A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (Google eBook)

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Random House Publishing Group, Jan 5, 2010 - History - 1184 pages
3 Reviews
In this unprecedented work two decades in the making, leading historian Robert S. Wistrich examines the long and ugly history of anti-Semitism, from the first recorded pogrom in 38 BCE to its shocking and widespread resurgence in the present day. As no other book has done before it, A Lethal Obsession reveals the causes behind this shameful and persistent form of hatred and offers a sobering look at how it may shake and reshape the world in years to come.

Here are the fascinating and long-forgotten roots of the “Jewish difference”–the violence that greeted the Jewish Diaspora in first-century Alexandria. Wistrich suggests that the idea of a formless God who passed down a universal moral law to a chosen few deeply disconcerted the pagan world. The early leaders of Christianity increased their strength by painting these “superior” Jews as a cosmic and satanic evil, and by the time of the Crusades, murdering a “Christ killer” had become an act of conscience.

Moving seamlessly through centuries of war and dissidence, A Lethal Obsession powerfully portrays the creation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fateful anti-Semitic tract commissioned by Russia’s tsarist secret police at the end of the nineteenth century–and the prediction by Theodor Herzl, Austrian founder of political Zionism, of eventual disaster for the Jews in Europe.

The twentieth century fulfilled this dark prophecy, with the horrifying ascent of Hitler’s Third Reich. Yet, as Wistrich disturbingly suggests, the end of World War II failed to neutralize the “Judeophobic virus”: Pogroms and prejudice continued in Soviet-controlled territories and in the Arab-Muslim world that would fan flames for new decades of distrust, malice, and violence.

Here, in pointed and devastating detail, is our own world, one in which jihadi terrorists and the radical left blame Israel for all global ills. In his concluding chapters, Wistrich warns of a possible nuclear “Final Solution” at the hands of Iran, a land in which a formerly prosperous Jewish community has declined in both fortunes and freedoms.

Dazzling in scope and erudition, A Lethal Obsession is a riveting masterwork of investigative nonfiction, the definitive work on this unsettling yet essential subject. It is destined to become an indispensable source for any student of world affairs.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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Review: A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad

User Review  - Christian Reyes - Goodreads

An invaluable work of history and scholarship, as well as a rebuke towards those who euphemize or make excuses for present-day forms of anti-semitism. I highly recommend it. Read full review

Review: A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad

User Review  - Jill - Goodreads

Too dry and depressing, but it is a very important book. It is necessary to document this and use as a reference book. Read full review

Contents

SIXTEEN
SEVENTEEN
EIGHTEEN
NINETEEN
TWENTY
TWENTYONE
TWENTYTWO
TWENTYTHREE

EIGHT
NINE
TEN
ELEVEN
TWELVE
THIRTEEN
FOURTEEN
FIFTEEN
TWENTYFOUR
TWENTYFIVE
EPILOGUE
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
NOTES
AUTHORS NOTE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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About the author (2010)

Robert S. Wistrich is professor of modern European history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and head of its Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. Previously, he held the Jewish Chronicle Chair of Jewish Studies at University College London and was visiting professor of history at Brandeis and Harvard universities. A regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, he is the author of many books, including Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred, and scripted the PBS television series of the same name.


From the Hardcover edition.

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