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 Muslim Spain.
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.