©1987 Paul Johnson; (P)1989 Blackstone Audio, inc.
"It's no mean feat to successfully compress 4,000 years of history into 645 pages, but Johnson has more than met the challenge....an excellent, nonscholarly history for general readers." (Library Journal)
"A tour de force....A remarkable achievement." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A marvelous book....This is history: richly textured, provocative and wise." (The Plain Dealer)
even better on the second read, or to be more precise, listen. highly recommend this book. the audio version is particularly enjoyable due in part to the great performance of the reader
The female reader's voice has a high pitch that takes some getting used to but the fatal flaw is that she apparently made little effort to learn correct Hebrew pronunciation. Continuous and widespread mispronunciation of names became a distraction beyond irritation. She incorrectly pronounces "Sanai", "Maimonedes", "Haganah", "Isaac", "Baal Shem Tov". Too often even a listener with only a casual familiarity with the correct pronunciation will not recognize what or who she is talking about since the pronunciation name or place is so bad you do not recognize it until later in the narrative. Sorry I bought the audio edition.
Narrator has a high pitched voice and speaks briskly, which makes it all but impossible for an American to understand. Might want to avoid this one.
The book was great. Typical of Paul Johnson, it was thoroughly researched, interesting to read and listen to, and comprehensive. The problem was the narration. I don't think it was Nadia May's English accent. It was incredibly bad sound engineering. I often had to listen to passages two to five times. More than less, I figured out the gist of what was being read and accepted that is good enough. This is such a great book that I hope they produce another audio version for future listeners. It was still worth the listen.
The information in the book was excellent. Well organized and intelligent.
Nadia May was a fine reader, but the recording was poor. I could hear other people in the background and the levels made her voice very high pitched at times.
This is a great book about the history of a phenomenal people, the culture and especially the countless ways history has ignored them. A real story detailing the countless contributions of a people who go back father than almost any other group in history despite the repeated attempts at their destruction. I'm not Jewish but read it to get informed about the group and was astonished at how all people have been blessed by the contributions of many of the most influential people in history.
The number of Nobel Prize winners, percentage of their representation in medicine and the law, as well as the impact in politics by several that made and changed history.
I recommend it,. At the least to contrast against, what is often taken as historical facts, that are in fact distortions that were written into "history" when propaganda to promote the view by different faiths over the last few thousand years.
Best listened to on 1st go without attempting to chronicle the story. Wow, so dense in reference. Rather "hear" the story. I'm thinking after a respite, I'll re-listen. And/or get a hard copy. 👍
My review of this text is tainted by the reader's constant mispronunciation of names. How someone can read a text of such historical levity, without first researching how to properly pronounce the names is beyond me.
In addition, the book is definitely written from an outsider's perspective, and with a Christian misunderstanding of certain aspects of Jewish life and history.
I am still searching for the perfect text, but this one is only adequate in terms of historical perspective.
I enjoyed the print version but cannot recommend it as an audio book---unless you don't know how the namers are supposed to be pronounced. Why do publishers allow narrators to make up their own pronunciations? The rampant mispronunciation of many, many Hebrew words and names (even relatively well known ones like Sinai) is very jarring. Worse, though, in the ear of the listener it tends to undermine the credibility and authoritativeness of the author, even though that is unfair and not really logical. Paul Johnson must be aghast at what was done to his opus.
(For those who don't know how the names are actually pronounced, I would give this 4 stars)
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