Yiddish Civilisation: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - History - 400 pages
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Paul Kriwaczek begins this illuminating and immensely pleasurable chronicle of Yiddish civilization during the Roman empire, when Jewish culture first spread to Europe. We see the burgeoning exile population disperse, as its notable diplomats, artists and thinkers make their mark in far-flung cities and found a self-governing Yiddish world. By its late-medieval heyday, this economically successful, intellectually adventurous, and self-aware society stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Kriwaczek traces, too, the slow decline of Yiddish culture in Europe and Russia, and highlights fresh offshoots in the New World.Combining family anecdote, travelogue, original research, and a keen understanding of Yiddish art and literature, Kriwaczek gives us an exceptional portrait of a culture which, though nearly extinguished, has an influential radiance still.

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Yiddish Civilisation : The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation

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Kriwaczek, the British author of In Search of Zarathustra, has written a warm, anecdotal, and captivating account of the story of Yiddish (an amalgam of many languages, including German, Hebrew, and ... Read full review


Bista Yid?
The Jews of Rome
From the 1Iediterranean to the Baltic
The Remaking ofwestem Europe
At the Crossroads
The New Yiddish World IO 5
Political Consolidation
The Reformation
The Yiddish Renaissance
I0 VVide Horizons
The Deluge
I2 Decline
I3 and Fall
A Winter Flowering 34

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About the author (2007)

Paul Kriwaczek was born in Vienna in 1937 and, with his parents, narrowly escaped the Nazis in 1939, fleeing first to Switzerland and then to England. He grew up in London and graduated from London Hospital Medical College. After several years spent working and traveling in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, he joined the BBC, where he spent the next quarter of a century as a program producer and filmmaker. Since leaving television in the 1990s, he has devoted himself to writing full-time, catching up on the unfinished business of a life spent exploring places, times, and ideas. He is married and lives in London.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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