THE JEWS by Roger Peyrefitte


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The Jews was first published in France and then in England in 1965. While it is certainly a staggering compendium of random facts about Jewish custom, European Jewish families, and the absurd lore of anti-semitism, it is no novel. All the characters do is mouth informative addenda (and since Peyrefitte rarely identifies them, it is frequently difficult ""is researching to tell who is speaking). George Sarre, the ""observer, ""hidden"" Jews, those Christians who centuries ago were Jews or whose names are Jewish, though, altered. The two lovers--Osmonde, a Christian, and her fiance, Saul, a Jewish baron--exchange notes about sensuality and Judaism. The baroness instructs her future daughter-in-law in all the fine sexual rules of Jewish marriage. A Jesuit and various members of French high society haggle over their religious, social and biological ""facts that are meant to justify anti-Semitism. And through Asher, the mystical boy wonder (and sometimes a nice kid), the reader is introduced to various religious ceremonies, and the spirituality of Judaism. A tremendous amount of information is given, but so haphazardly that it dissipates. One cannot really fault Peyrefitte for oversympathizing while regretting that he does not really engage the reader. Perhaps best read as an encyclopedia.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 1967
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill