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Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship Hardcover – October 16, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This work by acclaimed Churchill biographer Gilbert examines an often-neglected aspect of the British leader's career: his relationship to Jews and Jewish issues. Drawing on a treasure trove of primary documents, Gilbert shows how Churchill grew beyond the kind of friendship with individual British Jews that his father enjoyed into a supporter of Jewish causes—most notably a Jewish state in Palestine. (In later years, Churchill even referred to himself as an old Zionist.) Gilbert shows that Churchill recognized as early as 1933 that Hitler's regime posed a grave danger for European Jewry. Yet, as Gilbert shows, in the late 1930s, Churchill upset Zionist leaders with his support for limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine out of a concern for British interests in the Arab world. The work is chock-full of narrative, with little interpretation, and some readers might wish for more discussion of questions, such as Churchill's description of Bolshevism (which he loathed) as a Jewish movement. But this work is a must-read for those interested in Churchill and in Jewish history. 8 pages of photos; maps. (Nov. 1)
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From Booklist

Winston Churchill has been the subject of many of this author's 54 books, including an 8-volume biography, and some of Gilbert's books have been about the Holocaust. (He points out that for more than half a century, Churchill's life intertwined with Jewish issues.) Consequently, for 40 years he has essentially been collecting material for this book. Churchill served as a young member of Parliament from 1904 to 1908, with many Jews among his constituents; as a cabinet minister in 1921 and 1922, responsible for determining the future status of the Jewish National Home in Palestine; as a war leader from 1940 to 1945; and as peacetime prime minister from 1951 to 1956, aware of and sympathetic to Jewish concerns. Drawing on private papers, speeches, newspaper coverage, and wartime correspondence, Gilbert examines the origins, implications, and results of Churchill's commitment to Jewish rights. A perceptive and engrossing account, written by one of the foremost historians of our time. Cohen, George

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 359 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Company; 1St Edition edition (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805078800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805078800
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir Martin Gilbert is one of the leading historians of his generation. An Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford - of which he was a fellow for thirty years - he is the official biographer of Churchill and the author of eighty books, among them Churchill - A Life and The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust. For more information please visit http://www.martingilbert

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ben K. Harris on December 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an exciting account of Churchill's relationship to the Jewish people from the earliest phase of his political career. He developed a strong bond with the developing state of Israel, and it seems unlikely, without his brilliant supportive speeches in parliament for several decades that we would have a state of Israel today. Gilbert does a superb job of bringing us up to date on Churchill's contributions, from the time of the Balfour declaration to Israel Statehood in 1948.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bussio on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This smart, well researched and readable book makes an often controversial subject easy to understand and easier still to be sympathetic towards. Famed author and historian, Sir Martin Gilbert offers us through direct sources, a simple yet profound road map in which we see Mr. Churchill navigate his way through his many relationships with Jews, and those opponents in his own political party, as well as the minefield which is Middle East politics. I for one, though a student of the Middle East never knew just how close Mr. Churchill was to the Jewish people, Zionism, and his continued support through out the decades for a Jewish state in the region.

"Some people like Jews and some do not, but no thoughtful `person' can doubt the fact that they are beyond all question the most formidable and most remarkable race which has ever appeared in the world" Winston Churchill

I strongly recommend this book for your reading pleasure, education, and enlightenment. It is an outstanding historical document.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on October 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Martin Gilbert the official biographer of Winston Churchill is also well-versed in modern Jewish history. In this work he traces the lifelong attitude and relationship of Churchill to the Jewish people. He points out that Churchill's father was particularly friendly with Jews, and did something not done in his day, invited Jews to their home. As a young person Churchill thus had the acquaintance of Jewish friends of his father who he respected. Gilbert shows that Churchill throughout his life maintained this sympathetic attitude towards the Jews. He was a strong and enthusiastic supporter of the Zionist enterprise, and in 1917 a supporter of the Balfour Declaration.
In a review in the Sun Nancy Schleifer quotes Churchill ardently supporting the Jewish cause in the Holy Land,
"The Jews have developed the country, grown orchards and grain fields out of the desert, built schools and great buildings, constructed irrigation projects and water power houses and have made Palestine a much better place to live then it was before they came a few years ago. To Jewish enterprise, the Arab owes nearly everything he has. Fanaticism and a sort of envy have driven the Arabs to violence."
He during the first War defended Jewish friends who were falsely accused of disloyalty to Britain. Churchill believed that Biblical morality and teaching was the fundamental foundation- stone in the building of the ethics of humanity. Churchill believed that Jews being true to their religion and people could also be true and loyal to the various countries in which he lived.
Nonetheless he was wary of Jewish participation in world- communism and warned against this.
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48 of 60 people found the following review helpful By John Adam on November 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew a fair amount about Winston Churchill and recognized his greatness but I did not know that he was a strong Zionist. Churchill's words are clear, his insight and knowledge rare among politicians. He recognized the evil of Nazism and Communism and recognized the contributions of the Jews and moral teachings of Judiasm. He saw the problems with Islam and the tribalness of Arabs. He knew the Jews needed to be restored to their historical homeland, which had been left a desert during the centuries of Ottoman rule. Churchill saw that Jews have as much right to a place in the Middle East as the Arabs, Turks and Persians. He knew that Israel would be an ally of the US and Britain and a beacon of modernity to the Arabs, which is part of the reason it has been attacked.

Martin Gilbert's lastest book is another significant work on Churchill and world history. We need more Churchills and Gilberts!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Winston Churchill, for as long as he can remember, has been connected with Jews. Coming from a family with close Jewish ties, though not through blood, he has always had friends from this ethnicity. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill was often rebuked by the English aristocrats about his many Jewish friends. Learning about the biblical characters in his school, he was often fascinated with their stories and with their lives.

Martin Gilbert, Churchill's official biographer, draws on letters, speeches, newspaper articles and other resources to provide a clear depiction of his friendship with one of the most persecuted races in the world: the Jews.

Reading this book was very eye opening. I have always heard about Churchill through his famous quotes often featured at graduations and other ceremonies-and through those I had developed a certain respect for him. However, after reading this book, I consider him one of the greatest men who ever lived. Sure he had faults; he would be the first to admit that. But what set him apart was the fact that he was willing to stand up for what he believed in, even when popular opinion was against it. He was an ardent supporter for a Jewish state and played a key role in bringing that to pass. Many considered his love for Jews one of his major faults; however, he was not swayed by what others thought him.

Martin Gilbert's portrayal of Churchill and his relationship with Jews is very enlightening. It explores this often-neglected topic, captivating the readers from the very beginning as it traces his first Jewish friendships to his Jewish friends he had during the time he was Prime Minister. I really enjoyed this book that also includes photographs that chronicle his relationship with them.

Armchair Interviews says: Highly recommended to any history buff!
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