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General Jewish History

Alpher, Joseph (ed). Encyclopedia of Jewish History: Events and Eras of the Jewish People. Facts on File Publications, 1986. Hardcover. 288 pages. ISBN 0-816012-20-2.
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Bamberger, Bernard. The Story of Judaism. Schocken Books, New York. 1970. May be out of print.

Baron, Salo W. A Social and Religous History of the Jews. 19 Vols to date. Columbia University Press, New York. 1952-. [Comprehensive, organized topically, not strictly chronologically. This book is very extensive, and may be difficult to read. Not for the beginner.]

The following are the volumes that I have information about:

Barnavi, Eli. A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the PresentSchocken Books, 1995. Hardcover Reissue edition. ISBN 0-805241-27-2.
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Baskin, Judith R. (ed). Jewish Women in Historical Perspective. Wayne State Univ Pr; 1999. Paperback. 2nd edition. ISBN 0-814327-13-3.
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Ben-Sasson, H.H. & Ettinger, S. (eds.). Jewish Society Through the Ages. Schocken Books. 1971. Out of print. [A survey of Jewish life edited by two distinguished Hebrew University professors and commissioned by UNESCO]

Ben-Sasson, H. H. (ed.). A History of the Jewish People (by scholars at the Hebrew U, Jerusalem). English translation: Harvard University Press, 1976. Hebrew: Dvir Publishing House, Tel Aviv, 1969. 1170 pp. ISBN 0-674397-30-4. English Paperback Reprint, 1985, Harvard Univ Pr, ISBN: 0-674397-31-2. [Prepared by six distinguished scholars at the Hebrew University, this comprehensive history pays particular attention to more recent historical sources, discoveries of archaeological research and to other source material such as talmudic literature often ignored by other historians.]
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Blech, Benjamin. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture MacMillan Distribution. 1999. 416 pp. ISBN 0-028627-11-3
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Brody, Robert. The Geonim of Babylonia and the Shaping of Medieval Jewish Culture. Yale Univ Pr; 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 0-300070-47-0.
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Brook, Kevin Alan. The Jews of Khazaria Jason Aronson, 1999. Hardcover. 360 pages. ISBN 0-765762-12-9. [Kevin is a contributor to the S.C.J FAQ, and provided much of the material for the section about Khazaria and Ashkenazi Jews.]
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Cahill, Thomas. The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels. Hinges of History: Vol. 2. Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 1998. 291 pages. ISBN 0-385482-48-5.
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Cohen, Mark R. Under Crescent and Cross. Princeton University Press. Reissue edition, 1995. Paperback. 304 pages. ISBN 0-691010-82-X.
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Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. Atlas of Jewish History. Routledge. 1996. Paperback. ISBN 0-415088-00-3.
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Dimont, Max. Jews, God, and History. Signet Books, New York. 1962. Paperback revised and updated, 1994, Mentor Books, ISBN 0-451628-66-7. [Note: May not be completely reliable]
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Dorfman, Rivka; Dorfman, Ben-Zion. Synagogues Without Jews: And the Communities That Built and Used Them. Jewish Publication Society; November 2000. Hardcover. ISBN 0-827606-92-3. [This book presents the histories of 34 Jewish communities in Europe and describes the art and architecture of their synagogues with 300+ photographs and discussion. Most of these communities no longer exist. A special chapter, "A Gallery of Women" is devoted to particular women and the role of women in the synagogue.]
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Finkelstein, Louis. The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of Their Faith. Jewish Publication Society. 1938. Out of print. [A two volume classic]

Finkelstein, Louis (ed.). The Jews: Their History. Schocken Books. 1971 (4th ed.). Out of print. [A comprehensive description of Judaism and the Jews, edited by the late Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary]

Finkelstein, Louis (ed.). The Jews: Their Religion and Culture. Schocken Books. 1971 (4th ed.). Out of print. [A comprehensive description of Judaism and the Jews, edited by the late Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary]

Finkelstein, Louis (ed.). The Jews: Their Role in Civilization. Schocken Books. 1971 (4th ed.). Out of print. [A comprehensive description of Judaism and the Jews, edited by the late Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary]

Gerber, Jane S. (ed.); De Lange, Nicholas (ed); and De Lange, N. R. M. The Illustrated History of the Jewish People Harcourt Brace. Hardcover illustrate edition. 448 pp. 1997. ISBN 0-151003-02-5.
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Glick, Leonard B. Abraham's Heirs: Jews and Christians in Medieval Europe. Syracuse University Press. 1st edition, 1999. Paperback. 272 pages. ISBN 0-815627-79-3.
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Greenbaum, Masha. The Jews of Lithuania: A History of a Remarkable Community 1316-1945. Gefen Books, 1997. Hardcover. 416 pages. ISBN 9-652291-32-3.
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Goiten S.D. Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages. Schocken Books. 1974 (3ed.). Out of print. [A classic historical survey]

Grayzel, Solomon. A History of the Jews. Jewish Publishing Society, Philadelphia. 1967. ISBN 0-827601-42-5. May be out of print. [Good overview. A good general perspective on Jewish history. Not Orthodox.]
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Gribetz, Judah; Greenstein, Edward L.; Stein, Regina. The Timetables of Jewish History: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in Jewish History. ISBN 0-671885-77-4. Out of print.

