An Anthropology of the Jews

Written by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142196328
  • 528 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


Far reaching, intellectually rich, and passionately written, Unsettled takes the whole history of Western civilization as its canvas and places onto it the Jewish people and faith. With historical insight and vivid storytelling, renowned anthropologist Melvin Konner charts how the Jews endured largely hostile (but at times accepting) cultures to shape the world around them and make their mark throughout history?from the pastoral tribes of the Bronze Age to enslavement in the Roman Empire, from the darkness of the Holocaust to the creation of Israel and the flourishing of Jews in America. With fresh interpretations of the antecedents of today?s pressing conflicts, Unsettled is a work whose modern-day reverberations could not be more relevant or timely.


Written by: Melvin Konner


A poignant and highly accessible account of an ongoing story that transcends all telling. (Harold Bloom)

Remarkable . . . It is certainly the best one-volume overview of Jewish history and identity available today. (Sander L. Gilman, Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago)

Table of Contents


1. Genesis: How the Jews Were Born in Israel

2. Kingdom Come: How the Israelites Became a Nation

3. Babylon: How the Kingdom Fell and the Culture Channged

4. Roman Ruin: How the Jews Lost Their Land

5. Diaspora: How the Jews Dispersed Among Their Enemies

6. Crossed Swords: How Christian Power Vanquished the Jews

7. Under the Minaret: How Islam (Partly) Tolerated the Jews

8. Spain and Beyond: How the Sephardic Jews Found Romance

9. Brightness: How Jewish Genius Changed and Grew

10. Ends of the Earth: How Jews Thrived in Exotic Places

11. Yidn: How the Jews helped Create Modern Europe

12. Mamesh-Loshn: How the Ashkenazic Jews Spoke and Thought

13. Smoke: How the Germans Gave the Jews Graves in the Air

14. Fire: How the Jews Fought Back

15. The Golden Land: How the Jews Helped Make America

16. Ha’aretz: How the Jews Came Home

17. Women of Valor: How Jewish Women Broke the Patriarchal Bonds

18. Conclusion: A Drop of Red Wine: How the Jews Will Face the Future

A Jewish Time Line
For Further Reading