Books interview: Simon Schama
Simon Schama speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about his new book, which looks at the lives of Jews – from rabbis to bare-knuckle boxers – across four centuries…
Your new book spans more than 400 years of Jewish history – from the turn of the 16th century to the end of the 19th. What are some of the central themes you cover?
For more than half a millennium, the life of a Jew was one where you never knew whether you were going to be holed up in a ghetto, expelled from your country, or accused of murdering Christian children to drink their blood. It could be a very transitory life. What intrigued me was what Jews could make of that transitory life while staying put in one religion.