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Wanderings: Chaim Potok's History of the Jews

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Wanderings: Chaim Potok's History of the Jews (ISBN 0394501101) was first published in 1978 by Knopf.

This monograph is divided into four sections with each comprising various chapters: Through Ancient Paganism (Sumer, Egypt, Canaan, Babylonia), Through Classical Paganism (Greece, Rome, Palestine), Through Islam and Christianity (Islam, Christianity), Inside Modern Paganism (Secularism). According to S. Lillian Kremer in Dictionary of Literary Biography, The book is "a compendium of scholarship about Jewish civilization and its relation to the myriad cultures with which Judaism has come into contact." [1] In an interview the author said that "the book is about people, not cultural dynamics. I walked through all of these cultures through the books I read, and I tried to translate abstract scholarship into people."[2]

"School Library Journal said that it was "a highly personalized, self-consciously written history of the Jewish people... " that emphasizes " themes which pervade Jewish history: wandering and persecution." . [3].

However, Kirkus Reviews called it "picturesque but amateurish history." [4], and Alan Mintz in The New York Times said that "as a work of historical writing, Wanderings is a mixed performance" [5]

It was also reviewed by , the Chicago Tribune[6]The Pittsburgh Press [7], and Publisher's Weekly [2]

In an interview the author said that "the book is about people, not cultural dynamics. I walked through all of these cultures through the books I read, and I tried to translate abstract scholarship into people."[2]

References

  1. American Novelists Since World War II: Fourth Series. Ed. James R. Giles and Wanda H. Giles. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 152. Detroit: Gale Research, 1995
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Robert Dahlin, “In His First Nonfiction, Potok Follows the Trails of the Jews Through History,” Publishers Weekly 213 (22 May 1978):212.
  3. School Library Journal 25.6 (Feb. 1979): p69.
  4. Kirkus Reviews 46.21 (Nov. 1, 1978): p1230-1231.
  5. [1]
  6. [2]
  7. [3]

Further Readings

  • James R. Thompson. "Chapter 6: Wanderings: Chaim Potok's History of the Jews." in Chaim Potok. ed. Edward A. Abramson. Twayne's United States Authors Series 503. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986.


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