The Pity of It All

A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933

Amos Elon

Metropolitan Books

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From an acclaimed historian and social critic, a passionate and poignant history of German Jews from the mid-eighteenth century to the eve of the Third Reich

As it's usually told, the story of the German Jews starts at the end, with their tragic demise in Hitler's Third Reich. Now, in this important work of historical restoration, Amos Elon takes us back to the beginning, chronicling a period of achievement and integration that at its peak produced a golden age second only to the Renaissance.

Writing with a novelist's eye, Elon shows how a persecuted clan of cattle dealers and wandering peddlers was transformed into a stunningly successful community of writers, philosophers, scientists, tycoons, and activists. He peoples his account with dramatic figures: Moses Mendelssohn, who entered Berlin in 1743 through the gate reserved for Jews and cattle, and went on to become "the German Socrates"; Heinrich Heine, beloved lyric poet who famously referred to baptism as the admission ticket to European culture; Hannah Arendt, whose flight from Berlin signaled the end of the German-Jewish idyll. Elon traces how this minority-never more than one percent of the population-came to be perceived as a deadly threat to national integrity, and he movingly demonstrates that this devastating outcome was uncertain almost until the end.

A collective biography, full of depth and compassion, The Pity of It All summons up a splendid world and a dream of integration and tolerance that, despite all, remains the essential ennobling project of modernity.

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From The Pity of It All:
Barely twenty-four years old, Heinrich Heine arrived in Berlin in the summer of 1821 to study law at the university and attend Hegel's seminar on aesthetics. Slight, pale, with dreamy blue eyes and long, wavy blond hair, he was an enormously gifted writer, widely known for the lyricism of his poetry and the scathing wit of his prose. No other author has ever been so German and so Jewish or so ambivalent and ironic about being both; Heine would leave an indelible mark on German culture. During these university days, he wore velvet jackets, dandyish Byronic collars, and

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Praise for The Pity of It All

Praise for Amos Elon:

"Penetrating, profound, explosive . . . this book is a beacon."
-The New York Times Book Review (front page), on Israelis: Founders and Sons

"Lucid and intelligent . . . Succeeds in snatching its elusive
subject from oblivion."
-The New York Times Book Review, on Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild

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About the Author

Amos Elon

Amos Elon is the author of eight widely praised books, including Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild and the New York Times bestseller Israelis: Founders and Sons. A frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and The New York Review of Books, he divides his time between Jerusalem and Tuscany.

Amos Elon

Amos Elon

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Pity of It All
A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933
Amos Elon

Award

National Jewish Book Award - Finalist

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
April 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466843424
ISBN10: 146684342X
464 pages, Includes 48 black-and-white photos and maps throughout
$9.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
December 2003
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312422813
ISBN10: 0312422814
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 464 pages, Includes 48 black-and-white photos and maps throughout
$18.00
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Metropolitan Books

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