Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Story of the Jews

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...