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The Jewish Mystique Hardcover – April, 1977

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Stein & Day Pub; Second Pr. edition (April 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812812670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812812671
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an insightful work about Jewish history and character by a non- Jewish author. Van den Haag like Paul Johnson and Thomas Cahill later writes from outside the Jewish experience with real appreciation and understanding. Having read the book many years ago I will simply give one small insight of his. According to Van den Haag the intelligence involved in disproprotionate Jewish contribution to scientific and cultural creation came in part because among the Jews the most intelligent the learned were encouraged to have large families, while in the Christian world the most intelligent were priests and encouraged to be celibate. A counter- argument could be made pointing out the relatively small size of the families of the non- Hasidic Jewish leadership. In any case this is one small example of a book rich with insight and certainly worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book, mostly because of the fascinating subject matter. Especially chillling were the last two chapters where the author tries to prophesize about the state of american judaism in the year 2000. we are left to judge for oursleves whether he was right or wrong. I reccomend it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN JEWISH CULTURE AND THE ROLE "THE CHOSEN PEOPLE" HAVE PLAYED IN WORLD HISTORY, THIS LITERATE, WRY AND AMUSING OVERVIEW IS FASCINATING. I FIRST READ IT IN THE '60'S AFTER HAVING MOVED INTO A PREDOMINATELY JEWISH COMMUNITY AND WANTED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MY NEIGHBORS. THIS WAS THE PERFECT CHOICE AND ITS AUTHOR WAS A PROFESSOR IN NEW YORK CITY NEAR MY HOME. I TRACKED HIM DOWN AND TOLD HIM HOW MUCH I HAD ENJOYED IT AND WE HAD A DELIGHTFUL CONVERSATION THAT ENRICHED WHAT I'D ALREADY LEARNED. IT'S A BOOK OF ITS TIME IN SOME WAYS, BUT, SINCE IT CHRONICLES THE PAST AND PRESENT OF OVER 5,000 YEARS, THAT'S JUST AN INTERESTING FOOTNOTE. THIS COPY REPLACES ONE THAT GOT LOST IN A SUBSEQUENT MOVE.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This sociologist author is a combination between Eric Hoffer, with his incisive observations on the causes of mass movements (rendered as aphorisms) and Theodore Dalrymple (Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass), with his conservatism and lengthier (but interesting and well worded) explanations. Like Hoffer, van den Haag worked real jobs (as a bus boy and a vegetable seller as compared to Hoffer's years as a prospector, migrant worker, and longshoreman) and got a chance of observe human beings first hand (instead of as intellectual constructions of his own ego, like the typical academic). Also similarly to Hoffer, Van den Haag's verbal dexterity is all the more impressive, given that English is not his first language.

There are many incisive observations and explanations for many things:

1. In this chapter on Jewish radicalism (p. 123): "The champions of the underdog needs underdogs to champion.....[They] will serve as stage props, and hopefully as battering rams." Compare this to a quote from The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics): "Hitler dressed 80 million Germans in costumes and made them perform in a grandiose, heroic, and bloody opera."

2. In his chapter on Jewish vs. black discrimination (p. 102): "Justices Cardozo, Brandeis, and Frankfurter became justices of the Supreme Court in spite of being Jewish. Thurgood Marshall became Mr. Justice Marshall because he was a Negro. He is a competent lawyer. No one ever accused him of being an outstanding jurist.
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