Join one of our greatest historians to mark the publication of the second volume of his history of the Jewish people, and hear scenes from its epic narrative.
Schama’s story ranges across continents and centuries, as persecution created a Jewish identity more circumscribed – a people set apart, defined by blood as well as by obedience to the book – and a widening canvas, from the expulsions of 1492 to the epochal search for a home, navigating massacres and wanderings, assimilation and intolerance.
It is above all a cultural tapestry, alive with detail. We will hear of rabbis and philosophers, but also of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The scene will shift from Kerala to Mantua, the hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California. It will sail in caravels, ride the stage coaches and the railways; trudge the dawn streets of London, hobble along with the remnant of Napoleon’s ruined army.
In Simon Schama’s passionate telling, a story emerges as encompassing as humanity itself.