This is a sweeping and powerful narrative history of the Jewish people from biblical times to today. Based on the latest scholarship and richly illustrated, it is the most authoritative and accessible chronicle of the Jewish experience available. Michael Brenner tells a dramatic story of change and migration deeply rooted in tradition, taking readers from the mythic wanderings of Moses to the unspeakable atrocities of the Holocaust; from the Babylonian exile to the founding of the modern state of Israel; and from the Sephardic communities under medieval Islam to the shtetls of eastern Europe and the Hasidic enclaves of modern-day Brooklyn. The book is full of fascinating personal stories of exodus and return, from that told about Abraham, who brought his newfound faith into Canaan, to that of Holocaust survivor Esther Barkai, who lived on a kibbutz established on a German estate seized from the Nazi Julius Streicher as she awaited resettlement in Israel. Describing the events and people that have shaped Jewish history, and highlighting the important contributions Jews have made to the arts, politics, religion, and science, A Short History of the Jews is a compelling blend of storytelling and scholarship that brings the Jewish past marvelously to life.
Michael Brenner is professor of Jewish history and culture at the University of Munich. His books include Zionism: A Brief History and After the Holocaust: Rebuilding Jewish Lives in Postwar Germany (Princeton).
"As the title indicates, this is a compact survey of Jewish history, an introduction for general readers. Still, Professor Brenner manages to cover a great deal of ground while effectively explaining many of the key elements of the Jewish experience. From biblical times to the present, Brenner asserts, a recurring theme of Jewish history is migration, yet it is migration that constantly kept the land of Israel as the focus of Jewish emotions and aspirations. . . . On the whole, this work serves as an excellent introduction."--Jay Freeman, Booklist
"In this concise but all-encompassing account of the Jews, Brenner (After the Holocaust) does a remarkable job of escorting readers from the biblical narrative of Abraham's journey from Ur and idolatry through the treacherous, monotheistic course of Jewish history, concluding with modern-day Israeli society."--Publishers Weekly Religion Book Line
"This is an excellent overview of Jewish history--a well-written, up-to-date survey for college students and the general reader. Considering the scope of the coverage, the book is remarkably concise. The explanations under the attractive illustrations aptly point to their relevance in the period being discussed."--Robert Seltzer, H-Net Reviews
"Brenner offers a digestible, interesting, complex history, in an accessible format."--Jewish Book World
"Recommended."--Sandra Collins, Library Journal
"A Short History of the Jews is well-written and Jeremiah Riemer's translation from the German is quite readable. All in all, an excellent source for the reader, Jewish or otherwise."--Ed Sizemore, Denton Record-Chronicle
"This elegantly produced, generously illustrated text attempts the impossible--the telling of 3,000 years of Jewish history in less than 400 pages."--Choice
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Michael Brenner: