historical fiction

The Day of Atonement

Author: David Liss

Paperback: 384 pages, English

Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (September 22, 2015)

ISBN-10: 034552019X, Or -13: 978-0345520197

Paolo was the a researcher on this book for the acclaimed author David Liss. The book was named "One of the Best Books of the Year" by Library Journal. Liss is the bestselling author of such novels as A Conspiracy of Paper and The Whiskey Rebels continues his masterly run of “atmospheric” (The Washington Post), “page-turning” (The Baltimore Sun), “tremendously smart” (Newsweek) historical thrillers. In The Day of Atonement, David Liss blends meticulous period detail with crackling adventure in the tale of one man’s quest for justice—and retribution. Sebastião Raposa is only thirteen when his parents are unjustly imprisoned, never to be seen again, and he is forced to flee Portugal lest he too fall victim to the Inquisition. But ten years in exile only serve to whet his appetite for vengeance. Returning at last to Lisbon, in the guise of English businessman Sebastian Foxx, he is no longer a frightened boy but a dangerous man tormented by violent impulses. Haunted by the specter of all he has lost—including his exquisite first love—Foxx is determined to right old wrongs by punishing an unforgivable enemy with unrelenting fury. Well schooled by his benefactor, the notorious bounty hunter Benjamin Weaver, in the use of wits, fists, and a variety of weapons, Foxx stalks the ruthless Inquisitor priest Pedro Azinheiro. But in a city ruled by terror and treachery, where money and information can buy power and trump any law, no enemy should be underestimated and no ally can be trusted. Having risked everything, and once again under the watchful eye of the Inquisition, Foxx finds his plans unraveling as he becomes drawn into the struggles of old friends—and new enemies—none of whom, like Lisbon itself, are what they seem.


The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon

Author: Richard Zimler

Paperback: 318 pages, English

Publisher: The Overlook Press; Reprint edition (March 15, 2000)

ISBN-10: 1585670227, Or 13: 978-1585670222

An international bestseller, is an extraordinary novel that transports listeners into the universe of Jewish Kabbalah during the Lisbon massacre of April 1506. Just a few years earlier, Jews living in Portugal were dragged to the baptismal font and forced to convert to Christianity. Many of these New Christians persevered in their Jewish prayers and rituals in secret and at great risk; the hidden, arcane practices of The Kabbalists, a mystical sect of Jews, continued as well. One such secret Jew was Berekiah Zarco, an intelligent young manuscript illuminator. Inflamed by love and revenge, he searches, in the crucible of the raging pogrom, for the killer of his beloved uncle Abraham, a renowned kabbalist and manuscript illuminator, discovered murdered in a hidden synagogue along with a young girl in dishabille. Risking his life in streets seething with mayhem, Berekiah tracks down answers among Christians, New Christians, Jews, and the fellow kabbalists of his uncle, whose secret language and codes by turns light and obscure the way to the truth he seeks. A marvelous story, a challenging mystery, and a telling tale of the evils of intolerance, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon both compels and entertains.


Gateway to the Moon

Author: Mary Morris

Paperback/ Hardback: 352 pages, English

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC, (January 2018)


In 1492, the Jewish and Muslim populations of Spain were expelled, and Columbus set sail for America. Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew, accompanies Columbus as his interpreter. His journey is only the beginning of a long migration, across many generations. Over the centuries, de Torres’ descendants travel from Spain and Portugal to Mexico, finally settling in the hills of New Mexico. Five hundred years later, it is in these same hills that Miguel Torres, a young amateur astronomer, finds himself trying to understand the mystery that surrounds him and the town he grew up in.   Entrada de la Luna is a place that holds a profound secret--one that its residents cannot even imagine. It is also a place that ambitious children, such as Miguel, try to leave. Poor health, broken marriages, and poverty are the norm. Luck is unusual. When Miguel sees a flyer for a babysitting job, he jumps at the opportunity, and begins work for a Jewish family new to the area. Rachel Rothstein is not the sort of parent Miguel expected. A frustrated artist, Rachel moved her family from New York in search of a fresh start, but so far New Mexico has not solved any of the problems she brought with her. Miguel loves the work, yet he is surprised to find many of the Rothstein family's customs similar to ones he’s grown up with and never understood.   Interwoven throughout the present-day narrative are the powerful stories of the ancestors of Entrada's residents, highlighting the torture, pursuit, and resistance of the Jewish people. A beautiful novel of shared history, Gateway to the Moon is a moving and memorable portrait of a family and its journey through the centuries.

historical non-fiction

São Tome: Journey to the Abyss- Portugal's Stolen Children

Paperback: 340 pages, English

Publisher: Burns-Cole Pub; 1st edition (December 31, 2005)

ISBN-10: 0964587602, Or 13: 978-0964587601

In 1485 the Portuguese Crown and Catholic Church began to kidnap Jewish children, forcibly convert the young conscripts, and ship them to São Tomé Island off the African equator to work the government sugar plantations. The collision of slavery, sugar agriculture, and discovery of The Americas transformed this island colony into the nidus of the wholesale black slave trade that infected Africa and Western commerce for the next 350 years. Sao Tome reveals the Medieval Church's complicity in the business of human bondage. This little-known chapter of the Diaspora tells the story of young Marcel Saulo and his sister Leah abducted with other children from their synagogue in Lisbon and shipped by caravel 4,000 miles to the West-African island where they bear witness to the holocaust of African slavery. This is a historical novel that chronicles one man's courageous struggle against religious and racial persecution, torture, and disease, and explores the abyss of Inquisition, Portuguese and Spanish world expansion, and the blight of slavery fueled by the calamitous growth of sugar commerce.  Now published in Portuguese, October 15, 2008, entitled "Rapto em Lisboa" (Kidnapping in Lisbon).


Portugal and the Nazi Gold: The "Lisbon Connection" in the Sales of Looted Gold by the Third Reich. A report prepared for The London Conference on Nazi Gold held December 1997

Author: Antonio Louça and Ansgar Schäfer. Edited by David Silberklang

Hard Cover: 482 Page, English

Publisher: Yad Vashem Studies Volume XXVII (1999)

ISSN: 0084-3296, Cat. No. 230

Yad Vashem Studies is an academic journal featuring articles on the cutting edge of research and reflection on the Holocaust. Yad Vashem Studies is a must for any serious library seeking to offer the essential texts on the Nazi era and the Holocaust. “Yad Vashem Studies has been at the forefront of research into the Nazi persecution and mass murder of the Jews, its origins and its consequences… indispensable for researchers and teachers alike. Beginning with volume 35, Yad Vashem Studies comes out twice annually, in spring and fall, making our contributors’ important research available to readers more quickly and more readily.


Hispania Judaica series, Volume 10, Two Portuguese Exiles in Castile: Dom David Negro and Dom Isaac Abravanel

Author: Elias Lipiner

Hardcover: 180 pages, English

Publisher: The Hebrew University Magnes Press (January 1, 2007)

ISBN-10: 965223964X

The tenth volume of the Hispania Judaica series is dedicated to Dom David Negro and Dom Issac Abravanel, two important Jews from Portugal, whose lives present certain similarities: Both were involved in Portuguese political plots and intrigues involving the King and the nobility and were both forced to escape as political fugitives to Castille where they attained high positions at the court of Juan I and Isabel I respectively. The book is partly based on sources from Portuguese archives, particularly the Arquivo da Torre do Tombo which houses one of the richest collections of medieval documents in Europe. Some of these sources are published in this book for the first time


The Woman Who Defied Kings: The Life and Times of Dona Gracia Nasi

Author: Andrée Aelion Brooks

Paperback: 614 pages, English

Publisher: Paragon House; Reprint edition (June 15, 2002)

ISBN-10: 1557788294, Or ISBN-13: 978-1557788290

The first modern, comprehensive biography of Dona Gracia Nasi, an outstanding Jewish international banker during the Renaissance. A courageous leader, she used her wealth and connections to operate an underground railroad that saved hundreds of her fellow Spanish and Portuguese conversos (Jews who had been forced to convert to Catholicism) from the horrors of the Inquisition. Born in Lisbon in 1510, she later moved onto Antwerp, Venice, and Ferrara where she was constantly negotiating with kings and emperors for better conditions for her people. Do±a Gracia Nasi helped lead a boycott of the Italian port of Ancona in retaliation for the burning of 23 of her people by the Inquisition - an outrageous act in an era when Jews were more accustomed to appeasement. Finally settling in Constantinople, she persuaded Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to grant her a long-term lease on the Tiberias region of Palestine, where she spearheaded one of the earliest attempts to start an independent state for Jews in Israel. Dona Gracia Nasi is equally important to history because she shatters the stereotype of how women, especially Jewish women, conducted their lives during the Renaissance period. Some historians have called her the most important Jewish woman since Biblical times.


The Lisbon Massacre of 1506 and the Royal Image in the Shebet Yehudah

Author: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (1976)

Paperback: 96 pages , English

Publisher: Hebrew Union College Press; 1 edition (September 11, 2015)

ISBN-10: 0822963760, Or 13: 978-0822963769

Yerushalmi was born in the Bronx, New York City on May 20, 1932, to Yiddish-speaking Russian parents who had immigrated to the United States. His father was a Hebrew teacher.In 1953, Yerushalmi received his bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University. Later, in 1957 he was ordained as a Rabbi. He received a doctorate from Columbia University in 1966. Salo Baron was his dissertation director. From the time of receiving his doctorate until his appointment to the Columbia faculty, Yerushalmi taught at Harvard University, where he was Jacob E. Safra Professor of Jewish History and Sephardic Civilization and chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Professor Yerushalmi died of emphysema on December 8, 2009. He has written the most accurate account of the Massacre of 1506 to date, and although it is the shortest, he has dispensed with the unverified accounts in other archives and distilled the most likely scenario based on facts that are sourced from documents other European archives and historic publications.


A Good Man in Evil Times: The Story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes -- The Man Who Saved the Lives of Countless Refugees in World War II

Author: Jose-Alain Fralon, Peter Graham (Translator) 3

Hardcover: 192 pages, English

Publisher: Carroll & Graf (April 9, 2001)

ISBN-10: 0786708484, Or 13: 978-0786708482

A long-unknown story of individual courage in the face of an authoritarian fascist bureaucracy unfolds in this inspiring biographical tribute to Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul to France in the early years of the Second World War. After the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Aristides de Sousa Mendes found himself continually more restricted by the policies of Portugal's prime minister, Dr. Antonio Oliveira de Salazar, who, like Franco in Spain, assumed a position of neutrality but did not wish to offend Hitler. It was Salazar's Circular 14 -- which denied, on the basis of race and religion, visas to the swelling number of refugees to Portugal -- that prompted the fifty-five-year-old Sousa Mendes's first acts of disobedience in his office at the consulate in the temporary French capital of Bordeaux. Over a period of six months in 1940, in accordance with his own conscience rather than Salazar's dictates, Sousa Mendes signed many thousands of visas that spared their recipients, ten thousand of them Jews, a terrible fate in the Nazi death camps. Sousa Mendes's acts of private resistance earned him Salazar's wrath, a forced early retirement, and years of dire poverty. They also won him a place in the pantheon of truly just men and, in Israel, a forest commemorating his tremendous heroism.


The Persecution of the Jews and Muslims of Portugal

Author: François Soyer

Hardcover: 332 pages, English

Publisher: Brill (October 31, 2007)

ISBN-10: 9004162623, Or 13: 978-9004162624

In 1496-7, King Manuel I of Portugal forced the Jews of his kingdom to convert to Christianity and expelled all his Muslim subjects. Portugal was the first kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula to end definitively Christian-Jewish-Muslim coexistence, creating an exclusively Christian realm. Drawing upon narrative and documentary sources in Portuguese, Spanish and Hebrew, this book pieces together the developments that led to the events of 1496-7 and presents a detailed reconstruction of the persecution. It challenges widely held views concerning the impact of the arrival in Portugal of the Jews expelled from Castile in 1492.


The Other Within: The Marranos: Split Identity and Emerging Modernity

Author: Yirmiyahu Yovel

Hardcover: 512 pages, English

Publisher: Princeton University Press; First Edition edition (January 25, 2009)

ISBN-10: 0691135711, Or 13: 978-0691135717

Despite his use of the word Marranos the research completed by Yirmiyahu Yovel  is very good and his focus is mostly on Conversos of Spain. He describes the former Jews forced to convert and their fascinating story, reflecting on what it means for modern forms of identity. He describes the Marranos as "the Other within"--people who both did and did not belong. Rejected by most Jews as renegades and by most veteran Christians as Jews with impure blood, Marranos had no definite, integral identity, Yovel argues. The “Judaizers” who to remained secretly Jewish--were not actually considered Jews by society, and those who wished to assimilate were not truly integrated as Hispano-Catholics. Rather, mixing Jewish and Christian symbols and life patterns. The Anusim were typically distinguished by a split identity. They also discovered the subjective mind, engaged in social and religious dissent, and demonstrated early signs of secularity and this-worldliness. In these ways, Yovel says, the Marranos anticipated and possibly helped create many central features of modern Western and Jewish experience. One of Yovel's philosophical conclusions is that split identity--which the Inquisition persecuted and modern nationalism considers illicit--is a genuine and inevitable shape of human existence, one that deserves recognition as a basic human freedom. Drawing on historical studies, Inquisition records, and contemporary poems, novels, treatises, and other writings, this engaging critical history of the Marrano experience is also a profound meditation on dual identities and the birth of modernity.


