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The Chosen (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449911543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911549
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (381 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Few stories offer more warmth, wisdom, or generosity than this tale of two boys, their fathers, their friendship, and the chaotic times in which they live. Though on the surface it explores religious faith--the intellectually committed as well as the passionately observant--the struggles addressed in The Chosen are familiar to families of all faiths and in all nations.

In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love. (This is not a conventional children's book, although it will move any wise child age 12 or older, and often appears on summer reading lists for high school students.) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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6 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I do not think this book would overwhelm or bore younger students, it is a simple, easy, and very enjoyable read.
Benjamin Brown
Reading this story will be just like a roller coaster ride: there are scary parts in it and really exciting parts where you just dont want to put the book down.
CKC
The way in which Chaim Potok explored the friendship between Reuven and Danny (the main characters) and their relationships with their fathers is wonderful.
Stacey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 125 people found the following review helpful By G. J Wiener on May 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel is suited for just about anybody regardless of religion or race. Those who are Jewish will relate a little easier but those of other faiths can apply the various relationships that occur in this book to their own lives.
The story is primarilly about two boys, Reuven and Danny who meet one day in a softball game. Danny is a Hassidic Jew and Reuven is merely Orthodox. Danny's initial impression is one of disdain towards Reuven as he is unable to relate to people who are not on his religious level at first impression. An accident on the ball field brings them together and eventually they begin a friendship. It grows deeper when both their fathers are drawn into each others worlds. It is indeed very interesting how each father raises his son so diffrently.
The backdrops of the hospital, World War II, the surrender of the Nazis, The Zionist Movement, and the eventual statehood of Israel effect the two worlds of Danny and Reuven. There is a period of time when the Zionist movement causes Danny and Reuven to put their friendship on hold. However, in time they return to nurture each other.
This is not a quick read by any means as anyone with a soul with be enamored by the details of this fine novel. Practically each page offers descriptive information about critical steps that Danny and Reuven take in their critical years to discovering themselves. Even both fathers learn something in the end. This is a story which will have you thinking and analyzing many many aspects of the lives of Danny and Reuven and I sincerely hope more teenagers and college students read this book and develop a greater acceptance for peers who may be a little different from themselves.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hinkle on March 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a story of friendship, a friendship that is formed between two Jewish boys (of differenct sects) under the most unusual circumstances. One boy, Danny, destined to be a tzaddik, a rabbi to the Hasidic community, is raised by his rabbi father who communicates to Danny only during study of the Torah. The other boy, Reuven, from a less strict Jewish sect, becomes more than a friend, actually more like a buffer or a liason between Danny and his father. Their friendship grows, is torn apart and then mended, leading to the emotional final chapter, as their true destinies begin to take shape.
Chaim Potok has become one of my favorite authors. This is the third book of his that I have read this year, and, as a Christian, his novels give me great insight into modern day Judaism. His books are not only informative, but brilliant, heartbreaking, and compassionate. Everyone with any kind of religious bent at all, or even the non-religious, should read his work. I'll guarantee that you will be moved.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Dan Eaton on July 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am an African American attorney who read this book as part of collecting readings for a summer trip with Operation Understanding to share with Black and Jewish high school students. Operation Understanding takes 8 Black and 8 Jewish students between their Junior and Senior years of high school on a trip across the South and Northeast, stopping at places of significance to both, in an effort to restore the alliance that existed between the groups especially during the Civil Rights Movement. This was the perfect book to gain a deeper understanding of American Jewry for the trip.
The book explores the relationship between two deeply religious boys from profoundly different traditions within that religion who are accidentally -- divinely, really -- brought together. The development of both boys' spirituality starts with lessons from their fathers and deepens with lessons from each other.
The Chosen takes place in World War II America. I was already familiar with many of the classic accounts of Holocaust survivors (Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel, and others.) This book richly filled a gap in that understanding by presenting a fully formed first person account, though ficitious, of the wrenching experience of American Jews who helplessly learned of the horror from here.
The book also offers thorough background information (which will have to be supplemented by further reading) about Jewish history, both cultural and religious. The author patiently explains terms presumably unfamiliar to the general reader and then trusts the reader to turn back if, during the course of reading the novel, the terms are momentarily forgotten. Those reviewers who said that Potok left the reader unaided were simply not paying close attention.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Emily Scott on February 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book explores the friendship that develops between two Jewish boys in New York City during the Second World War. I loved it for it's beautiful story and how it weaves together the very different lives of the boys, their relationships with their fathers, and the eventual interactions of all four of the characters. Potok includes numerous desriptions of Jewish tradition and customs, which is vital to the story as well as fascinating information. I found myself seeking to learn more about the Jewish faith when I finished this book. The plot is complex in how it balances the characters and their lives, all while teaching the reader about the various sects of Judaism. At the same time, it is told in beautiful language that is very easy to understand and appreciate. The entire book is muted and wonderfully understated, and it feels like you are listening to an old man recount his youth in a soft yet spirited voice. Potok's book "The Promise" follows up the story of "The Chosen" nicely, but the first book in the sequence is by far the best. At times tragic, jubilant, and thoughtful, this is by far one of the best books I have ever read, if not THE best. I feel like I'm a better person for it. Everyone should have a chance to read this book.
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