Against the background of a Christian presence at Auchwitz, Carroll traces a complex relationship between Christians, Jews and Antisemitism in 2000 years of Christian history. A personalized and idiosyncratic history rather than a diadactic one.
It was not an easy read, but 100% definitely enlightening... WHEW!!!
If you can overlook the over sharing of personal information, then this is quite an interesting review of the ways in which the Catholic Church has fostered, used, and ignored antisemitism to further its own goals. Unfortunately, the personal details frequently fail to illuminate the history and sometimes distract from it.
There was some good historical information (the Jewish identity of the early Christian church was particularly interesting, I though, and the philosophical and doctrinal attitude toward Jews through the Church's history is a factor that is often overlooked when discussing antisemitism) and speculation on the way things could have turned out differently if different philosophers and theologians had held sway.
But there was also a lot of information about the author's life that I really wasn't interested in. I suppose he wanted to personalize the story, but he seemed to constantly bring in personal anecdotes that were sometimes relevant but often were totally unrelated to what was being discussed. The worst example came in his discussion of the First Crusade and the destruction of the Jewish community in Mainz, when he parenthetically mentioned that one location was the first place he had a legal drink of alcohol. I have no clue why he felt that should be mentioned.
His suggestions for the way forward for the Church were, I thought, very interesting. It seems highly unlikely that any of them will be taken, given the path the Catholic Church appears to be on; but it is interesting to see options being discussed.
This is a long, slow reading book; 616 pages of text, and the book is physically very heavy. A qualified recommendation, mostly to those who are restless with the current direction of the Catholic Church who would like to consider alternatives.
Could not plow through this book.