The Story of the Jews

    (Villard, 2001)
™ and © Villard

Stan Mack may be the world’s foremost creator of history texts in comics form. This latest entry covers 4,000 years of Jewish history, from Biblical times through post-Sept. 11 America.

The focus appears to be on the migrations of the Jewish people over 40 centuries. Equal emphasis is placed on Biblical, medieval, and modern times, helping the whole to be well rounded and avoiding tunnel vision.

It is an admirable effort, but there are limitations to working in this format. The focus is necessarily more global than in a traditional textbook. Certain people and events are glossed over. (Neither Moshe Dayan nor Meir Kahane warrants a mention; the raid on Entebbe is ignored, but there is reference to a later “gutsy Israeli air rescue.”)

Another limitation is apparent, when Mack attempts to demonstrate debate or conflict. There is insufficient space to present both sides of an argument; one person says “A” and another says “B,” and the reader may be left with the impression that the last speaker has the final word on what is really a complicated subject.

A major plus is that it is faster to read and more engaging than a traditional textbook. The casual reader will probably walk away retaining as much as he would have from a standard text.

But, if you’re studying for your Intermediate Jewish History final, you’ll want to stick to the assigned text.

— Jack Abramowitz

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Published by Villard; 273 pgs.; B&WStan MackStan Mack

#1 (3rd printing)

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3rd printing; Published by Jewish Lights; 273 pgs.; B&WStan MackStan Mack

#1 Hardcover

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273 pages; B&WStan MackStan Mack