The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words
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
But through it all, Schama's narrative voice is a guide: ...more
In Schamas telling, Elephantine, a Jewish garrison town on an island in the Nile River that dates from the fifth century BCE both reinforces and contradicts many ...more
Why, then, does Simon Schama write yet another history of the Jews? The easy answer, of course, is that he was approached to produce a television ...more
The brilliant, erudite and articulate Simon Schama produces a muddled, idiosyncratic history of his people (OK, our people). Using his usual trick of engaging you through people you may or may not have heard of to make general points, this first volume only pays dividends in the later chapters on the late middle ages and the inquisition. Until then, it's a mess.
Schama does not credit biblical history much, unless it is Christian or Muslim history. He thinks the Old Testament is pretty ...more
1. The Holocaust was horrible, but it has happened before. Even though nothing matches the overall scale of the Holocaust, throughout Jewish history there have been ...more
I have a degree in European History and Schama, of course, filled in the gaps and illuminated things I had never heard before. Oh, the great women of Judaism, so many fine examples who are seldom highlighted in the teaching of History.
I an not Jewish but I know that much of my Catholic faith is built upon their faith. I know something of the historical missteps, and worse, that divide us and Schama ...more
So if you are looking for a strictly historical and linear account as I was you could be frustrated. It jumps around and includes discussion of archaeology and research and spends extensive pages on stories.
I found the jumping around distracting. Dwells extensively on a comparison of the mythology of the Jews (as told both in the Bible and in ...more
Schama has been a popular and prolific narrative historian covering topics as diverse as the French Revolution, American history, and now this history of the Jewish people. I've read all three of those, and they usually leave me wanting something missing.
This story starts strong as Schama describes the transition of the Jews from scattered wanderers to, well, scattered wanderers in different places but with a remembered homeland in Jerusalem. The early ...more
From here he looks back through the era of the biblical books of kings and then ...more
I stopped short of five stars ...more
The main problems are twofold and related.
It's thin in places, and it's just wrong in a few. The latter first.
The main areas of errors are in events related to Jesus and his time. First, Schama indiscriminately uses the term "procurator" for the Roman governor of Judea when, in most the material covered by Acts, that person was a "prefect."
Second, he's too credulous on Suetonius and Tacitus and just how much, or how little, they knew what they were talking about ...more