Antisemitism: A History

Albert S. Lindemann add Richard S. Levy, eds.. Antisemitism: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) pp. 288.

Some books are good and some are useful; this is both.

In fifteen well written, concise chapters, this work covers the entire history of antisemitism from the pre-Christian era to contemporary times. Though written by different authors, there is a rare uniformity of quality that is difficult to obtain from a multi-authored collection; more rare still, each author has stuck to their assignment, writing an essay that is deep enough to be of interest to scholars, broad enough to serve as a general introduction, clear enough to serve as a classroom textbook both for an overview course and for a more specialized one. The editors provide the bookends with Lindemann’s important essay on the Jewish Question and the persistence, duration and intensity of antisemitism and a conclusion that is both a wrap up overview but also indicates what remains to be understood.

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The Emergence of Jewish Ghettos During the Holocaust

Dan Michman, The Emergence of Jewish Ghettos During the Holocaust (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011) pp. 191.

Holocaust Studies is not a field that yields much pleasure. The material is emotionally and intellectually taxing and the insights that one gains, especially if they are important, are often profoundly depressing with regard to the human capacities to inflict evil one upon another. But one of the pleasures that one can have in this field is to see its maturation, to read the new work of young scholars and the fresh work of experienced scholars who are taking innovative approaches to their field of studies.

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Masterful Historians Take Use of Oral History to New Level

"Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp" by Christopher R. Browning (W.H. Norton and Co., 2010)

"The Death of the Shtetl" by Yehuda Bauer (Yale University Press, 2010)

Among the great privileges of reading contemporary Holocaust history is seeing the maturation of a field, especially the distinguished work of its most senior and most respected historians as they break new ground, cover new fields and hone their skills.

Two recent books have done just that, in the process advancing the tools by which we can understand this history.

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