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The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels [Hardcover]

By Thomas Cahill (Author)
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Item description for The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels by Thomas Cahill...

The author of the national best-seller, How the Irish Saved Civilization, continues his compelling explorations of major historical influences with a study of how the Jewish people gave birth to the basic beliefs we most prize today. !00,000 first printing.

Publishers Description
The author of the runaway bestseller "How the Irish Saved Civilization" has done it again. In "The Gifts of the Jews" Thomas Cahill takes us on another enchanting journey into history, once again recreating a time when the actions of a small band of people had repercussions that are still felt today.

"The Gifts of the Jews" reveals the critical change that made western civilization possible. Within the matrix of ancient religions and philosophies, life was seen as part of an endless cycle of birth and death; time was like a wheel, spinning ceaselessly. Yet somehow, the ancient Jews began to see time differently. For them, time had a beginning and an end; it was a narrative, whose triumphant conclusion would come in the future. From this insight came a new conception of men and women as individuals with unique destinies--a conception that would inform the Declaration of Independence--and our hopeful belief in progress and the sense that tomorrow can be better than today. As Thomas Cahill narrates this momentous shift, he also explains the real significance of such Biblical figures as Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the Pharaoh, Joshua, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.

Full of compelling stories, insights and humor, "The Gifts of the Jews" is an irresistible exploration of history as fascinating and fun as "How the Irish Saved Civilization."

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels by Thomas Cahill has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2011 page 629
  • Library Journal Prepub Alert - 06/01/1997 page 80
  • Kirkus Reviews - 02/15/1998 page 234
  • Publishers Weekly - 03/09/1998 page 57
  • Booklist - 03/15/1998 page 1197
  • Library Journal - 03/15/1998 page 76
  • New York Times - 05/24/1998 page 16
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1999 page 128
  • Library Journal - 06/01/1997
  • Library Journal - 08/01/1999
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 694
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2007 page 515
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 879

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Item Specifications...

Format: Deckle Edge
Studio: Nan A. Talese
Pages   291
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 16, 1998
Publisher   Nan A. Talese
ISBN  0385482485  
ISBN13  9780385482486  

Availability  0 units.

More About Thomas Cahill

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! THOMAS CAHILL is the author of the best-selling books, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland 's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, and Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus.These books comprise the first three volumes of a prospective seven-volume series entitled "The Hinges of History," in which Cahill recounts formative moments in Western civilization. In "The Hinges of History," Thomas Cahill endeavors to retell the story of the Western World through little-known stories of the great gift-givers, people who contributed immensely to Western, culture and the evolution of Western sensibility, thus revealing how we have become the people we are and why we think and feel the way we do today.
Thomas Cahill is best known, in his books and lectures, for taking on a broad scope of complex history and distilling it into accessible, instructive, and entertaining narrative. His lively, engaging writing animates cultures that existed up to five millennia ago, revealing the lives of his principal characters with refreshing insight and joy. He writes history, not in its usual terms of war and catastrophe, but as "narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance." Unlike all too many history lessons, a Thomas Cahill history book or speech is impossible to forget.
He has taught at Queens College, Fordham University and Seton Hall University, served as the North American education correspondent for the Times of London, and was for many years a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Prior to retiring recently to write full-time, he was director of religious publishing at Doubleday for six years. He and his wife, Susan, also an author, founded the now legendary Cahill & Company Catalogue, much beloved by readers. They divide their time between New York and Rome.

From the Hardcover edition."

Thomas Cahill currently resides in New York City, in the state of New York.

Thomas Cahill has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Hinges of History

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Early Civilization
2Books > Subjects > History > Jewish > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Jewish
4Books > Subjects > History > World > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > History of Religion

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Gifts of the Jews?

