This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson

A History of the Jews (1988)

by Paul Johnson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1291311,003 (4.01)9



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

English (10)  Spanish (2)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Loved this book. Very informative. I learned so much. ( )
  JaneLarkin | Sep 24, 2014 |
This is a powerful reminder of the Jewish achievements that covers 4000 years. It not only covers Jewish history, but the Jewish genius and imagination on the world.
  SABC | Mar 16, 2014 |
This is an excellent book, and for anyone interested in learning about the Jews, this is an excellent book. Paul Johnson has covered the saga of the Jews in an admirable way. Having said that, it is a heavy read, and may require one or two re-readings after a space of time, to fully understand the book. This, I write from the perspective of an Asian who has read about the persecution of the Jews, but who's knowledge is sketchy.

The manner in which I approached the book also made it a bit confusing at first, with references to Biblical characters, as I had not realized that the Old Testament is more historical than I had realized. It is also the history of a people, and not the history of a nation: it is not the history of Jerusalem and Israel, as I soon realized. Having said this, the one gripe that I do have about the book, is that he could have divided the chapters into sections, which would have made it easier to understand the flow of the story from continent to continent.

The approach is balanced, and this is something that I like. It would have been easy to adopt a somewhat biased and hysterical stance, especially considering what the Jews have endured. That he wrote the book in a balanced and somewhat detached manner is remarkable.

It is also sad to understand how, in the name of God, we persecute people, and initiate pogroms against them due to our own ignorance and blind faith. In that sense, it is as much of a history of human bigotry and cruelty.

I read the book, and came out at the end, with considerable admiration for the Jews, as a people.

This is a book that I highly recommend. ( )
  RajivC | Oct 26, 2013 |
This was a very personal book for me to read, and my feelings about it vary from great interest to embarrassment. Great interest because his recounting of early history is fascinating and new to me. His investigation of archaeological and other evidence of the pre-biblical and biblical eras is detailed, direct and unbiased. But he seems to lean some of the more recent history, that of Jews in America, for instance, seems toward a Jewish exceptionalism that is made explicit in his short epilogue. Toynbee said Jews were fossils, inexplicably present well after their rightful time. Johnson sees Jews as leading the moral development of the world, infinitely adaptable and valuable to the continuity of civilization. I don't care for either description.

Nevertheless, the book is a valuable addition to the historical canvas. Some of it, such as the details of Jewish life during the Middle Ages, is so painful I had to put the book aside. The chapter on Israel is detailed, if perhaps more laudatory than it should be, especially in light of recent current events. I'm glad I read it. But I don't think I would read it again. ( )
1 vote ffortsa | Sep 24, 2011 |
From pre-history to Zion
  Folkshul | Jan 15, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
This book is dedicated
to the memory of
Hugh Fraser,
A true Christian gentleman
and lifelong friend of the Jews
First words
(Prologue): Why have I written a history of the Jews?
The Jews are the most tenacious people in history.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060915331, Paperback)

Paul Johnson says that writing A History of the Jews was like writing a history of the world "seen from the viewpoint of a learned and intelligent victim." Johnson's history begins with the Bible and ends with the establishment of the State of Israel. Throughout, Johnson's history is driven by a philosophical interest: "The Jews," he writes, "stand right at the centre of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose. Does their own history suggest that such attempts are worth making? Or does it reveal their essential futility?" Johnson's history is lucid, thorough, and--as one would expect of almost any project with such a broad scope--a little wrong-headed. By the end of the book, readers will be grateful for Johnson's questioning of the Jews' confidence in their cosmic significance. However, readers may also be a little annoyed by his energetic inquiries as to whether this significance was man-made or providentially provided. Either way, it's a given: for a historian of Israel, this should adequately settle the question. Johnson's 600-page history is probably the best we've got by a living gentile--which is no small accomplishment at all. --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:23 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A survey covering four thousand years of Jewish history and the impact of Jewish genius and imagination on the world.

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.01)
2 3
3 18
3.5 7
4 39
4.5 6
5 25

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,603,622 books! | Top bar: Always visible