Hallo, William, Ruderman, David, & Stanislawski (eds.). Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (Source Reader). Praeger Publishers. 1984. ISBN 0-275911-83-7. [primary materials designed to parallel the TV series; Hallo is professor of Assyriology and Babylonian Literature at Yale, Ruderman chairs Yale's Judaica Department, Stanislawski is professor of Jewish History at Columbia]
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Hallo, William, Ruderman, David, & Stanislawski. Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (Study Guide). Praeger Publishers. 1984. Out of print. [primary materials designed to parallel the TV series; Hallo is professor of Assyriology and Babylonian Literature at Yale, Ruderman chairs Yale's Judaica Department, Stanislawski is professor of Jewish History at Columbia]

Isaacs, Jacob. Our People 6 vols. Kehot, Brooklyn NY. 1989. May be out of print. [History up unto the modern era from the traditional point of view]

Isaacs, Ronald H. (ed); Olitzky, Kerry M. (ed). Critical Documents of Jewish History: A Sourcebook. Jason Aronson; 1995. Hardcover. ISBN 1-568213-92-1.
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Johnson, Paul. A History of the Jews. HarperCollins, 1988. 644 pp. ISBN 0-060915-33-1. [Using an active voice and an upbeat pacing, this 600-page tome is one of the most highly reccomended books on The subject. It delivers a comprehensive survey covering 4,000 years of Jewish history. A forceful and sustained analysis of Jewish emergence and an interpretation of how Jewish history, philosophy, ethics, and social and political notions interplay with world history.]
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Judah, Ha-Levi; Korobkin, N. Daniel The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith. Jason Aronson, 1998. Hardcover. 507 pages. ISBN 0-765799-70-7.
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Kaiser, Walter C. A History of Israel: From the Bronze Age Through the Jewish Wars. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998. Hardcover. 560 pages. ISBN 0-805462-84-8.
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Katz, Jacob. Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Studies in Jewish-Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (Scripta Judaica, 3). Behrman House; 1983. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-874413-65-6.
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Mendes-Flohr, Paul R. (ed); Reinharz, Jehuda (ed). The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History. Oxford Univ Press; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 0-195074-53-X.
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Miller, J. Maxwell; Hayes, John Haralson (photos). A History of Ancient Israel and Judah Westminster John Knox Press. 1986. Hardcover. 523 pages. ISBN 0-664212-62-X.
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Potok, Chaim. Wanderings: Chaim Potok's History of the Jews. Fawcett Books, 1990. ISBN: 0-449215-82-2.
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Roth, Cecil. A History of the Jews. Schocken, New York. rev. ed. 1966. also in paperback. Out of print.

Ruderman, David B. (ed.). Essential Papers on Jewish Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy. NYU Press. 1992. Paperback: ISBN 0-814774-20-2. Hardback: 0-814774-19-9.
Paperback: [Buy at Amazon:]; Hardback: [Buy at Amazon:]

Sachar, Howard Morley. The Course of Modern Jewish History. Vintage Books. New revised edition, 1990. Paperback. 891 pages. ISBN 0-679727-46-9.
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Sachar, Howard M. A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time. Knopf; 1996. Paperback. 2nd revised edition. ISBN 0-679765-63-8.
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Sacks, Jonathan. One People: Tradition, Modernity, and Jewish Unity (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization). Littman Library of Jewish Civilization; 1993. Paperback. ISBN 1-874774-01-3.
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Scheindlin, Raymond P. Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood. IDG Books Worldwide; 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 0-028625-86-2.
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Seltzer, Robert. M. Jewish People, Jewish Thought: The Jewish Experience in History. Macmillan Publishing Co, New York, 1980. Prentice Hall College Div; 1982, ISBN 0-024089-40-0. 896 pp [An intellectual history. Shows the development of Jewish ideas and concepts. On the level of an advanced undergrad or grad textbook and is not always easy going.]
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Wein, Berel. Triumph of Survival: The Story of Jews in the Modern Age, 1650-1990. Shaar Press, NY (Yeshivah Shaarei Torah, 36 Carlton Rd, Suffern NY). 1990. Mesorah Publications Ltd., 1993. ISBN 0-899064-98-1 (Hardback) [A fine history from the Orthodox perspective.]
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Wexler, Paul. The Ashkenazic Jews: A Slavo-Turkic People in Search of a Jewish Identity Slavica Publishers (Columbus OH). 1993. ISBN 0-893572-41-1. Out of print.

There is also a good reading list on American Jewish history maintained by the American Jewish Historical Society at

[Got Questions?]Our goal is to keep this list useful for its readers. To that end, suggestions of books to add to the list are always welcome. In your suggestion, please be as complete as possible; we need author, title, publisher, publishing date, and ISBN number. We also welcome a one paragraph short summary of why the book is of interest. Please send your suggestions to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2001 Daniel P. Faigin <>