John Efron, Steven Weitzman, Matthias Lehmann, Joshua Holo, The Jews: A History (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009)
For many years the best of all one-volume treatments of Jewish life was Robert Seltzer's superb portrait of Judaism published by Mac- millan. Seltzer's remains a standard work, but now we have an equally authoritative, lucid history of everyday life and lore written a group of first-rate, younger scholars. It is a seamless collaborative work that reveals none of the repetitiveness or awkwardness so char- acteristic of collective efforts of this sort.
Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, Volume 1: The Years of Persecution, 1933–1939 (HarperCollins, 1997)
One of the finest synthetic histories of twentieth-century European life written in any language, both in its subtle interplay of social, cultural, and political history and its capacity to integrate the voices of historical actors—and victims.
The Diaries of Victor Klemperer, 1945–59: The Lesser Evil, abridged and translated from the German edition by Martin Chalmers (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003)
The post–World War II musings about Nazism, Communism, and, above all, linguist Klemperer's keenly felt, day-to-day vicissi- tudes. This heroic and astonishingly narcis- sistic volume is a superb way of introducing students to the smell and the feel of a primary source.