Review for World Civilizations 1  Jun 4, 2008
The Gifts of the Jews, by Thomas Cahill is a very intriguing, yet complex and opinionated book. Thomas Cahill is am American scholar and writer, and is most well known for his series of books called the Hinges of History, which tell the story of Western Civilizations roots. The Gifts of the Jews is the second book in The Hinges of History collection. The Gifts of the Jews is about what the Jewish people did in the earliest of civilizations to begin to shape the civilization that we now have. The book begins by talking about the beginning of civilization, and Cahill uses it to break in his view about how the Jews changed ancient civilization by thinking outside of the world that everyone was stuck in. Chapter one goes on to talk about and tell stories of Sumer, the first civilization. It talks about Gilgamesh, who was supposedly half human half God, and King of Uruk (A city in Sumer). Cahill talks about ancient symbols, and what they mean, and then goes on to talk about how civilization in the time of Sumer was going in a never-ending circle, round and round. From there, he begins to talk about the bible's Abram (who became Abraham). His family was one of Semites, who had settled in the city of Ur. Cahill goes into stories about the Bible and of ancient Sumer, including stories about Isaac and Sarah. The next chapter goes into how Abraham had a different kind of thinking about God then everyone else at that time, and preached to his family and beyond. Then goes into how Joseph was brought to Egypt because he could allegedly read dreams, and brings the rest of his family to Egypt in his new power position. He then tells stories of Egypt that are from the Bible, and talks about Jewish people in Egypt sending their babies down the Nile River to save them, and one happens to be Moses, who is picked up by an Egyptian. Moses goes on to become an Egyptian prince, but kills an Egyptian guard who is striking one of his slave brothers, and has to leave Egypt. When he is traveling, he sees out of the corner of his eyes, a burning bush, and this is where he first talks to God. God leads him on a mission to free the Jewish people from being slaves in Egypt. When the Pharaoh does not listen to Moses, God gives Egypt the Ten Plagues. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt, only to travel the desert for forty years before he allows them to settle in Canaan. Moses is dead by this time, and they need a new person to lead them into Canaan, so Joshua, Moses' young general, leads the Israelites across Jordan to the "promised land." The Israelites reach a conclusion that they need a king, so they ask God, and God elects a man named Saul. Saul becomes a great leader, winning wars on neighboring enemies, but is not anymore liked by God. Cahill then goes on to talk about the story of David and Goliath, Goliath, the supposedly nine foot tall soldier who challenged Israel in one on one combat for the enslavement of the loser's people. David, learning that he can become rich if he challenges and wins, decides to accept the challenge, but at first, Saul will not allow him because it is an unequal challenge, but David convinces him by telling him that God wants him to fight. David wins the battle, and after a long sequence of events, becomes the new King of the Israelites. The chapter concludes with Cahill saying how his interpretation of David is of being Gods "little finger." Just doing whatever God wants him to, and showing only a little amount of courage, which is when he stands up to and fights Goliath. David's throne goes to his son Solomon, who Cahill says runs things very poorly, so that when Solomon dies to pass on his throne, it is to late to save and the United Kingdom of Israel dies. In the last chapter, Cahill talks about his view of everything, how he interprets certain events, that I feel are through a very opinionated view and that he does not give sufficient evidence for. The Gifts of the Jews is a very complex book, and I do not feel that it is an easy book to read. It goes very in-depth to events that were written in the Bible or Torah and Cahill tends to say how he feels about each story. I recommend reading this book if you are interested in reading about ancient civilizations and the path that the Jews went on throughout it, but I recommend reading lighter books about the subject before, because there is not very much explanation about people or places.
The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels (Hinges of History, Vol. 2)   Jan 25, 2008
Boring book but it did arrive in good condition as described. But a very boring read. Thanks
A great piece of historical analysis  Jan 3, 2008
Cahill's Gift of the Jews is a terrific and fairly unique exposition of the scholarship about the ancient Jews and what they did and how it has influenced civilization. He is one of the best historical writers out there and this book is fabulous in being accessible to the non-scholar and especially engaging to those interested in religion and how it has influenced society, directly and indirectly.
Good service  Sep 10, 2007
Book arrived in great condition. I gave it to my son as a gift. Cahill is great too.
Ugh  Aug 28, 2007
I found this book to be so biased as to be virtually a tract of propoganda. As someone who is not Jewish or Christian, although familiar with both faith traditions, I found the boundless admiration expressed by Cahill to be shallow, uncritical and unexpected. I have read three of his other books, and enjoyed their mulit-faceted summaries of the cultures involved; in this one, I think Cahill's theological background took precendence over his academic analysis, resulting in a much weaker book.

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