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A History of the Jews in the Modern World

A History of the Jews in the Modern World

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Written by Howard M. SacharAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Howard M. Sachar

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 848 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: September 12, 2006
  • Price: $24.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-4000-3097-2 (1-4000-3097-8)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

The distinguished historian of the Jewish people, Howard M. Sachar, gives us a comprehensive and enthralling chronicle of the achievements and traumas of the Jews over the last four hundred years.

Tracking their fate from Western Europe’s age of mercantilism in the seventeenth century to the post-Soviet and post-imperialist Islamic upheavals of the twenty-first century, Sachar applies his renowned narrative skill to the central role of the Jews in many of the most impressive achievements of modern civilization: whether in the rise of economic capitalism or of political socialism; in the discoveries of theoretical physics or applied medicine; in “higher” literary criticism or mass communication and popular entertainment.

As his account unfolds and moves from epoch to epoch, from continent to continent, from Europe to the Americas and the Middle East, Sachar evaluates communities that, until lately, have been underestimated in the perspective of Jewish and world history—among them, Jews of Sephardic provenance, of the Moslem regions, and of Africa. By the same token, Sachar applies a master’s hand in describing and deciphering the Jews’ unique exposure and functional usefulness to totalitarian movements—fascist, Nazi, and Stalinist. In the process, he shines an unsparing light on the often widely dissimilar behavior of separate European peoples, and on separate Jewish populations, during the Holocaust.

A distillation of the author’s lifetime of scholarly research and teaching experience, A History of the Jews in the Modern World provides a source of unsurpassed intellectual richness for university students and educated laypersons alike.

“Howard M. Sachar is a historian of note whose books have enlightened thousands of students and readers. His output is prodigious; each new volume is superior to the previous. The present one, a magnum opus, could not be bettered. It is comprehensive, analytical and written in a felicitous style. Personalities and events are vividly described in an engaging manner. We are fortunate that the wondrous saga of the Jewish people in the modern period has been portrayed by such a competent and erudite historian. The book is a must. Both the lay and specialist reader will be richly rewarded.” —Isaiah Friedman, author of Palestine: A Twice-Promised Land?

“This is the work of a lifetime, a magisterial study by one of America's most widely-read Jewish historians. A fitting capstone to a remarkable career, it is a book that all future histories of modern Jewry will be measured against.” —Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History

“Like all of Sachar's books, this too is comprehensive, illuminating and readable. Weaves Jewish history through the intricacies of modern developments with a magisterial sweep, bringing out the unique combination of promise, tragedy and survival which have characterized Jewish life in the last two centuries.” —Shlomo Avineri, author of The Making of Modern Zionism

“This learned, sweeping panoramic view of the Jewish experience in modernity will long remain in its present state, the standard history text of this period. The book is comprehensive showing vast erudition without becoming pedantic. Sachar draws stunning portraits of those who shaped Jewish destiny in the modern period and presents the events of the time vividly, accurately, objectively but with great passion for the greatness of this long epoch and those who shaped it.” —Alfred Gottschalk, President Emeritus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and author of Ahad Ha-Am and the Jewish National Spirit

“In this expansive and magisterial history of the Jews in the modern world, Howard Sachar chronicles the fate and fortune of the Jews in the past three centuries as well as their extraordinary contributions to politics, economics, culture, and diplomacy. Mindful of the boom in Jewish historiography in recent decades, reflected also in his very useful bibliography, Sachar's narrative extends throughout the Jewish Diaspora and covers topics too often neglected by lesser historians, such as Sephardi and Latin American Jewish communities, Jews in Middle Eastern and African countries, as well as the relationship of the State of Israel to Jews around the world. This distinguished historian and experienced teacher has created a vibrant, highly readable text for students of history and the general reader alike.” —Jehuda Reinharz, President of Brandeis University and Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History and co-author of The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History