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Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521795388
ISBN-10: 0521795389
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this very thorough interpretive history, Lindemann (history, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara) traces anti-Semitism from approximately 1870 until the rise of Hitler. Lindemann argues provocatively that with the rise of Jews in intellectual matters, politics, and commerce, a modern ideology of anti-Semitism likewise arose, aimed primarily at curbing what its advocates perceived as "the power of the Jews." Lindemann argues that this new anti-Semitism likewise varied in intensity from country to country and was usually not a central factor in the lives of either Jews or Gentiles. The most interesting section discusses the relationship between 19th-century socialism and anti-Semitism. Written in a popular style, this book can be recommended for both larger public libraries and academic libraries.?Mark Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

A richly informative, if highly problematic, overview of anti- Jewish bigotry and violence between the 1870s, when the term ``anti-Semitism'' was coined, and the Holocaust. Lindemann (History/Univ. of Calif., Santa Barbara), who has written previously on Dreyfus and other anti-Semitic cases, here focuses largely on Germany and France, with lesser attention to Russia, Great Britain, the US, Italy, Hungary, and Romania. (Curiously, a section on the interwar years almost entirely omits Poland, a country with a deep anti-Semitic tradition.) He correctly posits an indirect line between the racist anti-Semitism that characterized the beginning of the period and what Daniel Goldhagen calls the ``eliminationist'' ethos that led to the Holocaust. Lindemann also makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of both long-term socioeconomic and short-term political contingencies behind the expression of anti-Semitism. He reveals the ``comparative quality and texture in expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment'' by demonstrating that most major anti-Semites and philo-Semites were more complex than their labels would indicate. However, Lindemann's penchant for nuance ultimately takes its toll. While there is an indisputable correlation between the rise of Jewish power and influence during the 19th and 20th centuries and the intensification of political and intellectual anti-Semitism, the author comes very close to suggesting that there is a clear-cut causal relationship between the two. Thus, he refers to modern anti-Semitism as ``transparently an ideology of revenge'' and alludes to the supposed ``Jewish sense of superiority (including certain kinds of measurable Jewish superiority) and the envy/hatred it has engendered.'' Finally, Lindemann, who calls for scholars to engage in a nonpolemical study of anti-Semitism, himself lapses into highly charged statements and rhetorical questions in an odd, rambling conclusion. There's much provocative, compelling material here, but the author's conclusions are too often contradictory or unpersuasive. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews
  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521795389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521795388
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the second book by Albert Lindemann i read - again with pleasure. Being a professional historian, he's also a gifted, even talanted writer and philosopher. He has his own, very recognizable style, sometimes witty and aphoristic, sometimes deep and thoughtful.
The book touches upon many "uncomfortable" issues, especially for a Jew, because any Jew, who attempts to come up with some more balanced approach to those issues, is immediately labeled "self-hating".
Fortunately, Lindemann's credentials as a historian let his voice be heard, even if there are attempts to discredit his work. What is especially attractive, Lindemann never degrades himself (neither in his books nor in the exchanges on the Internet) by indulging in acrimony and accusations, so pervasive in writings of his opponents.
To appreciate Lindemann's depth as a philosopher, one only needs to read the last chapter of this book, "Epilogue and Conclusions". It deserves, to my taste, to be published separately, as a very profound essay of Jewish history and their position in the modern world.
I found chapters about Jews in Italy, about history of fascism in that country, especially interesting, but the chapters on Russian Revolution and Nazi Germany also contain many interesting facts about such supposedly well-known figures like Trotsky and Hitler.
Here's a quote from the last chapter of Lindemann's book: "My inspiration ... is captured in the deceptively simple words of a famous Jew, Baruch Spinoza: "With regard to human affairs, not to laugh, not to cry, not to become indignant, but to understand."
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Format: Hardcover
Lindemann demonstrates quite convincingly why antisemitism hasso often occurred where Jews have taken up residence. The process isinteractive, and the result is variegated, sometimes transitory and sometimes violent. The cliches (i.e., "envious Gentiles") are fully dispelled and replace with compelling and nuanced insights.
At nearly 600 pages Esau's Tears is more than historical analysis--it is packed with perceptive views on culture, people, ideas, writings and events of the modern period. Early into this engrossing work I realized that one cannot possibly understand our world and society without the prism of Jewish-Gentile relations as the definitive perspective. Esau's Tears is surely the best book to provide that.
It also serves as a counter-weight to recent polemical excesses, such as "Hitler's Willing Executioners," and steers us back from the emotive, ahistorical ruminations of others. At this critical point in the dialogue, Lindemann offers a dose of sense, logic and evidence. Esau's Tears is so temperate and balanced, in fact, that I honestly could not decide whether its author was Jewish or Gentile until well into it.
Lindemann's style is clear, engaging and far above the expected academic norm as a pleasurable experience. At times he writes provocatively, yet always with sensitivity and fairness.
I was disappointed only in Lindemann's omission of a few topics of my own interest, such as his take the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and why it found an audience. I would have liked to learn more on modern Christian antisemitism. Yet, even with these few gaps, Esau's Tears is a masterpiece, and rarely have I been sorrier to reach the conclusion of any book. In sum it is probably the best historical study I've ever read.
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Format: Paperback
_Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews_ (1997, Cambridge) by Albert S. Lindemann takes a unique perspective on the rise of anti-Semitism and its relation to the rise of the Jews. The author argues that anti-Semitism is directly related to Jewish activity and sees both anti-Semites and Jews as mutually repellant towards one another. The author examines the context of anti-Semitism showing how it is not historically unique and relating it directly to Jewish influence. The author shows that the history of anti-Semitism is far more ambiguous than is commonly believed. Further, the author notes the role of prominent Jews in relation to anti-Semitism as well as showing that many early "anti-Semites" were not evil men but had legitimate concerns about the role of Jews and sought a justifiable liberal solution. The book relies upon the biblical relationship between Jacob and Esau to explain the role of anti-Semitism in its relationship to the Jews.

The book includes the following parts and chapters-

Preface - explains the role of anti-Semitism in light of the Holocaust and Goldhagen's thesis, but also notes the role of Jewish involvement in these events and the role of the conflict with the Palestinians.

Part One: The Long-Range Background

Anti-Semitism Before the Modern Period: Overview and Definition - explains the notion of Esau's tears and relates this to classical anti-Semitism. Notes the distrust of the early church for the Jews but explains how in light of history such distrust made sense.
Read more ›
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