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From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present
Edited by Eli Barnavi
A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People, edited by Eli Barnavi, is one of those rare books that can literally make a reader gasp with delight and horror. It may even be the best one-volume history of Judaism in print. Beginning with "The Migrations of the Patriarchs," and continuing to the present day, the book's chapters include historical maps, timelines, illustrations and photographs, and narrative essays by leading historians (such as Moshe Idel) that help readers not only understand but visualize the movements of the Jewish people. The editors have chosen not to structure the story as leading inexorably to the Holocaust and the rise of Israel, although both events are covered in some detail. Instead, they have depicted the rich variety of lives established by the Diaspora in such far-flung places as China and England, and have been equally attentive to the joys and triumphs of Jews, both in everyday life and in national cultures, as to the considerable tragedies Jews have endured. The text of this book is smart and readable, but the real joy of the atlas is its illustrations, many of which are rarely seen, such as 20th-century artist Abel Pann's depiction of the creation of Adam, "He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." It's the kind of image that reminds you that life really is a gift, and makes you savor it. --Michael Joseph Gross
Hardcover. 336 pages.
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