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Capitalism and the Jews

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  52 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The unique historical relationship between capitalism and the Jews is crucial to understanding modern European and Jewish history. But the subject has been addressed less often by mainstream historians than by anti-Semites or apologists. In this book Jerry Muller, a leading historian of capitalism, separates myth from reality to explain why the Jewish experience with capit ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published January 24th 2010 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jan Rice
This book takes what might be considered untouchable subject matter and not only writes about it but does so in a way that makes what he's saying seem simple and clear. I knew from the first few pages that this was going to be a significant book.

...Except that since the title included "capitalism," I thought it was going to be a book about economics. But, no--it's a history, a history of economics and its effect on people and the world, and, in particular, Jews. It is a book that paints history
Feb 22, 2011 Wayne marked it as to-read
Shelves: history

When my older sister Di gave me this book at Xmas,
I recalled the time eyebrows had been raised
when she gave me The Complete Works of Shakespeare
one Xmas many years ago in our youth,
and round the same period when we sat on the beach
one hot December reading to each other out of her Complete Works of Tennyson,
totally oblivious that this was NOT acceptable Australian Beach Behaviour!!!
For some reason this title of "Capitalism and the Jews" struck me as being
very Anti-Semitic and I could fee
Brad Madsen
Jerry Muller’s latest book Capitalism and the Jews covers a part of history that has been growing over the past few years due to the revisionist nature of historians today. In Muller’s book he tries to paint the Jewish peoples natural disposition to capitalism in a positive way, rather than the negative stereotype we are all too familiar with. Muller’s book deals with the Jews connection and reaction to capitalism, nationalism, and communism. Muller divides the book into four essay chapters whic ...more
Elliot Ratzman
Keep David Duke away from this book! Jews made the best capitalists and populated the leadership of the anti-capitalists. Sounds like anti-Semitic propaganda? yet recent works like Slezkine’s The Jewish Century have explained how Jews dominated commerce and communism in Europe. Muller’s short book traces these ironies of Jewish economic and political history explaining how usury, forbidden by the Church, was relegated to the despised Jews who were already going to Hell. As Europe becomes capital ...more
Good etiquette advises that discussing religion, money and politics with strangers is not prudent, but, fortunately, professor Jerry Z. Muller ignores this maxim. Instead, this broadly published academician presents four exceptional essays assessing the role of Jews in developing capitalism in terms of complex social, historical and religious structures. He wrote the series, which covers centuries of history, over the course of 30 years of study. His combined notes and bibliography alone are 29 ...more
Colleen Clark
Apr 07, 2010 Colleen Clark rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in 20th century history
Recommended to Colleen by: A family member who is a college teacher
Shelves: history
A series of 4 long essays -
1. The Long Shadow of Usury: Capitalism and the Jews in Modern European thought.
2. The Jewish Response to Capitalism
3. Radical Anticapitalism: The Jew as Communist
4. The Economics of Nationalism and the Fate of the Jews in Twentieth-Century Europe

For anyone interested in the long history of Europe and/or 20 century Europe and/or the history of the Jews in Europe and/or nationalism and/or capitalism and/or Marxism.

Well footnoted with interesting references for further
Lance Cahill
The book is comprised of four separate essays with a tangential relation to each other: namely the experience of Jews in capitalist society and nation-states which have identified membership in largely Christian terms. The book explores the role of stigmatized professions (finance and commerce) in preserving toleration for ethnic minorities whilst eventually reinforcing stereotypes found in the writings of 18th and 19th century writers. Highly informative ethnic and intellectual history even if ...more
Benjamin Shay
A bit academic, its title makes the book sound like an anti-semitic screed but this book is actually a rare even handed look at the relationship between capitalism and Jews. This book is very much an intellectual history rather than a 'normal' history, and is an interesting read because of the differences between how he deals with the topic and how most others do. The first chapter is better than the others, though, and the author's relatively conservative biases are made clear at certain points ...more
James Igoe
I found the history fascinating - I don't feel I can add significant commentary in that regard - but I do want to mention that the Kindle edition had numerous formatting and layout issues. They were many places in the text that did not display correctly, where words were hyphenated in the middle of the sentence, and where because of incorrect wrapping spaces were missing after some commas or hyphenated words.
Fraulein Kost: "If the Jews are all bankers then how can they be Communists too?"

Herr Ludwig: "Subtle..., very subtle."
--Cabaret, 1972

Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Jerry Muller uses four, easy-to-read and enjoyable essays to explore the perceptions of Jews as both archetypal capitalists AND communists. This is perhaps the best discussion of this I've read.

I must confess that I didn't read the whole book. One reason is that most of my questions were answered in the introduction. The other reason is that the chapters are a little too academic for my level of interest. I may come back to this one in the future if my curiosity increases.
Informative! I found it suitable for me who is pretty new to the subjects. It gives pointers to follow in further study.
Jun 25, 2010 Fatima marked it as to-read
ny times
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