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The Book of Abraham

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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  305 ratings  ·  35 reviews
A family saga with a difference.

The Book of Abraham opens on the backdrop of a burning Jerusalem in 70 AD as Abraham the Temple scribe flees the destruction of his home. Two thousand years and a hundred generations later, another Abraham perishes, immolated in the fires of the Warsaw Ghetto.

But the chain that links these two Abrahams--a chain that stretches from Jerusale
...more
Paperback, 797 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by AmazonCrossing (first published 1983)
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Gary
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
n this epic work of Jewish history, Marek Halter uses an ancient document passed down from generation to generation through the centuries, and fleshed it out to create an exciting and informative epic novel.
Beginning in 70 CE (AD) Halter begins with the flight of a Jews called Abraham fron the burning city of Jerusalem, together with his family, during it's destruction by the Romans.
Taking us through the history of a Jewish family from Jerusalem to North Africa to Spain, France, Germany, the Net
...more
Gary
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
n this epic work of Jewish history, Marek Halter uses an ancient document passed down from generation to generation through the centuries, and fleshed it out to create an exciting and informative epic novel.
Beginning in 70 CE (AD) Halter begins with the flight of a Jews called Abraham fron the burning city of Jerusalem, together with his family, during it's destruction by the Romans.
Taking us through the history of a Jewish family from Jerusalem to North Africa to Spain, France, Germany, the Net
...more
Jessie
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Piecing together bits of family lore and careful historical research, Halter traces a line of Jewish men for millenia. We see moments of many generations in ritual, weddings, births, and deaths, but most of all the persistent, malignant persecution of the Jewish people in political inequality, social injustice, pogroms, burnings, rape, pillaging, isolation and exile. While many people are familiar with the Holocaust, not as many understand that it was but a culmination of historical atrocities. ...more
Joe Stack
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Jewish history through the generations of one Jewish family based on the actual genealogy of the author's family. I found the first half slow and somewhat repetitive. The pace picked up in the second half that focused on the 20th Century. This is a good book to learn about and appreciate some of the Jewish customs and rituals. It is definitely a good way to learn about the Jewish diaspora. The story is not for the faint hearted. The reader, like the members of the family and their associates, go ...more
Alexis
Sep 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, I wish I could really understand how much was true and how much was made up. I began this book with the intent of supplementing my study on Abraham from the Book of Genesis. Considering Halter has written fictionalized, but historically and culturally accurate (as much as is possible) stories about biblical characters, I thought this was the same. (Clearly I did not even read the dust jacket, or I would have known better!). But I must say, I was proud of myself being ...more
Amy
Jan 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Fairly boring. I love historical fiction but it's too hard to follow the many Abrahams, Solomons, etc, and to remember which one did what. This is not necessarily the fault of the author since they are real people. It has a very anti-Christian view, and seems pro-Muslim, which is odd for a Jew. It has gone into the recycle bin. I don't want anyone else to read this crap.
Jane Libson
Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Enyone who has anyting to do with Judaism should read this book... Great prespective on future generations.
I loved how the author is using real historical events and connects it with the fictional elements of his family's history to fill in the blanks - genious...

Definitly read the sequel "Children of Abraham" (not as good as the "Book of Abraham", but still a great read)
Papa
Dec 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Papa by: Caught a reference on a genealogy surname discussion group.
In all, I liked this book. There were places that seemed to be an echo of what came earlier, but I think that this is part of the subtext of the story. I'm left with a few questions concerning the amount of historical foundation for the early generations in this family, but it is billed as fiction, so I can't demand that it adhere to standards higher than that.
Stephanie
Nov 13, 2010 rated it liked it
I ended up enjoying the later half of the book more than the first half, mostly because we stuck with characters longer and got to know them better. Halter did a great job researching this book, paying close attention to detail through the generations depicted in the book. It's quite an achievement to weave a tale spanning nearly two centuries.
Susie Rosson
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it


An interesting, yet sad saga of the Jewish people. I learned a lot about Jewish culture and perspective. Hard to follow so many characters that don't last more than a chapter or two, though. Glad I read it. Quite a commitment of time.
Audrey
I read this book many years ago. It was amazing how the author chronicled his family history of two thousand years.
Graciela
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read!! History at its best!!!
Sharon Delevie
Feb 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
So not for me. I'm not a big non-fiction reader, and this read like a bad non-fiction book for me. I like the idea of chronicling 100 generations in one family, but more often than not, this felt like a list of people, without getting any sense of the people themselves. At times it was nothing more than a whole lot of what felt like "begat, begat, begat." Just as I would start to get interested in a character, he died and three more generations followed. I think I like characters and plot develo ...more
Hannah
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing! Really made me think about my own ancestors and where we came from. It is really amazing to me how long the Jewish people have survived and are still thriving. As I read about each generation, I wondered what my own generation would be remembered as- tolerance and acceptance, or becoming too integrated and straying from Judaism? What I learned from this book is that we always have periods of peace, but they never last. How long until the next crusade, inquisition, pogrom, hol ...more
Nancy Ellis
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very long but powerful book, beautifully written and expertly translated from the Polish. (Not that I know Polish, but the translated version did the story full justice!) The author traces his family's story beginning with his ancestor Abraham's flight from the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD, a scribe who began the scroll of the family name. The story continues all the way through the 20th Century, bringing to life the struggles of the family as they are forced to relocate time after time, eventu ...more
Sugarpop
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book.

