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All this really happened

Simon Schama’s history of the Jews excels at bringing the past to life—even if he fails to capture the richness of Jewish culture in medieval Europe

By Robert Alter   October 2013

The Story Of The Jews: Finding The Words 1000 BCE-1492 CE by Simon Schama (Bodley Head, £25)

Simon Schama may be the finest living practitioner in English of haute vulgarisation, and The Story of the Jews displays the enlivening virtues of that mode of writing, as well as some of its limitations. The subtitle and the announced time span are a little misleading. This particular story of the Jews really begins…

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