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The Promise Paperback – November 8, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (November 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400095417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400095414
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A profound, moving book...refreshing, inspiring” —The Wall Street Journal“A superb mirror of a place, a time, and a group of people who capture our immediate interest and holid it tightly.” --The Philadelphia Inquirer“The characterizations are vivid, the incidents dramatic, the narrative fluid. . . . Overall . . . a glow of human erudition and compassion.” --Washington Post Book World“Brilliantly and intricately conceived. . . . The Chosen established Chaim Potok’s reputation as a significant writer. The Promise reaffirms it.”–The New York Times Book Review

From the Inside Flap

"A superb mirror of a place, a time, and a group of people who capture our immediate interest and hold it tightly."
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Young Reuven Malter is unsure of himself and his place in life. An unconventional scholar, he struggles for recognition from his teachers. With his old friend Danny Saunders--who himself had abandoned the legacy as the chosen heir to his father's rabbinical dynasty for the uncertain life of a healer--Reuvan battles to save a sensitive boy imprisoned by his genius and rage. Painfully, triumphantly, Reuven's understanding of himself, though the boy change, as he starts to aproach the peace he has long sought.... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Chaim Potok's book, "The Promise" has to be one of the best books I have every read!
Jacob R. Morvay
What makes Potok's novels so compelling is that he frames these battles with skillful and deft plotting and beautiful heartfelt language.
cdset
Both are excellent books - the plot moves quickly, the characters are great, and the story is riveting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By cdset on August 11, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the most important aspects of Potok's novels is the conflict between traditional, Orthodox Judaism and the modern world of ideas that infringes upon it and challenges its authority. The conflict may be within Judaism (as in "The Promise's" battle between old and modern Jewish scholarship or "The Chosen's" consideration of Hasidism vs. modern Orthodoxy) or from outside of Judaism (art in "My Name is Asher Lev" or politics in "Davita's Harp").

What makes Potok's novels so compelling is that he frames these battles with skillful and deft plotting and beautiful heartfelt language. This aspect of his work reaches its apex with "The Promise", his most brilliantly constructed novel. From the first chapter, he skillfully interweaves the characters' struggles so that they relate to each other in a very meaningful way.

In addition, not since Carson McCullers, has a writer dealt so sensitively and realistically with the mind and struggles of youth and adolescence. Potok takes great pains to delve into the troubled Michael's psyche and helps us understand his demons. His other novels also share this sensitive dealing with youth and with the often stormy relationship between parent and child.

Danny Saunders, the Hasidic Jew we first encountered in "The Chosen" is, ironically, Potok's most "enlightened" creation. His is firmly rooted in his tradtions (in this case, Hasidism) but is also open to new ideas from the "modern world". He becomes a Psychologist, weds a woman outside of Hasidism, and dresses like a modern Jew. He is the realization of Potok's wish: the ability of man to be grounded in and love his faith without being rigid and intractable and intolerant of other ideas and opinions.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hinkle on June 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A sequel of sorts to "The Chosen", although this book stands quite well on its own, "The Promise" is the story of Reuven, a young rabbinical student, who befriends Michael, a troubled young man who eventually has to be institutionalized under the care of Reuven's friend, Danny. Meanwhile, Reuven is struggling with his teacher, Rav Kalman, a hard-line traditionalist who clashes with Reuven because Reuven has come under the influence of modern critical scholarship due to the influence of Reuven's own father and of Michael's father, Abraham Gordon. The clash of differing schools of Jewish religious thought and the conflict between religious and non-religious Jews is a major theme of this book. Meanwhile, Michael is making no progress in his therapy which leads Danny to propose a radical method of treatment.
This book is absolutely riveting, and it's very hard to put down once begun. The late Chaim Potok, in my opinion, is one of the best novelists of the late 20th century. His evocation of modern Jewish life and issues is unsurpassed, and he tells his stories so effortlessly that even a non-Jew like myself cannot help but be captivated at the same time as I'm being educated. In my opinion, this book is better than "The Chosen" and nearly equal to my favorite Potok novel, "My Name is Asher Lev". I give "The Promise" my highest recommendation.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Len Feder on December 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's nice when you can finish a book you like, and find that the major characters reappear in a later book. You really have to read The Chosen first, to meet the teenage Danny and Reuven. The Promise gives us a second chapter of their lives, when they are on the brink of beginning their chosen careers, Danny as a psychologist, Reuven trying to become an ordained rabbi.
There are two storylines going on simultaneously. Most of our time is spent on the conflicts between Hasidic doctrine and modern thought. The conservatives (Hasids) are like fundamentalist Christians in the sense that they believe every word of their holy books, literally. The moderns (including Reuven Malter and his father) apply their intelligence, and evaluate what they read. Perhaps the biggest conflict is when the Malters point out errors in the holy books, and arouse the fury of the Hasids. Will Reuven still be allowed to become a rabbi, even though he is a bit of a dissident?
The other storyline centers around Danny, the psychologist, taking on his first challenge. Michael is a mentally sick little boy, and it is up to Danny to crack the case, find out why he is sick, and find a way to cure him. In today's world we would be thinking in terms of lithium and various drugs to try to straighten Michael out, but this isn't that kind of book. The answer here has nothing to do with medicine or drugs. In Potok's world, Danny must find what is troubling Michael.
One weakness of the book is that the psychology seems extremely oversimplified, and not believable. We have to keep in mind that this isn't a psychology book. It's a story. And it really is a pretty good story. Even when I praise a book, I like to present the negatives, for the sake of fairness.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Meyers on December 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read The Chosen in 7th grade for school, and when I read The Promise for the first time a year later, I thought The Chosen was the better novel. Now in 10th grade, I've reread them both and comr to the conclusion that despite the fact that they are about the same characters, they are so differt that it is hard to compare them, and anyways, both are amazingly weel writtin and deeply touching novels. Personally, as an Orthodox Jew, I was able to recognize most of the terminology and Hebrew and Aramaic words, but when I looked at the other comments here, I saw that the majority of Gentiles could too, there where a few who had difficulty. One thing I really liked about this book is that unlike The Chosen, it deals with issues still contreversial within the Jewish community. There are many who ask the questions of Abraham Gordon and others who condem those who ask as Heretics (apikorsim). There are some who believe that the Talmud was revealed word for word at Mt. Sinai and others who follow Reuven's stance that the Talmud is Rabbinic discussions and laws derived from the Penteteuch (chumash). I liked the way that although the story is told through Reuven's eyes and he explaines his views and why he holds by them (I agree with him), Potok does not favor any particular view in this story. I think that everyone, Jew of Gentile should read this book at least once. it taught me a lot about the conflicts within Judaism.
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