Skip to Main Content

Genius and Anxiety

How Jews Changed the World, 1847–1947


Marx, Freud, Proust, Einstein, Bernhardt and Kafka. Between the middle of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a few dozen men and women changed the way we see the world. But many have vanished from our collective memory despite their enduring importance in our daily lives. Without Karl Landsteiner, for instance, there would be no blood transfusions or major surgery. Without Paul Ehrlich no chemotherapy. Without Siegfried Marcus no motor car. Without Rosalind Franklin genetic science would look very different. Without Fritz Haber there would not be enough food to sustain life on earth.

These visionaries all have something in common – their Jewish origins and a gift for thinking outside the box.

In 1847 the Jewish people made up less than 0.25% of the world’s population, and yet they saw what others could not. How?

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (October 10, 2019)
  • Length: 432 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781786076687

‘A dazzling masterpiece depicting the glory and tragedy of Europe’s most persecuted people.’

– Tom Bower

‘Lebrecht vividly portrays the tensions between success and discrimination, offering a timely reminder of what western civilisation owes to the Jews.’

– David Abulafia, Emeritus Professor of Mediterranean History, University of Cambridge, and author of The Great Sea