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Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews Hardcover – August 28, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0521593694 ISBN-10: 0521593697 Edition: First Edition (1n in number line)

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this very thorough interpretive history, Lindemann (history, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara) traces anti-Semitism from approximately 1870 until the rise of Hitler. Lindemann argues provocatively that with the rise of Jews in intellectual matters, politics, and commerce, a modern ideology of anti-Semitism likewise arose, aimed primarily at curbing what its advocates perceived as "the power of the Jews." Lindemann argues that this new anti-Semitism likewise varied in intensity from country to country and was usually not a central factor in the lives of either Jews or Gentiles. The most interesting section discusses the relationship between 19th-century socialism and anti-Semitism. Written in a popular style, this book can be recommended for both larger public libraries and academic libraries.?Mark Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A richly informative, if highly problematic, overview of anti- Jewish bigotry and violence between the 1870s, when the term ``anti-Semitism'' was coined, and the Holocaust. Lindemann (History/Univ. of Calif., Santa Barbara), who has written previously on Dreyfus and other anti-Semitic cases, here focuses largely on Germany and France, with lesser attention to Russia, Great Britain, the US, Italy, Hungary, and Romania. (Curiously, a section on the interwar years almost entirely omits Poland, a country with a deep anti-Semitic tradition.) He correctly posits an indirect line between the racist anti-Semitism that characterized the beginning of the period and what Daniel Goldhagen calls the ``eliminationist'' ethos that led to the Holocaust. Lindemann also makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of both long-term socioeconomic and short-term political contingencies behind the expression of anti-Semitism. He reveals the ``comparative quality and texture in expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment'' by demonstrating that most major anti-Semites and philo-Semites were more complex than their labels would indicate. However, Lindemann's penchant for nuance ultimately takes its toll. While there is an indisputable correlation between the rise of Jewish power and influence during the 19th and 20th centuries and the intensification of political and intellectual anti-Semitism, the author comes very close to suggesting that there is a clear-cut causal relationship between the two. Thus, he refers to modern anti-Semitism as ``transparently an ideology of revenge'' and alludes to the supposed ``Jewish sense of superiority (including certain kinds of measurable Jewish superiority) and the envy/hatred it has engendered.'' Finally, Lindemann, who calls for scholars to engage in a nonpolemical study of anti-Semitism, himself lapses into highly charged statements and rhetorical questions in an odd, rambling conclusion. There's much provocative, compelling material here, but the author's conclusions are too often contradictory or unpersuasive. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 598 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; First Edition (1n in number line) edition (August 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521593697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521593694
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,698,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Donald B. Siano on February 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a scholarly work on the origin and nature of anti-semitism and its history from the 1870's to the eve of the holocaust. It very efficiently refutes the failed interpretations of the Jewish apologists, whose claim that it is a causeless, inexplicable pathology of the non-Jews--independent of anything the Jews do, or even of their very presence, and is rooted in the Christian theology of deicide. It is, according to these morons, the province of a primitive impulse of the ignorant, something like the primitive's unreasoned abhorrence for ghosts and goblins.
Lindemann painstakingly shows the real complexity of the phenomenon, varying in time and place. He effectively proves that it is just another manifestation of the interaction of distinct peoples, with its quite understandable jealousies and hatreds brought on by competition for the goods of capitalism and modernity. There is nothing transcendental or ineffable about it, and can be understood by anyone able to think dispassionately and are susceptible to the arguments of the historical science. Most of what is written about it today, colored as it is by the propaganda of the holocaust, he persuasively claims, is the hooey of hysterics and the balderdash of the self-deceived. Moving decisively away from the by now traditional, emotional recitation of the injustice found in their over-worked narrative, toward a reasoned view enlightened by facts and data, he rises above such unreasoned nonsense and so will surely be accused of anti-semitism himself.
I especially appreciated his analysis of the phenomenon in Russia, and the background for the pogrom in Kishenev, is described in some detail.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By vs on June 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the second book by Albert Lindemann i read - again with pleasure. Being a professional historian, he's also a gifted, even talanted writer and philosopher. He has his own, very recognizable style, sometimes witty and aphoristic, sometimes deep and thoughtful.
The book touches upon many "uncomfortable" issues, especially for a Jew, because any Jew, who attempts to come up with some more balanced approach to those issues, is immediately labeled "self-hating".
Fortunately, Lindemann's credentials as a historian let his voice be heard, even if there are attempts to discredit his work. What is especially attractive, Lindemann never degrades himself (neither in his books nor in the exchanges on the Internet) by indulging in acrimony and accusations, so pervasive in writings of his opponents.
To appreciate Lindemann's depth as a philosopher, one only needs to read the last chapter of this book, "Epilogue and Conclusions". It deserves, to my taste, to be published separately, as a very profound essay of Jewish history and their position in the modern world.
I found chapters about Jews in Italy, about history of fascism in that country, especially interesting, but the chapters on Russian Revolution and Nazi Germany also contain many interesting facts about such supposedly well-known figures like Trotsky and Hitler.
Here's a quote from the last chapter of Lindemann's book: "My inspiration ... is captured in the deceptively simple words of a famous Jew, Baruch Spinoza: "With regard to human affairs, not to laugh, not to cry, not to become indignant, but to understand."
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Blumenau TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Teaching, as a Jew, the History of the Jews, I have often come across discomfort in my largely Jewish audience when I explain that hostility to Jews has understandable causes - which of course is not to say that tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner. Some of these causes - religious intolerance, envy, scapegoating - are wholly unworthy. Others relate to variety of dislikeable or threatening characteristics displayed by enough Jews to give rise to indefensible stereotyping.

So a frank discussion of the variety of causes of antisemitism is commendable, and the Preface of this book made me expect a fair-minded and dispassionate treatment of the subject. And yet within a very few pages I found assertions that struck me as distinctly skewed. Jews are said (p.14) to have found Marxism alluring because it emphasized the `tainted and sick qualities of modern Gentile existence' - ignoring Marx's hatred for Jews as particular exemplars of capitalism. On page 17 we are told that Jews were poor in Eastern Europe `primarily because the overwhelming majority of the population in that region was poor'. While this is true, there is no mention of the surely significant `secondary' reason - that obstacles, specifically directed at them, were placed in their way to raising themselves out of poverty. On page 20 we have the odd statement that Jewish religious rituals `threatened' other religions - how, is not explained. A substantial part of his long account of the Kishinev massacre of 1903, in which 45 Jews were killed, is devoted to showing how Jews exaggerated the scale of the disaster.
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