I had studied the Holocaust the different types of resistance. I could see that it had been at play over time during many events. It made it very easy to create a mental time line and really see movements and reactions, like Chassidic vs. Misnagdim. I'm not Jewish and I had to look up things like the Kaddish online to get a better grasp. The more that I looked up some of these smaller items, I wondered how much I really missed in this story.

I intend to read a bit more
...more
Lisa Vegan
Jun 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like historical fiction and epic novels and Jewish history
I enjoyed this book partly because the author is a distant relative. From the fictionalized account of the history of the Jewish people and the maps of the various migrations they made, I was able to see when his part of the family diverged from mine. And it was a pretty interesting epic. I am fascinated by the author’s life as well: when he was a young boy, he and his family escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto. The plot of this novel is mostly fictionalized until the invention of the printing press ...more
Brian
Marek Halter’s, The Book of Abraham is a historical fiction set mostly in Europe as the Jews migrate from Israel. This follows a long line of relatives from the time of the Roman occupation of Israel to the German occupation of Poland. Each Abraham passes on a family bible to the next generation as the book travels from place to place. This is lengthy, detailed an portrays the Jewish perspective of history for 2000 years.
Judy
Tedious reading in some chapters. Very informative regarding history of the Jewish people. It is too bad Marek was not able to continue the tradition that had gone on for so many years and generations. It is amazing to me that Jewish people survive at all with all the killings that took place over each generation. History repeats itself over and over for generations. Hate and destruction unfortunately keeps reinventing itself.
Tina Alston
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
an amazing journey...so many of us don't realize that our study of "western civilization" has largely been through the eyes of roman-christian scholars...This view of life in the Mid East and Europe throughout the past 2000 years is 'incroyable' Halter captures that wonderful view that keeping alive memories and stories, may well be one of our reasons for being on this planet for a minute or two. Tina
Ju
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I would give the book 3 stars for keeping me engaged, but 4 stars for the amazing amount of content, emotion and character development - despite the constant switching of people and places. Really gave the impact of a long family line which was well researched and compelling. You start to get attached to the family and the history instead of one particular person, which I suppose is the point.
Melissa McCauley
Sep 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I usually love to spend a rainy weekend with a fat, juicy historical novel, but I just couldn't "get into" this book. My attention kept wandering and I found myself reading the same sentence over and over again. I think part of it was the profusion of names and place names to try to remember. Needless to say, I did not finish it.
Julian Schlaen
Por momentos atrapante, por momentos aburrido. Un sin fin de breves relatos encadenados, a lo largo de la historia, encarnada en las ramas de una arbol genealógico judío. Interesante de leer, difícil de terminar.
Martin Sikkink
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
:|
Apres ca je crois que je vais lire un Oui-Oui
Mohammed Aql
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent history narration, but with some changes in the real story for the pleasure of fiction.
Yocheved Ledereich
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
excellent book.
Rebecca
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Rebecca by: friend
Loved this historical type book on jewish history. as much as i liked it jewish history buffs should like it more .. a must read
Frank
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent book! Great reminder to write your history!
Mandi
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are no words to truly tell how amazing this novel is! It is one of the most unique and real stories I have ever read! You must read it...and then we'll talk!!
Beth
Jun 15, 2009 is currently reading it
Enjoying it so far - so interesting to see Jewish history playing out through the story. (Thanks Batya J. for suggesting this!)
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Marek Halter was born in Poland in 1936. During World War II, he and his parents narrowly escaped from the Warsaw ghetto. After a time in Russia and Uzbekistan, they emigrated to France in 1950. There Halter studied pantomime with Marcel Marceau and embarked on a career as a painter that led to several international exhibitions. In 1967, he founded the International Committee for a Negotiated Peac ...more
“The Infinite struck the void with the sound of the Word.” 1 likes
“This did not prevent him from going to print shop every morning and working as conscientiously as ever, following the advice of Yochanan ben Zakkai: 'If you are planting an olive tree when you learn that the Messiah has come, finish planting the olive tree and then go to greet the messiah.” 1 likes
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