The early and middle decades of the nineteenth century in Europe (1815-81) have long been regarded as the major period of assimilation in post-medieval Jewish history. Moreover the established historiography dealing with those years has tended to focus on the processes of accommodation and communal disintegration. However, the historical processes as analysed in this collection of essays emerge as multi- rather than uni-directional, far more variegated and complex than usually described hitherto. Contradictory trends were associated with different localities, levels of development and ideological allegiances. Traditional loyalties, new socio-ethnic structures, communal cohesion, romantic rediscoveries of the past and the political solidarity engendered by the struggle for emancipation across Europe, all served to counterbalance the homogenizing forces of modernity. Bringing together the work of fourteen leading historians, this book represents a major contribution to the revision, which has gained momentum in recent years, of the traditional historiography.