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Could our sense of who we are really turn on a sliver of DNA? In our multiethnic world, questions of individual identity are becoming increasingly unclear. Now bestselling author Jon Entine vividly brings to life the profound human implications of the Age of Genetics while illuminating one of today's most controversial topics: the connection between genetics and who we are, and specifically the question Who is a Jew? Entine weaves a fascinating narrative, using breakthroughs in genetic genealogy to reconstruct the Jewish biblical tradition of the chosen people and the hereditary Israelite priestly caste of Cohanim. Synagogues in the mountains of India and China and Catholic churches with a Jewish identity in New Mexico and Colorado provide different patterns of connection within the tangled history of the Jewish diaspora. As people from across the world discover their Israelite roots, their riveting stories unveil exciting new approaches to defining one's identity. Not least, Entine addresses possible connections between DNA and Jewish intelligence and the controversial notion that Jews are a race apart.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780446580632
ISBN-10: 0446580635
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 162mm x 35mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Grand Central Publishing
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: 17-Jan-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Entine (Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It, 2000) tackles the thorny matter of Jewish identity. Some of his conclusions may be surprising.The author, a secular Jew and an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, has been driven by family health crises to seek out the genetics of Judaism. In doing so, he unravels an epic tale of "The Chosen People." DNA acts as a starting point for discussion of Jewish origins - Chapter 1 is entitled, "The Dead Sea Scrolls of DNA" - as Entine explains how it is now possible through genetic testing for apparent non-Jews to discover Jewish ancestry, and for Jews (and others) to learn more about their origins. The author disputes conventional wisdom, which cautious scientists have advanced recently, that genetic differences between individuals are minute and superficial. Instead, he embraces genetics as a method of discovering more about the diverse breadth of humanity. Nevertheless, Entine realizes that Jewish DNA does not necessarily make a Jew. To explore the question of Jewish origins, Entine takes the reader on a global tour, exploring both mythic and factual migrations of Jews across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and finally into the Americas. DNA testing has allowed scientists to explore the validity of direct ancestry claims for far-flung Jewish communities in such places as South Africa and India, while it has also identified hidden enclaves of "crypto-Jews" in places such as the American Southwest. Entine goes on to discuss the touchy subject of race, and how Jewish identity has been perceived by both Jews and non-Jews through recent history and into the present. He also bluntly approaches modern (and historic) stereotypes of Jews and offers possible reasons for their formation, as well as their potential validity in certain cases. Because the author's approach is broad and inclusive, the book is sure to cause controversy, but it serves as an excellent catalyst for discussion as many continue to ask the question, "What does it mean to be Jewish?"Engaging and informative reading for Jews and non-Jews alike. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Jon Entine

The author was an Emmy Award-winning producerfor Tom Brokaw, and is currently an adjunct professor/lecturer of journalism at Columbia University and NYU, and an American Enterprise Institute fellow.

Books By Author Jon Entine

Taboo by Jon Entine

Taboo

Paperback, December 2000
$32.63