Simon Schama’s History of the Jews
Due to popular demand, Schama returned for a second visit to Jewish Book Week 2013, for a conversation with Ian Black, The Guardian’s Middle East editor, about his book and TV series. This event was not recorded.
The Story of the Jews and The Fate of the World is expected to be one of the most discussed books of 2013. Accompanied by a major BBC television series, it is a landmark history of a culture, a people, a world – from the time of Moses to our own.
Simon Schama presented a special preview of the book and documentary at Jewish Book Week. It describes an intellectual territory reaching from the Hebrews’ invention of a single God to Jewish responsibility for killing the saviour, to currents of dispossession, destruction and diaspora. The account takes in the birth of modernism and the horrors of the 20th century.
In Schama’s inimitable style, this is not only indispensable history, it is raucous and characterful too, taking in the Jewish joke, Jewish sportsmen, Yiddish theatre, painting and music.
Simon Schama is Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. A writer, journalist and broadcaster, he has written and presented 40 films for the BBC, including The Story of the Jews (based on his two-volume work of the same name), Citizens and Rough Crossings. He recently curated The Face of Britain for the National Portrait Gallery and created the book and television series of the same name.
Ian Black was Middle East editor of The Guardian until 2016. In 36 years on the paper he was also Jerusalem Correspondent, Diplomatic Editor, European Editor and Chief Foreign Editorial Writer. He has covered major events in the Middle East, from the Iran-Iraq War to the Palestinian Intifadas and the uprisings of the Arab Spring. He has also written for The Washington Post and The Economist. He is now a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics.