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A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism Paperback – December 6, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0981954387 ISBN-10: 0981954383 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Facing History and Ourselves; 1 edition (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981954383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981954387
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Many of the famous villains of literature were compelling orators, as was Hitler, using the power of speech to feed their frustrations and hatred into their audiences. So long as we have language, we will have its abusers on behalf of their pernicious programs, and the need to challenge them will remain. A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism will make both a valuable and timely contribution to our understanding of this subject."

-Lawrence L. Langer, author of Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

"This book is a tour de force of one of the most intriguing and disturbing phenomena in history. Tracing the origins and evolution of antisemitism from antiquity to the present day, this book provides a well-informed, highly accessible, and admirably balanced account that should become a basic tool for educators and an essential textbook for students in all fields concerned with the humanities and social sciences."

-Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History, Brown University

"Facing History has done a characteristically masterful job in exploring antisemitism from ancient times to its current manifestation in a clear and lucid way accessible to students and their parents and to all concerned about the all too enduring quality of what has been termed "the longest hatred."

- Michael Berenbaum, American Jewish University in Los Angeles

"This book delineates with clarity and intelligence the long history of discrimination, insult, and assault against Jews. It makes depressing reading unless you remember what Facing History and Ourselves always remembers: that understanding the past helps us see how we can contribute to making the world better."

-Anthony Appiah, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

About the Author

Harold Evans is editor-at-large of Thomson Reuters, the world?s largest international multimedia news provider. He is also the author of two critically acclaimed best-selling histories of America: The American Century and They Made America. His most recent book is his memoir, My Paper Chase, which covers his early life and his years as editor of The Sunday Times and The Times of London. On the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Press Institute, Evans was honored as one of 50 World Press Heroes.

Phyllis Goldstein is the senior writer and researcher on key Facing History and Ourselves publications including the latest edition of Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, as well as The Jews of Poland and Race and Membership in American History. She graduated from the University of Chicago and holds a master's degree in teaching from Harvard University. She has worked as a teacher, author, editor, and editorial director.

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Customer Reviews

This a very thorough and easy to read history book.
This marked a period in which Jews were charged with ritual murder and blood libel; as well, the Talmud was universally attacked by Christians and Muslims.
Charles S. Weinblatt
It was very well written and its coverage was quite complete.
Earl Geddes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A Convenient Hatred, with foreword by Sir Harold Evans, chronicles the evolution of anti-Semitism from the time of Alexander through the Holocaust and modern Israel.

This powerful treatise explores with exquisite detail the pernicious foundations of bigotry against Jews, from ancient times through the dark ages, the enlightenment and into contemporary examples. A Convenient Hatred could just as easily been called A Convenient History, as it illustrates the magnitude of anti-Jewish vitriol, loathing and detestation over the ages, leading to a unique and mendacious version of history that blames Jews for impossibly disparate and disconnected events and catastrophes.

Ms. Goldstein has produced a masterful exposition on the vulnerability of Jews throughout history, highlighting how malicious pagan and Christian leaders exploited the Jewish people. She also addresses the unending value of education within Jewish culture, a trait that has served them well for dozens of centuries. That Jews have been able to survive at all seems miraculous, considering the fact that until recently, Jews were largely forbidden from owning land and property and from most skilled occupations--including crafts and guilds--and were forced to take up the most distasteful occupation among Christians: money lending.

A Convenient Hatred is a profoundly authoritative resource for educators. Its examples, stories, references, maps, pictures, and illustrations bring the history of the Jews to life in a powerful way not experienced since James Michener's The Source, a work of fiction.

A Convenient Hatred communicates the magnitude of anti-Jewish prejudice throughout the centuries, offering well-researched examples of why so many people throughout time have found it convenient to hate Jews.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Al Frank on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am almost half way through the book (~350 readable pages) and started reading this only 2 days ago. I consider myself a slow reader but this book and subject matter is very interesting and reads easily. I never understood why the world hates Jews no matter where they are, who they are, or what they do but this book explains it clearly using historical documents and eyewitness accounts. This book does a great job of showing exactly where the hatred and antisemitism started, how it evolved, how and why it was and continues to be perpetuated. If I were a member of the school board, this is a book that I would make required reading for every highschooler. Any one with an interest in either world history, history of antisemitism, and even history of Israel would appreciate having read it. Phyllis Goldstein has written one of the best history books in my opinion.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sherman Lambert on February 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
As an urban public high school chemistry teacher my usual home reading is fiction for entertainment. This book appeared too important to ignore.
Many people believe that the success of individual Jews proves antisemitism no longer exists. There has been improvement but Nazi Germany is part of modern history. Pope John the XXIII excused the Jews of blame for the death of Christ, part of Catholic dogma for almost 2000 years, only 60 years ago.
Today Jews get blamed for the failures of Wall Street and almost every problem in the Islamic world.
Unfortunately, this excellent work is too relevant in current events. The contemporary style makes the book especially readable, informative and disturbing. I learned things I didn't want to know but the issues can effect all of us.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alter Wiener on March 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
My formal education ended at the age of thirteen. I had no chance to learn the history of anti-Semitism. Phyllis Goldstein in A CONVENIENT HATRED enlightens me; I am grateful for her extensive research. This book narrates chronologically where and when the hatred started. How anti-Semitism evolved from Alexandria, Egypt in the 3rd century BCE through the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. Then, the book focuses on Modern-day anti-Semitism. Anybody with an interest in world history, the awful history anti-Semitism, and the history of Israel would find Phyllis Goldstein's book an essential text book.

As a little boy, I was wondering why some Christian kids didn't like me, because I was a Jewish kid. During the Holocaust, I saw the Germans looting, beating, torturing, shooting and hanging innocent Jewish people. At the age of 13, the Nazis foisted upon me and my loved once unimaginable acts of extreme wickedness, as reflected in my autobiography From a Name to A Number. I didn't understand at the age of 13 why I was hated by some Poles. How could they consider me to be an outsider while I was a native of Poland? In the sixteenth century the Jews in Rome, were required to wear yellow hats, to be distinctive from all the others. Under the German occupation, I was required to wear the Yellow Star of David. Why did the Nazis decide to doom Jewish children even before they were born? In the eleventh century the Crusaders gave the Jews of Mainz, the capital of the German federal state of Rhineland, and other communities, a choice of death or Christianity (p 68). In the twentieth century Nazi Germany gave me and my co-religionists no option other than to surrender to persecution and eventual annihilation.
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