Melanie Phillips writes a nicely nuanced review of Simon Schma's new book and TV series "Story of the Jews".
I have now finally watched all five episodes of Simon Schama’s much acclaimed Story of the Jews, which was broadcast last month on BBC TV. I have also read the accompanying book, which covers 1000 BCE to 1492 CE; the second volume is due out next year.
Like many others, I found much of the TV series spell-binding, magnificent and moving (the first episode was a bit incoherent, though; and more than a little jarring to launch such a series by dwelling upon Sigmund Freud’s bizarre Moses and Monotheism, which told the world little except that Freud had the mother and father of a problem when it came to his own ancestral faith).
Much of the rest of the series, though, was wonderful; and Schama is of course a peerless communicator, story-teller and performer. The book is even better; he breathes life into the past, his detail is as unexpected as it is illuminating, and you are just swept along by his passion, his emotion and his personal commitment.Read on...