||Rowman & Littlefield
||Sep 28, 2006
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This book explores the history and culture of the Khazars, a Turkic people who founded a vast kingdom in eastern Europe in the early-medieval period (652-1016). In the 9th century the Khazars converted to Judaism.
Did you know that if not for the Khazars, much of eastern Europe would have been overrun by the Arabs and become Islamic? In the same way as Charles Martel and his Franks stopped the advance of Muslims at the Battle of Poitiers in the West, the Khazars blunted the northward force of the Arabs that was surging across the Caucasus in the 8th century. In this book, you will learn how Khazaria was an economic superpower that could finance a paid permanent army, unlike its neighbors. Several east-west and north-south trade routes led through Khazaria. There was a remarkable amount of diversity in the country, with peoples speaking various languages, professing different religions, and coming from different ethnic backgrounds living in relative harmony. There are many fascinating aspects to Khazarian history, many of which used to be known only to specialists who teach in major universities.
Alexandra Lemasson, writing in the French magazine L'Express, called the subject "the spellbinding history of a Jewish Atlantis that slumbered in neglect for centuries."
Bestselling novelist Michael Chabon used this book as source material for his story "Gentlemen of the Road".
Hollace Ava Weiner, author of 'Jewish Stars in Texas'
[I] am impressed with the scope of [the] research and the fascinating possibilities it presents regarding the nature and origins of the Ashkenazic Jewish community.... The Khazars are an important and a neglected area of research.
Peter B. Golden, author of 'Khazar Studies'
Kevin Alan Brook has put together an absorbing account of their history based on this wide array of sources, supplemented by archaeological, ethnographic and linguistic data dealing with Khazar Jewry and their legacy. This is a most useful introduction to this at times enigmatic, but always fascinating people.
Seth Ward, in Jewish Quarterly Review
Kevin Alan Brook presents the findings of an impressive array of scholarship, referencing primary sources and secondary scholarship.... Far from being [merely] a romantic interlude whose brief existence sparked the imagination of generations, Brook's volume shows that the Khazar experience is intrinsic to the narrative of Jewish history.
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