Born in Troy, NY. Education: New School for Social Research, Ph.D.
The World of Benjamin of Tudela: A Medieval Mediterranean Travelogue, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, WI), 1995.
Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History, Steerforth Press (Hanover, NH), 2006.
Sandra Benjamin is an American writer and scholar whose fascination for the Mediterranean region has manifested itself in her first two works. The World of Benjamin of Tudela: A Medieval Mediterranean Travelogue follows in the footsteps of and recounts the voyages of a Jewish merchant who visited and documented Jewish communities throughout the medieval world. Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History focuses more closely on the island where she has spent a great deal of time, drawn by the ethnic diversity of the island's population. Benjamin traces the history of Sicily from its discovery by the Phoenicians, through successive settlement by Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans, on to the Holy Roman, Spanish, and Bourbon periods, and finally to modern times, when the island is considered an autonomous region of the Republic of Italy. Benjamin demonstrates in her book that because of its strategic location, Sicily has been one of the most frequently conquered places on Earth, and its population, as well as architecture and culture, reflect this history. Accord- ing to Booklist contributor Mark Knoblauch, "Benjamin recounts all this history in easy prose unencumbered by academic pretension, making this an ideal history for the nonspecialist." Similarly, a Kirkus Reviews critic felt Sicily is a "useful introduction," and a reviewer for Publishers Weekly called it a "solid narrative."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2006, Mark Knoblauch, review of Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History, p. 22.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2006, review of Sicily, p. 444.
Publishers Weekly, April 24, 2006, review of Sicily, p. 50.