Genius & Anxiety
A unique chronicle of the years 1847-1947, the century when the Jewish people changed the world—and it changed them.In a hundred-year period, a handful of men and women changed the way we see the world. Many of them are well known—Marx, Freud, Proust, Einstein, Kafka. Others have vanished from collective memory despite their enduring importance in our daily lives. Without Karl Landsteiner, for instance, there would be no blood transfusions or major surgery. Without Paul Ehrlich, no chemotherapy. Without Siegfried Marcus, no motor car. Without Rosalind Franklin, genetic science would look very different. Without Fritz Haber, there would not be enough food to sustain life on earth. What do these visionaries have in common? They all had Jewish origins. They all had a gift for thinking in wholly original, even earth-shattering ways. In 1847 the Jewish people made up less than 0.25% of the world’s population, and yet they saw what others could not. How? Why? Norman Lebrecht has devoted half of his life to pondering and researching the mindset of the Jewish intellectuals, writers, scientists, and thinkers who turned the tides of history and shaped the world today as we know it. In Genius & Anxiety, Lebrecht begins with the Communist Manifesto in 1847 and ends in 1947, when Israel was founded. This robust, magnificent volume, beautifully designed, is an urgent and necessary celebration of Jewish genius and contribution.

Genius & Anxiety Details

TitleGenius & Anxiety
Author
ReleaseDec 3rd, 2019
PublisherScribner
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, Literature, Jewish

Genius & Anxiety Review

  • Laura Spira
    January 1, 1970
    A very interesting book, clearly based on solid research but also a good read, once you get used the slightly breathless historical present used. One might dispute the claims made for some of the people discussed - did Sarah Bernhardt really invent celebrity? - but the evidence provided for the influence of their Jewishness on the achievements of those who pronounced themselves firmly secular is intriguing. The first half of the book is more compelling than the later chapters, which feel A very interesting book, clearly based on solid research but also a good read, once you get used the slightly breathless historical present used. One might dispute the claims made for some of the people discussed - did Sarah Bernhardt really invent celebrity? - but the evidence provided for the influence of their Jewishness on the achievements of those who pronounced themselves firmly secular is intriguing. The first half of the book is more compelling than the later chapters, which feel somewhat disorganised. The vignette approach became a bit tedious: I would have liked more chronological ordering and the connections between individuals could perhaps have been made clearer. The sections about musicians and composers were the most interesting, not surprising given the author's background. I learned a lot, very enjoyably.
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  • Margaret Heller
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed for Library Journal. I do think lots of people should read this, even as it’s hard to recommend it, because it is so dark and overwrought, but so is Jewish history.
  • Samuel W
    January 1, 1970
    Well-written and very informative.I learned a tremendous amount from reading this book. I thought that the histories of communism and Zionism were very interesting and well written. At times, however the book seemed to get bogged down with minute detail. There should be subdivision based on the name of the person being discussed , with the name of the person as the title for that piece of the text. With his way of introducing a new person, it was often confusing as to which person was being Well-written and very informative.I learned a tremendous amount from reading this book. I thought that the histories of communism and Zionism were very interesting and well written. At times, however the book seemed to get bogged down with minute detail. There should be subdivision based on the name of the person being discussed , with the name of the person as the title for that piece of the text. With his way of introducing a new person, it was often confusing as to which person was being discussed.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. It would make a wonderful Hannukah present. This book showcases many Jews who have influenced our times and tells about their contributions and their lives. I highly enjoyed this book and will be purchasing copies as presents this Hannukah. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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  • Wajda Tabassum
    January 1, 1970
    I just adore the works of Kafka, Freud and Marx wow! This book seems to be an insightful and interesting one. As the title suggests some intrapsychic process went through these beautiful minds and maybe there is mention of transgenerational trauma - which I am very interested to know about. Today's society is getting polluted with the extreme-right political approach through media. Hoping to see some humane understanding of these beautiful souls in this book.
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  • David Briggs
    January 1, 1970
    the Jews are great and powerful in America. i think back to Germany, where it all began before WW2. still, to say that one group or class of people are more educated than another is presumptuous. a quality education is personal yet to devote oneself to any discipline is credit worthy. i admire movie stars and pop singers because of their strength and character. Michael Jackson is a remarkable human being, yet also one of the most exciting persons in show business. all contributions to any free the Jews are great and powerful in America. i think back to Germany, where it all began before WW2. still, to say that one group or class of people are more educated than another is presumptuous. a quality education is personal yet to devote oneself to any discipline is credit worthy. i admire movie stars and pop singers because of their strength and character. Michael Jackson is a remarkable human being, yet also one of the most exciting persons in show business. all contributions to any free society is historic, but to admire an American because he/she possesses traits we don't know is no crime or sin.
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  • Sara Goldenberg
    January 1, 1970
    I liked it although it was a tad scholarly for me
  • Subhash Parihar
    January 1, 1970
    I simply love JEWS so I am paling order for a copy of the book.
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