 08, 2015 Adam Rabiner rated it it was amazing
I have been a big fan of historical fiction ever since reading Gary Jenning's Aztec in high school. At its best, historical fiction is educational allowing the reader to experience an alien culture or different place, or a past epoch. In the case of The Last Jew you experience late 15th and early 16th Century medieval Spain during the Inquisition. The last Jew is Yonah Toledeno who remains true to his religion even after the murder of his brother and father, the expulsion of the remainder of his ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Beatriz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Noah Gordon... impecable! Como siempre nos deleita con una lectura entretenida, fresca y muy bien documentada. Sin embargo y aunque uno trate de evitarlo, es imposible no compararlo con otro de sus libros: “El médico”, por las similitudes en su contenido. Así nuevamente nos encontramos con un personaje principal que desde muy joven se enfrenta a la dolorosa pérdida de su familia y debe sobrevivir como pueda, en una época marcada por el fervor religioso, en la que además debe ocultar sus creencia ...more
Aug 15, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
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!
Apr 14, 2016 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Der erste Teil des Buches erinnert an "Forrest Gump" oder "Der Hundertjährige, der aus dem Fenster stieg und verschwand". Der Jude Jona zieht unerkannt durch das judenfeindliche Spanien und geht verschiedenen Tätigkeiten und Berufen nach um zu überleben. Im zweiten Teil trifft er dann einen Arzt bei dem er das Medicus Handwerk lernt. Durch das Erlernen dieses Handwerk verändert sich auch das Wesen Jonas: Wurde er im ersten Teil noch (teilweise) durch Rache angetrieben, möchte er im zweiten Teil ...more
Mar 25, 2010 Sori rated it it was ok
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.
Description: Set at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, all Jews are to be exiled from Spain. Orphaned Yonah manages to stay and learn physician's skills from a mentor.
With love
For Caleb and Emma
and Grandma
Opening: The Silversmith's Son: The bad time began for Bernado Espina on a day when air hung heavy as iron and the arrogant sunshine was a curse. That morning his crowded dispensary had been almost emptied when a pregnant woman's water burst, and he banished from the room the two patients wh
Gisella BV
Feb 01, 2016 Gisella BV rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Que gran libro que tiene como marco histórico la expulsión de los judíos de España a finales del siglo XV,durante el reinado de Isabel La Católica. La historia tiene como personaje principal a un joven judío que logra escapar y evadir siempre el temible brazo de la inquisición,a pesar de su voluntad de no ser nunca un converso. Junto a él se viven muchas aventuras, pasando por varios peligros y oficios que al final le ayudaran a crecer y a obtener la madurez necesaria para sobrevivir e incluso l ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O livro é uma imersão genial pela Espanha do século XV a partir da expulsão dos judeus pelos reis católicos, Fernão de Aragão e Isabel de Castela. A narrativa prende não somente pela simpatia do protagonista, como também pelo detalhismo histórico do autor. Livro interessante pra quem gosta de história, da temática judaica, do exercício da medicina ou simplesmente de um bom romance! Quem gostou de O Físico, também do Noah Gordon, com certeza vai gostar de O Último Judeu. Leitura fácil e agradável ...more
Tina Cunningham
Jan 30, 2016 Tina Cunningham rated it it was amazing
A book set in a period of history unfamiliar to many people, the era of the Spanish Inquisition. This is the story of Yonah Toledano, a Jewish youth caught up in the Inquisition and always on the run from the Inquisitors. To save his life, he flees from one place to another, keeping his Jewish identity secret while passing as a Catholic. When he crosses paths with the murderers of his father and brother, he must choose between revenge and clemency. How Yonah manages to survive and flourish while ...more
May 24, 2014 Carmenza rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 16, 2014 Ernesto rated it it was amazing
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
Anna Engel
Oct 10, 2012 Anna Engel rated it it was ok
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
Jun 14, 2011 Manugw rated it it was ok

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
Jan 02, 2012 Dhe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 02, 2013 Sabine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read
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
Aug 23, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it
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
Elise Miller
Jul 15, 2015 Elise Miller rated it liked it
If you are interested in Spanish history, this is a great romp all over the country in the years following 1492. However, I was in Spain when I read it, and had already read The Winemaker, set in Catalunya/Barcelona - and I thought that was a better book, including its characters and the plausibility of the plot. If I hadn't read The Winemaker first, and if I wasn't a bit put off by the ubiquitous and money-making enterprise of revealing Spanish Jewish history, I might have enjoyed it more.
Valeri Drach
Jan 21, 2015 Valeri Drach rated it it was amazing
Well written narrative about the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Noah Gordon's interest in medicine, Judaism, and moral dilemma all inform the narrative, fueling the meaning of this compelling novel. Gordon writes well researched and detailed historical fiction. Sailors, craftsman, gypsies, farmers and lots of clergyman inhabit this teaming world of Sixteenth Century Spain. You even get to meet a court jester. Most of all you get to meet Jonah who threatens to be swallowed up by a society bent ...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.

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“Life is glorious, but it can be counted on to be cruel.” 7 likes
“¿Significaba que, si los judíos estuvieran en el poder en lugar de la Iglesia, ellos también utilizarían a Dios para destruir a los no creyentes? ¿Era inevitable que el poder religioso absoluto llevara aparejada una absoluta crueldad? «Ha-Rakhaman, Padre Nuestro del Cielo, único Dios de todos, ¿por qué permites que se cometan tantas matanzas en tu Nombre?»” 1 likes
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