History in Review
A History of the Jews in the Modern World
By Howard M. Sachar. (
Alfred A. Knopf, NY: 2005. Pg. 831.) ISBN: 0-375-41497-5
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - October 24, 2005
Howard M. Sachar is a renowned historian and scholar who has written numerous works on Jewish history and civilization. He was the editor of the 39 volume The Rise of Israel: A Documentary History and he is the author of such ground breaking books as Farewell España: The World of the Sephardim Remembered, Dreamland: Europeans and Jews in the Aftermath of the Great War, and A History of the Jews in America. He is also a Professor of Modern History Emeritus at George Washington University. A History of the Jews in the Modern World offers readers a concise, readable, and authoritative account of modern Jewish history. Suitable for both scholars and general readers, this book is an outstanding work of scholarship and serves as a general, comprehensive reference guide on Jewish history from the late 1700's through 2004.
Throughout this work, Sachar not only discusses western Jewish history, but also the history of Jewish communities around the world, including those in the Middle East and the Americas, as well as both Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities. Written in a flowing narrative style, this text brings to life the vibrancy and uniqueness of these various communities. He also chronicles their relationships with their gentile neighbors - both the good, and the bad. By historical necessity, a large chunk of this book is devoted to antisemitism, the Holocaust and the years preceding and following this tragic period, as well as the development of Zionism and the history of modern Israel. Brief biographies of leading figures in Jewish history, from the Ba'al Shem Tov and Theodor Herzl to David Ben-Gurion and Sholem Aleichem are also interwoven into the narrative. Biographies of integral non-Jews, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Gamal Abd al-Nasser are also included.
A quick glimpse at a sampling of the chapter titles in this book will give you a general overview of the breadth of material covered in this monumental work.
The Jews as Non-European
Incarceration: The Jews of Tsarist Russia
The Impact of Western Culture on Jewish Life
A Sephardic-Oriental Diaspora
The Rise of Jewish Life in America
A Migration of East European Jewry: 1881-1914
The Onset of Modern Antisemitism
The Rise of Zionism
The Balfour Declaration and the Jewish National Home
The Triumph of East European Fascism
The Holocaust of European Jewry
The Birth of Israel
A Latin Israel in the Southern Hemisphere
Israel, The united States, and the Struggle for Soviet Jewry
In all, there are thirty-six chapters in this book, followed by an author's afterword in which Sachar presents his opinions on the current state of Jewry and what may lay ahead.
A History of the Jews in the Modern World is a sweeping narrative which is both fascinating and informative to read. Sachar's account is accurate and free of any religious or cultural biases. The text can be read straight through, or broken into smaller sections that best suit the interests of the reader. The text is well indexed, and an up-to-date bibliography, organized by chapter is also included. This bibliography is well suited as a guide for those interested in studying Jewish history in more depth. I highly recommend this A History of the Jews in the Modern World for high school and college level classroom use, as well as for general readers with an interest in Jewish history.
Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan, By John M. G. Barclay.
Academic study of Jewish history during the Graeco-Roman period is usually focused on Jewish life in Judea. Often overlooked are the far flung and substantial Jewish communities that were scattered around the Mediterranean. Until recently, if a reader had a desire to study this period of the Jewish diaspora, they quickly found that a basic text on this subject did not exist. This oversight has been corrected with the publication of Jews in the
Israel: A History, by Martin Gilbert.
This book primarily concentrates on the first fifty years of Israeli statehood, Gilbert also details the events and figures that contributed to the formation of the state, including the pogroms in Russia that helped to foster the growth of Zionism, and the Holocaust which made the establishment of the state so vital as a safe harbor for the survivors.
The Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000, by Hasia R. Diner.
Offers a general survey of Jewish life in America, covering both historical, religious, and social milestones.
Questions or Comments? Send an email to:
Copyright © History in Review 2001 - 2017 All Rights Reserved