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Emancipation: How Liberating Europe's Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance

Michael Goldfarb.
Publisher Simon & Schuster  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
ISBN 9781416547976
Pages/Publication Date 409/2009
Daedalus Item Code 32265
This item is not available.
For almost 500 years the Jews of Europe were kept apart, confined to ghettos or tiny villages in the countryside. Then in one extraordinary moment in the French Revolution, the Jews of France were emancipated, and ghetto gates began to open all over Europe. Emancipation tells the story of how this isolated minority emerged and, against great odds, established themselves as shapers of history, as writers, revolutionaries, social thinkers, and artists. Longtime NPR London correspondent and bureau chief Michael Goldfarb argues here that their struggle to create a place for themselves in European life led to revolutions and a second renaissance in Western culture.

"Emancipation set off an explosion of Jewish achievement, and Jews played an increasingly important if still conflicted role in Europe. For instance, Heinrich Heine, who converted to Christianity in 1825 to further a law career, worked out his Jewish identity crisis through poems that mirrored the national identity crisis of his young German contemporaries. When Damascus Jews were tortured during an 1840 blood libel, the Rothschilds successfully interceded, involving the British Parliament and forcing a French prime minister to resign. The forced baptism and abduction of the Bolognese Jewish child Edgardo Mortara helped catalyze the movement for Italian unity, while the Dreyfus affair ultimately led to the creation of Israel. Goldfarb's history of European Jewish persecution and assimilation is lively and perceptive."Publishers Weekly

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