The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature


Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.3 X 9.4 inches | 1.6 pounds
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About the Author

Adam Kirsch is the author of several books of poetry and criticism, including Who Wants to Be a Jewish Writer? and The People and the Books: Eighteen Classics of Jewish Literature. A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, Kirsch is an editor at the Wall Street Journal's Weekend Review section and has written for publications including The New Yorker and Tablet. He lives in New York.


Lucid, vivid and likely to provide helpful instruction... [Kirsch] has, like Simon Schama, a keen eye for the revelatory detail in discussing his historical subjects.
[A]n entertaining and enlightening review of eighteen classic works and, at the same time, Judaism's most important ideas and ideals. It deserves to be on the Jewish bookshelf along with the eighteen books it opens for its reader.
Through profiles of eighteen indelible figures and chronicles...Adam Kirsch uncovers the unfailing excitements of a living, creative, and abiding civilization. And more: in this superbly clarifying panorama, he illumines how in the history of ideas Jews, despite so many permutations of approach, have faithfully adhered to a single sublime Idea.--Cynthia Ozick
Anyone looking for a single-volume introduction to Jewish civilization... will find nothing better in print... A deeply serious meditation on the meaning of Jewish existence.--Jewish Report
The people of the book are often unaware of the books of their people. Kirsch opens, unfurls, and illuminates the great works of Jewish tradition and history; he is our intellectual Sherpa, guiding us sure-footedly through the heights.--Rabbi David Wolpe, author of David: The Divided Heart
[A]n astute and accessible introduction to 18 Jewish literary classics... [Kirsch's] laser focus on these works' most topical themes makes them feel so urgent that curious readers of any religious persuasion will want to read them all.--Dara Horn