The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain

Author: Dario Fernandez-Morera

Hardcover: 376 pages, English

Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1 edition (February 22, 2016)

ISBN-10: 1610170954, Or 13: 978-1610170956

Darío Fernández-Morera is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University. A former member of the National Council on the Humanities, he holds a BA from Stanford University, an MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from Harvard University. He has published several books and many articles on cultural, literary, historical, and methodological issues in Spain, Latin America, and the United States.

“Shows in meticulous detail . . . that intolerance, segregation, formal inequality, and brutality were the order of the day [in Islamic Spain].”

The New Criterion

“[Fernández-Morera] must be commended for daring to wade into this hazardous arena. He has come well-armed: his The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise has 95 pages of notes, and the lionisers of political correctness will not find it easy to penetrate chinks in his bibliographical armour of primary and secondary sources, many not published in English. In an exhilarating and unputdownable read, Fernández-Morera debunks the fashionable myth that Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together (convivencia) under ‘tolerant’ Muslim rule. . . . World-class academics—hailing from Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Princeton, London, Oxford—look like fools in their apologetics for jihad.”


“Numerous books propagandize for Islam by calling Muslim rule in Spain during the Middle Ages a golden age of tolerance. Darío Fernández-Morera’s The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews Under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain (ISI Books) cuts against PR for Islam by giving specific examples of rulers cutting off heads or applying burning candles to the faces of sexual slaves.”

World magazine, naming The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise a finalist for Book of the Year

“Often a work of historical revisionism is a dubious exercise in discovering trendy, hidden agendas with little bearing on the actual record of the past. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise is decidedly not such a study and is instead a bracing remedy to a good deal of the academic pabulum that passes for scholarship on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations.”

Middle East Quarterly

Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom--and Revenge

Author: Edward Kritzler

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (November 3, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0767919521, Or 13: 978-0767919524

In this lively debut work of history, Edward Kritzler tells the tale of an unlikely group of swashbuckling Jews who ransacked the high seas in the aftermath of the Spanish Inquisition. At the end of the fifteenth century, many Jews had to flee Spain and Portugal. The most adventurous among them took to the seas as freewheeling outlaws. In ships bearing names such as the Prophet Samuel, Queen Esther, and Shield of Abraham, they attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding. Filled with high-sea adventures–including encounters with Captain Morgan and other legendary pirates–Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean reveals a hidden chapter in Jewish history as well as the cruelty, terror, and greed that flourished during the Age of Discovery.


Too Good To Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe

Author: Jennifer Felicia Abadi

Paperback: 710 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, (January 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1977739717, Or  ISBN-13: 978-1977739711

The first Passover cookbook specializing in traditional Sephardic, Judeo-Arabic, and Central Asian recipes and customs (covering both pre- and post-Passover rituals) appealing to Sephardic, Mizrahic, and Ashkenazic individuals who are interested in incorporating something traditional yet new into their Seders.

A compilation of more than 200 Passover recipes from 23 Jewish communities, this cookbook-memoir provides an anthropological as well as historical context to the ways in which the Jewish communities of North Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, and Middle East observe and enjoy this beloved ancient festival.

In addition to full Seder menus, Passover-week recipes, there are Seder customs (such as reenacting the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt), or post-Passover celebrations, such as the Moroccan Mimouneh for marking the end of the week-long “bread fast.” These customs provide a more complete sense of the cultural variations of the holiday. Too Good To Passover is a versatile and inspiring reference cookbook, appealing to those who may want to do a different “theme” each Passover year, with possibly a Turkish Seder one year, or Moroccan one the next.


Jewish Voices from Portugal/ Vozes Judaicas de Portugal

Author: R. Shlomo Pereira and R. Eli Rosenfeld

Hardback: 464 pages, English and Portuguese

Publisher: Chabad Press (September, 2018)

ISBN-10: 9892082982, Or -13: 978-9892082981

This new bilingual book focuses on Torah commentaries written by six rabbis with direct connections to Portugal. Their works span two centuries, from the middle 1400's to the middle 1600's, and were written through tragic historical times and challenging personal circumstances. Their message, however, is universal and highly relevant to our lives today. Paraphrasing the Portuguese National Anthem, this book truly brings to us the voices of our Portuguese Jewish "forefathers" speaking from the "mists of memory" _ of a different memory. And, it is to their memory that it is dedicated. In its Preface to this book, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of the Portuguese Republic writes: "In analyzing the commentaries on the Torah of the Rabbis of Portugal, from the 15th and 16th centuries, the authors of this work are part of a long


judaic portugal