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Belonging

The Story of the Jews 1492-1900

Simon Schama, CBE

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Vintage
15 October 2018
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE

SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 BY THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, MAIL ON SUNDAY AND OBSERVER

'A glittering gemstone of a book' The Times

The Jewish story is a history that is about, and for, all of us. And in our own time of anxious arrivals and enforced departures, the Jews' search for a home is more startlingly resonant than ever.

Belonging is a magnificent cultural history abundantly alive with energy, character and colour. It spans centuries and continents, from the Jews' expulsion from Spain in 1492 it navigates miracles and massacres, wandering, discrimination, harmony and tolerance; to the brink of the twentieth century and, it seems, a point of profound hope.

It tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; 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 stage coaches and the railways; trudges the dawn streets of London, hobbles along with the remnant of Napoleon's ruined army.

Through Schama's passionate telling of this second chronicle in an epic tale, a history emerges of the Jewish people that feels it is the story of everyone, of humanity.
By:  
Imprint:   Vintage
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 50mm
Weight:   662g
ISBN:   9780099590064
ISBN 10:   0099590069
Pages:   784
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. His award-winning books, translated into fifteen languages, include Citizens, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt's Eyes, A History of Britain, The Power of Art, Rough Crossings, The American Future, The Face of Britain and The Story of the Jews- Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492). His art columns for the New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for criticism and his journalism has appeared regularly in the Guardian and the Financial Times where he is Contributing Editor. He has written and presented more than fifty films for the BBC on subjects as diverse as Tolstoy, American politics, and The Story of the Jews and is co-presenter of a new landmark series on the history of world art, Civilisations.

Reviews for Belonging: The Story of the Jews 1492-1900

An extraordinary cultural journey, filled with astonishingly colourful and outrageous characters ... Schama delivers a superb and thrilling ride, both inspirational and tragic. -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * Mail on Sunday * So beautifully written it regularly takes your breath away, it is a book far greater than the sum of its parts. Daunted by its colossal size, I started reading with some trepidation; I finished filled with wonder and delight. -- Abigail Green * Times Literary Supplement * A rich melody that soars above the ground bass of prejudice and persecution ... Schama has made himself the leading virtuoso of our time. This second volume of this trilogy is an affirmation of faith in the grand narrative ... Its familiar and familial tone proclaims the author's unapologetic mission to play his part in the story of the Jews by bringing their history alive... [A] glittering gemstone of a book -- Daniel Johnson * The Times * Magisterial ... the product of a world-class historian at the peak of his creative powers ... rich, ornate, intensely evocative and sensory. With astonishing range and extraordinary synthesising powers, Schama captures the drama of Jewish history. * Financial Times * A magnificent achievement... [a] parade of bustlingly vital characters from across the globe ... all painted in luminous colour... By offering such a throbbing cavalcade of characters, Schama is defying several key assumptions, even stereotypes, about Jewish history and Jews themselves... Above all, while much Jewish history can read like a sorrowful trudge through disaster, plague and pogrom, Schama's book teems with life rather than death -- Jonathan Freedland * Guardian *


  • Long-listed for Cundill Prize for Historical Literature 2017 (UK)
  • Short-listed for Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2017 (UK)

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