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A History of the Jews by Paul M. Johnson

A History of the Jews (original 1988; edition 1988)

by Paul M. Johnson

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1,1581211,003 (3.99)9
A classic study of the Jews by a best selling author. In this critically acclaimed book, Paul Johnson delves deep into the 4,000-year history of the Jews: a race of awe-inspiring endurance, steadfast homogeneity and loyalty and, above all, the belief that history has a purpose and humanity a destiny. With exacting precision and enthusiasm, Paul Johnson has mapped the lives of these people from their early ancestors in the House of David, through great periods of creativity and enterprise, alienation in the ghettos, Adolf Hitler's obsession to obliterate the race, up until the present day. This book is a powerful argument about the nature of Jewish genius, its strengths and contradictions, which brilliantly presents the entire Jewish phenomenon. It makes incisive though-provoking sense of the whole.… (more)
Title:A History of the Jews
Authors:Paul M. Johnson
Info:Harper Perennial (1988), Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:history, judaism, religion

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A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson (1988)



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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 |
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This book is dedicated
to the memory of
Hugh Fraser,
A true Christian gentleman
and lifelong friend of the Jews
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(Prologue): Why have I written a history of the Jews?
The Jews are the most tenacious people in history.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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