A unique chronicle of the years 1847-1947, the century when the Jewish people changed the world—and it changed them… but does this have something to do with the trials and tribulations they faced during that period as well? You can see it all here in Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947.
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, and 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. While the Jewish population of 1847 made up less than 0.25% of the world’s population, they were able to reach a human insight that no other group or culture could find. In many different intellectual areas. 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 starts at the 1847 Communist Manifesto through the foundation of Israel in 1947. Everything throughout the content of this book is beautifully designed, while also an urgent and necessary celebration of Jewish genius and contribution.