Covering the story of prejudice against Jews from the time of Christ through the rise of Nazi Germany, The History of Anti-Semitism presents in elegant and thoughtful language a balanced, careful assessment of this egregious human failing that is nearly ubiquitous in the history of Europe.
From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews systematically traces the twists and turns of hatred against Jews as it developed from Roman times to the end of the eighteenth century. Chiefly the history of prejudice against the Ashkenazim, this volume demonstrates that organized anti-Semitism was unknown until the First Crusade, an event that marked the beginning of systematic genocide and mass expulsions in Europe. Jews were accused of countless crimes, from causing the Black Death to practicing ritual murder, and the author attempts throughout to reveal the sociological and psychological forces behind these irrational charges.
"A scholarly but eminently readable tracing of the sources and recurring themes of anti-Semitism."—Library Journal
"Poliakov has shown that anti-Semitism is no chance phenomenon but an emanation of European culture."—Times Literary Supplement
"Léon Poliakov's work on antisemitism is of enormous importance. As a work of scholarship it is almost without peer. One could have imagined that Poliakov's study might have given a long overdue burial to the longest hatred. Sadly—tragically—it has taken on a new urgency in our time as the images and issues have been resurrected at the beginning of the twenty-first century."—Michael Berenbaum, Director, Sigi Ziering Institute
"Highly recommended without exception."—Choice
"Poliakov has demonstrated brilliantly how widely and deeply versed he is in his subject."—Economist