THE OTHER 1492: Jewish Settlement in the New World by Norman H. Finkelstein

THE OTHER 1492: Jewish Settlement in the New World

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The title here refers to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella. Finkelstein also covers hundreds of years of background for that edict: the Jews' relatively peaceful coexistence with the Moors (""The Golden Age""); the Catch-22 situation of the Marranos (""New Christians""), who converted, or pretended to conreft, only to make themselves eligible for persecution by the ferocious Spanish Inquisition. After their expulsion, he follows the Jews through the perils of finding refuge (comparable to what happened during and after WW II), concluding with their arrival in New Amsterdam from both Brazil and Holland. There, despite Stuyvesant's continuing antagonism, they managed to win themselves a measure of equal rights and respect. Though the facts are certainly compelling, the author attempts to cover so much here that the result is a dry compilation. His abbreviated version of history is often so generalized as to be unclear--e.g., a reference to ""an official division of the New World between Spain and Portugal in 1494"" with no further explanation. The author's style can also be awkward (""a great deal of furor""). More important, there's no real sense of the dynamics of the anti-Semitic feeling that underlay persecution, although some of the factual causes (their prowess as financiers and diplomats; the lure of their wealth) are mentioned. Still, this should be useful as a factual resource. Bibliography; index; illustrated with photos.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
ISBN: 0595152791
Page count: 100pp
Publisher: Scribners