Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize
Selected as a Book of the Year 2017 by the Daily Telegraph, Mail on Sunday and Observer
“A riveting picture, generously rendered, of the stubborn, argumentative miracle of Jewish survival against the odds… Schama has made an eloquent and a far-reaching case for why Jews needed a small piece of earth they could call home.” — The New York Times Book Review
In the second of three volumes of 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 people from 1492 through the end of nineteenth century
Simon Schama’s great project continues and the Jewish story is woven into the fabric of humanity. Their search for a home where a distinctive religion and culture could be nourished without being marginalized suddenly takes on startling resonance in our own epoch of homelessness, wanderings, persecutions, and anxious arrivals.
Volume 2 of The Story of the Jews epic tells the stories of many who seldom figure in Jewish histories: not just the rabbis and the philosophers but a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a general in Ming China; a boxer in Georgian England, a Bible showman in Amsterdam; a teacher of the deaf in eighteenth-century France, an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It sails in caravels, rides the stagecoaches and the railways, trudges the dawn streets of London with a pack load of old clothes, hobbles along with the remnant of Napoleon’s ruined army.
Through Schama’s passionate and intelligent telling, a story emerges of the Jewish people that feels as if it is the story of everyone, of humanity packed with detail, this second chronicle in an epic tale will shed new light on a crucial period of history.₵65.00
Shimon Peres, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and one of the towering figures of the twentieth century, caps his legacy with this final book, completed shortly before his death—a majestic, intimate, and personal exploration of modern Israel’s history and values that provides invaluable insights for its future.
In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries. He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove—with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognized, honored, and admired statesmen.
In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room for Small Dreams spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel’s rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation. In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead—be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.
Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel– a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources — produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?
With the savvy of foreign policy insiders, Senor and Singer examine the lessons of the country’s adversity-driven culture, which flattens hierarchy and elevates informality — all backed up by government policies focused on innovation. In a world where economies as diverse as Ireland, Singapore and Dubai have tried to re-create the “Israel effect”, there are entrepreneurial lessons well worth noting. As America reboots its own economy and can-do spirit, there’s never been a better time to look at this remarkable and resilient nation for some impressive, surprising clues.₵50.00
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.
Within these pages, 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.₵60.00