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Almost Englishmen: Baghdadi Jews in British Burma Paperback – November 24, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The author has done a service to Jewish studies by this engagingly written book, documenting a community that has largely disappeared. She has also done a service to the descendants of the people described, who are enabled through this book to recognize their ancestral roots. (Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal Of Jewish Studies)

Well-written with hardly a trace of politically-correct jargon or formulaic social-science talk . . . quite literary in its style. . . . [Cernea] seems to write . . . for general readers as well as the people it directly concerns. (Asian Journal of Social Science)

Almost Englishmen offers a painstaking record of the rise, flourishing, and slow death of the prosperous community of Baghdadi Jews in Burma (today's Myanmar.) With the keen eye and sympathetic ear of the anthropologist, Cernea has gathered the memories and contemporary impressions of a lost world of merchants at once devoted to tradition and enchanted by the cosmopolitan modernity of British India. (H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online)

This newly published volume is a delight: an easy read offering a fascinating account of the lives and times of the small but significant Jewish community―numbering some 2,100 at their peak―of Baghdadi origin in Burma (Myanmar) during and immediately after the Raj. It is illustrated with evocative photos and inventories of community members and their subsequent emigration details. (David Simon Hadashot)

The book is of interest to academics as well as non-academics who are personally committed to the history of the Jewish diaspora in South(East)-Asia. . . .Cernea’s analysis provides material for comparative anthropological as well as sociological and political research which is concerned with the establishment of religious minorities abroad. It offers a contribution to the analysis of international migratory movements in terms of patterns of assimilation, and the socio-political role and rights of religious minorities within the contexts of statehood and citizenship before and after colonialism. (Allegra: A Virtual Lab of Legal Anthropology)

About the Author

Anthropologist Ruth Fredman Cernea has been researching the history of the Baghdadi Jewish communities of Southeast Asia since her first visit to Burma in 1987.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (November 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739116479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739116470
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Ellis R. Shamash on August 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am a Baghdadi Jew who lived in Rangoon, Burma as a young child and boy in the 1950's. I found this book very interesting and brought back fond memories of my childhood. This book is well researched and should be of value to anyone interested in Jewish history.
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My partner and I traveled to Myanmar last February. It was a fabulous adventure. We made a special trip to see the only synagogue in that country. Yangon is a big city with a tremendously powerful history. The synagogue is especially sweet. The gentle soul who tends to the prayers and the space is generous to give visitors a warm and welcoming tour. Eddie(my parter) wanted to get the book so I ordered it for him as soon as we got home and unpacked and slept for a week!
The book is a history of the Jewish people who came to Myanmar how they made the adventure and what has become if their legacy.
We both enjoyed the book.
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Jews in Burma are perhaps not the best known ethnic community in the world, but this short, engaging, and very well-researched book tells you all you might want to know about one of the world's least known but extremely interesting communities, that once numbered in the thousands. Good read for those already fascinated by Burma, and a good contribution to the study of the Jewish diaspora.
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