In this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the PBS and BBC series The Story of the Jews—Simon
Schama details the story of the Jewish experience, tracing it across three millennia, from their beginnings as an
ancient tribal people to the opening of the New World in 1492 to the modern day.
It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief,
the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds.
It spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of
Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue
glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud
and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in
In The Story of the Jews, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval
London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with
spice and gems founder at sea.
And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by
the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.
Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.