216 pages | 6 x 9 | 2 illus.
Paper 2006 | ISBN 9780812219074 | $26.50s | Outside the Americas £19.99
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A volume in the series Jewish Culture and Contexts
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"The book represents a remarkable achievement. Bartal presents the broad contours of nineteenth-century East European Jewish history even as he reworks them into a nontraditional narrative. He offers readers basic information about the staple features of the East European Jewish story—including the Hasidic and haskalah movements, the struggle for emancipation in two empires, the shtetl, population growth, urbanization, emigration, the crystallization of orthodox Judaism, and the rise of Jewish nationalism—while at the same time challenging us to think about the significance of those features in unconventional ways."—David Engel, New York UniversityIn the nineteenth century, the largest Jewish community the modern world had known lived in hundreds of towns and shtetls in the territory between the Prussian border of Poland and the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea. The period had started with the partition of Poland and the absorption of its territories into the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires; it would end with the first large-scale outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence and the imposition in Russia of strong anti-Semitic legislation. In the years between, a traditional society accustomed to an autonomous way of life would be transformed into one much more open to its surrounding cultures, yet much more confident of its own nationalist identity. In The Jews of Eastern Europe, Israel Bartal traces this transformation and finds in it the roots of Jewish modernity.
"Bartal synthesizes a crucial period and revises the traditional understanding of key events. In fact, he alters in a substantial way the 'master narrative' of modern Jewish history."—Gershon Hundert, McGill University
"Bartal offers basic material about East European life. . . . The Jews of Eastern Europe, 1772-1881 is recommended for all Judaica libraries and libraries housing works on Jewish history."—AJL Newsletter
Israel Bartal is Avraham Harman Chair in Jewish History at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among his books are The Records of the Council of the Four Lands, Volume 1: 1580-1792, Exile in the Homeland, and Poles and Jews: A Failed Brotherhood (with Magdalena Opalski).