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A Short History of the Jews Hardcover – May 24, 2010


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A Short History of the Jews + A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew + The Jewish Bible: Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures -- The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text: Torah * Nevi'im * Kethuvim
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069114351X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691143514
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this concise but all-encompassing account of the Jews, Brenner (After the Holocaust) does a remarkable job of escorting readers from the biblical narrative of Abraham's journey from Ur and idolatry through the treacherous, monotheistic course of Jewish history, concluding with modern-day Israeli society. A professor of Jewish history at the University of Munich, Brenner treats much of the biblical narrative as lore, accepting as fact only those stories and time lines corroborated by extra-biblical evidence. Wandering, tradition, and tragedy emerge as themes as the Jews, once exiled from their biblical homeland of Israel, spend much of history defending their religion, being coerced to forsake it, and yearning for the re-establishment of the Temple. Tragedies have followed the Jews: Crusades, expulsions, book burnings, the Holocaust; yet there have also been periods of efflorescence and development during which the Jews have thrived and produced works of great scholarship and innovation. Brenner's work successfully conveys, in a comprehensive and comprehensible fashion, the enduring history of the Jewish people.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As the title indicates, this is a compact survey of Jewish history, an introduction for general readers. Still, Professor Brenner manages to cover a great deal of ground while effectively explaining many of the key elements of the Jewish experience. From biblical times to the present, Brenner asserts, a recurring theme of Jewish history is migration, yet it is migration that constantly kept the land of Israel as the focus of Jewish emotions and aspirations. In the opening chapter, Brenner utilizes recent scholarly revelations to effectively glean fact from mythology regarding early wanderings of the Israelites and the supposed exodus from Egypt and conquest of Canaan, but these enduring myths continue to exercise profound influence on Jews. Subsequent chapters also emphasize Jewish movements, from the expulsion from Judea under the Romans to the Holocaust. Critics may object to the Eurocentric concentration of later chapters, which ignore the vibrant Jewish communities in North Africa and western Asia. But on the whole, this work serves as an excellent introduction. --Jay Freeman

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By twp77 on May 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Brenner's book is accessible, knowledgeable and concise. It is an excellent starting point for those wanting to learn more about the history of the Jewish people. The book also contains interesting images from various versions of the Haggadah through the centuries from different countries. This underlines the deep respect one gets upon completion of the book for a people who have maintained their culture through centuries of diaspora. Recommended for students of religion and history.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Molly Myers on July 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am posting this review to counteract the one above, who does not seem to have read the book, and seems to have given it one star because he ordered the wrong title. The book is not overly long, given the 5,000 year history of the Jews.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with the comment of twp77. This book is concise and a very good introduction to Jewish history. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in history, as the language of the book is very accessible to anyone. The author has some other books on the same subject so I will have a look at those books, too.
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2 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Felix Aiellouria on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I mistakenly purchased this book, thinking that it was "A Short History of the Jewish People," by Raymond Scheindlin, which was recommended to me & often used as a textbook. I should have been more careful to read the author's name! This Brenner book is misnamed: it's nearly twice as long as Scheindlin's superb "Short History of the Jewish People" (which I ended up buying and reading; it is published by Oxford University Press), and not nearly as good a read as Scheindlin's.A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood
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1 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John on August 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I want to thank Molly for introducing me to a new review standard for Amazon book reviews. Because I do not believe that the author speaks every language that Jewish people have spoken in the last 5000 years, noone should buy this book. You wouldnt buy a book about China from someone who doesnt speak Chinese.
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