This fascinating Atlas traces the history of the Jewish people, from the early Jewish migration from Ur to Canaan, in about 2000 BC, up to developments in the modern State of Israel.
He traces the migration of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt back to the Promised Land, and the conquest of the Promised Land by the Israelites, the whereabouts of the Twelve Tribes of Ancient Israel, the kingdoms of David and Solomon 1000 to 925 BC, as well as the destruction of Jewish independence by the Assyrians and Babylonians and the subsequent deportations and dispersions of the Israelites.
The book shows us maps revealing the Hasmonean Kingdom and the Jewish revolts against Roman Rule.
Gilbert outlines the development of ancient Jewish communities in Iraq, Persia, India and China, as well as Europe, the persecutions, pogroms, expulsions and different places of settlements of the Jews throughout the world.
The book deals with some lesser known facts such as the whereabouts of the Karaite Jews, 10 000 of whom were murdered by the Nazis in Crimea, in 1943, the fact that in 1805 Napoleon formed a Jewish battalion that fought at Waterloo, while in 1799 the Jews of Jerusalem joined the Turks in preparing to defend the city, and in 1812, the Jews of Russia, supported their Russian overlords against Napoleon, as they feared that Napoleon's liberalization would be a threat to their orthodoxy.
A fascinating map shows the possible whereabouts of the ten lost Tribes of Israel, and the intriguing possibility that their descendants could include the Ibos of Nigeria, the Masai Tribe of East Africa, the Berbers of North Africa, the Khazars, the Bnei Menashe of Eastern
India, the Karens of Burma, and the Shinadai Tribe of Japan.
Other maps show the development of Jewish life in the Americas, Jewish military activity from from 1794 to 1967, the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel, the numbers of Jews in Europe at the outbreak of World War II, and those that perished in the Holocaust, the numbers of Jews who fled Europe for Palestine, during the Holocaust, Jewish resistance against Nazis persecution in Europe, and against Arab pogroms in Palestine, and Israel's War of Independence in 1948, the Suez War of 1956 and the Six Day war of 1967, describing the balance on the eve of that war of Arab and Israeli forces:
The total Arab strength was 547 000 troops, 2 504 tanks and 957 combat aircrafts, while Israel's strength consisted of 264 000 troops, 800 tanks and 300 Combat aircrafts.
While the author is correct about persecution in Europe, of the Jews, by Christians, he underestimates and does not fully describe the many massacres and pogroms against Jews in Moslem-ruled lands, as well as the severe dhimmni status under which they lived.
Nevertheless Gilbert succeeds, in illustrating the vast panorama of the Jewish people, through the ages.
He makes obscure periods in Jewish history better known, if only in outline, leaving the reader the task of embarking on deeper research.
Finally the book leaves the reader amazed at the endurability of a people who survived thousands of years of hostility and attempts to destroy it, and were gathered together once again in their ancient homeland, having to defend their homeland against 100 million Arabs, and a very large chunk of hostile world opinion.