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A history of the Jews - from Moses to the present day - by one of the world's finest historians, shot through with his own sense of what it means to have a Jewish history.

A history of the Jews is possibly the greatest story that can be told. It is the story of mankind - at its most noble and at its most barbaric. Simon Schama believes that by the time of publication the Jewish epic will once again be the fulcrum on which the fate of the world turns - that a two-state solution brokered in the Middle East by the Obama administration will be under threat from militant fundamentalists, supported by two nuclear states, Iran and Pakistan, capable of inflicting catastrophic damage in the region and beyond. So that moment, loaded with peril for all humanity, will ultimately turn, as so often before, on the obstinacy and grandeur of Jewish history - on its will, against the odds, to endure.

From the invention of a single deity and the killing of his embodied Son through to the production of urban modernity, so much of supreme importance for humanity bears the imprint of Jewish thinking and culture. As well as exploring that history, Simon Schama - as he did in The American Future - will report from the battlefronts of today. He will talk to Jews and non-Jews, to archaeologists, rabbis, soldiers, hedge fund managers, Israeli Arabs and Jews for Jesus, film-makers, cartoonists and comedians.

This is in every sense a major book - in its chronological reach and its international scope, in its humour and its tragedy, in the depth of its drama, and in its ability to change the way in which we view the world.

Reviews

Schama at his best, a labour of love, as full of memorable incident as a Bellow novel and wittier than a Woody Allen movie

The Times

Schama has written a proud and personal story of his people, one that will make a good starting point for those interested in one of history’s most fascinating and tragic tales

Josh Glancy, Sunday Times

Inspiring… Schama tells it with panache, weaving facts and anecdotes into a vivid history

Observer

Unforgettable…a delicious cacophony of conversations and clamorous arguments echoing across history

Daily Telegraph

A spirited, immensely enjoyable and wide-ranging account… [expresses] both the triumphs and the tragedies with irrepressible enthusiasm and his customary eloquence

Financial Times

400 pages of hatred and hope. Terrific

William Leith, Evening Standard

Schama is an entertaining and eloquent guide through the triumphs and tragedies

David Bradbury, Daily Mail

Schama at his best – a labour of love, as full of memorable incident as a Bellow novel and wittier than a Woody Allen movie

Daniel Johnson, The Times

A remarkably authoritative and engaging book

Good Book Guide

Few historians write with the energy of Simon Schama. His second volume on the history of the Jews shows that Schama has lost none of his vigour: the mixture of stories about people, ordinary but more extraordinary, witty asides, Schama family reminiscences, schmaltzy views of Jewish life in past times – all this is there

David Abulafia, Standpoint

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099546689

    September 16, 2014

    Vintage

    512 pages

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

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    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
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    • Readings
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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback

    9780099590064

    October 15, 2018

    Vintage

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9781847922816

    October 16, 2017

    Bodley Head

    560 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781448190669

    October 12, 2017

    Vintage Digital

    560 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
  • EBook

    9781409040040

    September 12, 2013

    Vintage Digital

    512 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo