This is a new kind of book on Jewish history,"" writes the author. Indeed it is. It is an attempt to integrate Jewish history into an intelligible whole by the application of what Rivkin calls the ""unity concept"" -- a sort of historical unified-field-theory by which phenomenal complexity is reduced to a single, albeit multifaceted, reality. In practice, this works out well in dealing with the relatively non-complex developments of ancient history. From the time of the separation of Judaism and Christianity, however, the scattered elements become increasingly difficult to pull together convincingly. The various economic, social, political and intellectual factors that blended together to produce the modern American Jew, for example, are oversimplified to the point of generalization. Even so, the book is a valuable contribution both as a work of narrative history and as an experimental jab at the sacred-cow hypotheses of Toynbee, Sombart, Weber, Tawney, and others.