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The Jews: Story of a People Paperback – November 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition (November 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440505062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440505068
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history of the jews.
Francis P. Armendariz
Of particular interest is the description of the start of Christianity and its influence throughout the centuries.
Barbara A. Salsitz
The result is compelling and fascinating, in the incredible style of Howard Fast.
Gary Selikow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on March 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Howard Fast's "The Jews: Story Of A People" tells the magnificent story of the Jewish nation. Covering thousands of years in a 360 pages, Fast paints in broad strokes, emphasizing themes and movements, highlighted by exceptional individuals.

Beginning with Moses, he carries the story through the period of the Judges, the Kingdom of David and Solomon, the divided kingdom, the exile, the Diaspora and the establishment of the state of Israel.

Throughout this history, Fast highlights several turning points in the Jewish story. Moses' role in the establishment of the Jews as a people provides a beginning point. The status of the Davidic Kingdom is placed in perspective among the neighboring realms. The crucial role of the Babylonian Exile in defining the Jewish idea and the Jews' relationship to the Samaritans aids the reader's understanding. The explanation of the Diaspora which occurred during Biblical times and after the destruction of Jerusalem helps the reader appreciate the new status of the Jews as a people living outside of their homeland. The narrative of the role of the Jews in Europe during the centuries of the Christian era makes for fascinating reading. Their role as physicians and in the transmission of knowledge of medicine other professions helps place them in the saga of European civilization. Fast does a good job of explaining the shifting locations and distinctive traits of Jewry in Spain, Germany and Eastern Europe over the centuries.

Much attention is directed to the role of the United States in the history of the Jews. Early American Jews are examined as well as the role of America in molding the Jewish identity.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Barbara A. Salsitz on March 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book gives a clear, detailed, fascinating depiction of the progress and evolution of the Jews and their God from earliest Nomadic times of wandering the desert, through the centuries, to the beginning of the state of Israel. It tells historically and accurately, but with the fascination of a novel, the contributions made by the Jews to the places and the peoples among whom they lived, and the harsh, many times inhuman treatment they received. It includes their participation in the development of the New World and their homeland of Israel. Of particular interest is the description of the start of Christianity and its influence throughout the centuries.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on September 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
`The Jews, Story of a People' by the very well known novelist and screenplay author, Howard Fast, is not a straightforward history covering every dot and whittle of Jewish religious and political history. That task would require a far larger volume, and I suspect many such books have been written to cover just such an account. The narrative in this book, however, is strictly based on historical and archeological findings. It's story of the Jews from the dawn of history to the beginning of true history writing, from about 1200 BCE to the time of the historian, Josephus, in 60 CE is NOT based on retelling the stories of the Jewish Testament, the `Law, the Prophets, and the Wisdom writings'. It is also not a fictionalized history, as one sees from the pen of Gore Vidal on parts of American history. With some trepidation, I might liken it to Truman Capote's `non-fiction novel' approach of `In Cold Blood'. That is, it recounts history with the novelist's skill in narrative.
The book covers all major events in Jewish history from the age when it was a collection of nomadic tribes traveling back and forth from one pasture to another to the Holocaust, but it concentrates on the highpoints. Whole centuries such as the time between the end of Solomon's reign in 931 BCE and the start of the Babylonian captivity of Judea in 586 BCE are glossed over. And, major figures such as Isaiah seem to get practically no treatment at all. That does not mean this is a `bad' book. It only means that it is good for some purposes and not good for other. Fortunately, it fit my purposes perfectly, as I wanted a good general summary of Old Testament Judaism in order to present a historical introduction to a class of people studying parts of the New Testament.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on January 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Jews : Story of a People by Howard Fast

Howard Fast was a most brilliant author. I have read his novels that revolve around the history of Ancient Israel: My Glorious Brothers; Moses, Prince of Egypt and Agrippa's Daughter.

In this work , published in 1968, he puts his pen to the service of documenting the history of the Jewish Nation.

The result is compelling and fascinating, in the incredible style of Howard Fast. The first three chapters deal with his theory as to the origin of the Hebrew people, and cannot be said to be really history. It is simply theory - which largely departs from the Biblical narrative- without any real proof or substance. Yet it is an interesting theory nonetheless. He deals comprehensively with Israel at the time of Herod and Hillel, and the life of Yehoshuah Ben Yosef (Jesus) and the birth of Christianity, under the ideas of Saul of Tarsus (Paul). Fast writes at length about how the Church planted the seeds of hatred that lead to the centuries of anti-Semitic terror and bloodshed against the Jewish people in Europe. He documents the Diaspora of the Jews when most of them where forced out of their homeland of Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel), by the Roman Empire, into the Mediterranean Lands the Balkans, Spain, Greece and Italy, and from there into Germany, France and England and then into Poland, Russia, the Baltic Lands, Belarus and the Ukraine.

The story of the Jews is a long and tragic tale of suffering and bloodshed of a people separated from their homeland for so many centuries and unable to determine their own future...
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More About the Author

Howard Fast (1914-2003) was one of the most prolific American writers of the twentieth century. He was a bestselling author of more than eighty works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays. The son of immigrants, Fast grew up in New York City and published his first novel upon finishing high school in 1933. In 1950, his refusal to provide the United States Congress with a list of possible Communist associates earned him a three-month prison sentence. During his incarceration, Fast wrote one of his best-known novels, Spartacus (1951). Throughout his long career, Fast matched his commitment to championing social justice in his writing with a deft, lively storytelling style.

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