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A History of the Jews | [Paul Johnson]

A History of the Jews

This historical magnum opus covers 4,000 years of the extraordinary history of the Jews as a people, a culture, and a nation. It shows the impact of Jewish character on the world: their genius, imagination, and, most of all, their ability to persevere despite severe persecutions. Compelling insights into events and individuals are chronologically detailed, from Moses and Jesus to Spinoza, Marx, Freud, the Rothschilds, and Golda Meir.
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Publisher's Summary

This historical magnum opus covers 4,000 years of the extraordinary history of the Jews as a people, a culture, and a nation. It shows the impact of Jewish character on the world - their genius, imagination, and, most of all, their ability to persevere despite severe persecutions. Compelling insights into events and individuals are chronologically detailed, from Moses and Jesus to Spinoza, Marx, Freud, the Rothschilds, and Golda Meir.

©1987 Paul Johnson; (P)1989 Blackstone Audio, inc.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (127 )
5 star
 (44)
4 star
 (40)
3 star
 (22)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
4.1 (62 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (4)
Story
3.5 (61 )
5 star
 (20)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
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  •  
    Nicholas PASCO, WA, United States 04-17-13
    Nicholas PASCO, WA, United States 04-17-13 Member Since 2012

    I have a hard time reading/listening to true fiction books. I think this is because my main reason for reading is to learn and not necessarily just for enjoyment, although I do read many historical fiction books. Favorites history/biography books and science/tech info books.

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    "Look at the review"
    What did you love best about A History of the Jews?

    I loved the same part that I disliked. Paul Johnson has so much info about so many different societies from different centuries.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    If you are going to read this book you had better have quite a bit of knowledge already about these civilizations and times. Paul Johnson moves quickly through 4000 years and I reallized that this book was too much for me soon after I started it. Reading this book without a substantial knowledge base on the subjects is like trying to play the guitar just having listened to a lot of music and thinking you're just going to breeze through it. It isnt going to happen. I would recommend reading some other books that focus on specific great civilizations throughout history. This book isnt for newbie historians, this thing moves fast and the author seems to believe that you already know a lot. I'm sure it is a great read for people who do know a lot on the subject

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn Schwenksville, PA, United States 02-04-13
    Kathryn Schwenksville, PA, United States 02-04-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Good story, not such good audio"
    What did you love best about A History of the Jews?

    This book gives great insight into the overarching history of the Jewish people, though its breadth takes a bit away from its depth, though this is probably a mercy since there is just so much history to review here!


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I'm sorry to say that the narration was not very satisfying. Nadia May is a wonderful reader, but here, perhaps because of poor recording equipment?, her voice sounded yappy and incessant. I was surprised by this since some of her other readings have been among my favorites.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those books which is great to fall asleep to. I look for a good long book that will send me off to sleep, and this one is definitely in that category! On the other hand, listening to it during my waking hours has been very interesting. My respect for the Jewish people, and my compassion for their years and years of suffering has intensified thanks to this book. I believe that this is the sort of history many people should be aware of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl 09-23-10
    Carl 09-23-10
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    "horrible sound quality"

    Really, really frustating. Not the text, it's beyond me to critique the text, but I had to stop listening because the sound quality was so bad.

    I've listened to a lot of books and I learned to deal with a British accent, as I'm sure the Brits cope with an American accent. Generally we understand each other just fine, but I've seen television shows that provided captions for American audiences of British speakers.

    While I think her accent is too "thick", it just sounds like the recording is really bad. I mean, I labored under this audio book for many hours. I didn't give up in the first of it's four parts. While I was engrossed in the text, it just got to a point where I had to say "enough" and go onto something else. Too bad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean New Albany, OH, USA 04-14-10
    Sean New Albany, OH, USA 04-14-10 Member Since 2004
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    "Tainted with mispronunciationS"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dlb 01-30-10
    dlb 01-30-10 Member Since 2005
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    "about the very frequent mispronunciation ..."

    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)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Lafayette, CA, USA 01-15-09
    George Lafayette, CA, USA 01-15-09
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    "Excellent book, some odd pronunciation"

    An excellent book on Jewish history, well researched and explained many things I didn't know as well as I would have liked. The reader is very good, with one exception - there are some strange pronunciations, for example Sinai is pronounced "sign-A-I", which detract from an otherwise well done reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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