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Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft (Yale University Press) Hardcover – August 28, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"Churchill's Promised Land weaves a seamless web between diplomatic and intellectual history. Arresting, thoroughly documented, and at times startling, this will be the standard book on Churchill’s complex political and intellectual response to the Zionist project. This is the best kind of history: no axe to grind, guided by the sources, it is a work of genuine scholarship written by a discerning and curious historian."—Fouad Ajami, author of The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the  Iraqis in Iraq
(Fouad Ajami)

"An acutely observed account of the fascinating, evolving, and momentous relationship between Churchill and Zionism. Makovsky's perceptive conclusions about Churchill's romantic attachment to Zionism will intrigue and delight readers."—Andrew Roberts, author of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900

(Andrew Roberts)

"Most studies of Churchill stress his tough-minded realism. Michael Makovsky’s graceful and compact study of Churchill’s sustained interest in Zionism brings to light a parallel strand of idealism evident through all the latter part of Churchill’s career. His book adds greatly to our understanding of the man and also of Britain’s stance in the Middle East from World War II down to the 1950s."—Ernest May, Harvard University
(Ernest May)

"A comprehensive, balanced, and inspired account of Churchill's emotional and political response to Zionism."—Wm. Roger Louis, University of Texas at Austin and St. Antony's College, Oxford

(Wm. Roger Louis)

"This is a rich and compelling book. Churchill's attitudes toward Zionism, often vacillating but ultimately resolute, provide a unique window into his worldview. Michael Makovsky has contributed substantively to our understanding of this unparalleled statesman, of the roots of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and of the origins of the modern Middle East."—Michael B. Oren, author of  Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present
(Michael B. Oren)

"Today, when Western civilization is under severe attack and the legitimacy of national movements, such as Zionism, is being challenged by the new post-nationalist universalists, Michael Makovsky shows in dramatic and vivid detail why Churchill, one of the greatest statesman in centuries, consistently and stubbornly fought for both."—Natan Sharansky, author of The Case for Democracy
(Natan Sharansky)

"The book's insights are fascinating and revealing."—Jewish Voice & Opinion
(Jewish Voice & Opinion 2008-09-15)

"For an honest, but not hostile, explanation of Churchill's stance toward the Jewish world that also sheds much light on his outlook and his conduct as a politician, Michael Makovsky's account can hardly be bettered."—David Cesarani, Literary Review (UK)

(David Cesarani Literary Review 2007-12-01)

"A more nuanced understanding of Churchill's philo-Semitism and his pro-Zionism. . . . Churchill's Promised Land offers a necessary foil and more critical treatment of an intricate subject and a complex man."—Sonja P. Wentling, Journal of World History
(Sonja P. Wentling Journal of World History)

About the Author

Michael Makovsky has a Ph.D. in diplomatic history from Harvard and is foreign policy director of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. He lives in Washington.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2nd Edition edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300116098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300116090
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this well written and perfectly documented account the story of Churchill's relationship to Zionism is layed out through Churchill's own political rise and his own worldview. Zionism was to Churchill a positive element in the world. Churchill had been an early admirer of the Jews for their tenacity and their survival over the cneturies. With the advent of Zionism he became a supporter of this movement because he saw it as a meaningful challenge to Communism. With the rise of Nazism he saw that the threat to Jewish existence in Europe could be releived through Jewish migration to Palestine.

Churchill was a phenomenal character and his relationship with Zionism is one of the most interesting stories regarding his long life. This book exists alongside other discussions of the same material such as Martin Gilbert's Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship but this book is fascinating for orienting Zionism vis-a-vis Churchill's own worldview and for providing a well written, fast paced discussion of the interplay between the two.

Seth J. Frantzman
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Keith A. Comess VINE VOICE on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (WSC) was, without any doubt whatsoever, one of the seminal figures in world history. His long tenure in government service spanned the British-African colonial wars (he was a participant as a soldier, as a journalist and Minister for the Colonies), the First World War (as a soldier and government minister, unfairly tarred with the responsibility for the Gallipoli debacle), Indian independence and the decline of the British Empire. His amazing ministerial portfolio also included that of Prime Minister (twice!). In his capacity as British leader during WW-II, he has been acknowledged as a supremely gifted orator,savior of the U.K. and the rallying point for the beleaguered West. He has also been savagely pilloried by his contemporaries not only for his principled positions and was sometimes viewed as a pessimistic Cassandra for his prescient insights on the menace of emerging Nazi German power and the threat posed by the Soviet Union. Then and now, he has been scruitinized for his role in the creation of Israel, accepted by received wisdom as the linchpin of the current Middle East imbroglio. WSC's positions on many controversial subjects have been characterized as redolent of hubris, being imbued with imperialistic perspectives and/or smacking of arrogance or ignorance. A prolific author, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for work done in his "spare time". In short, he was (as one biographer characterized him), "The Last Lion". Given the vast panorama of his life and the divisive nature of the issues the dealt with, it is hardly surprising that he remains a controversial figure for contemporary commentators.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Howard Hoffman on March 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Makovsky has written an excellent book giving great insight into the evolution of Churchill's relationship to Zionism. Considering the conflicted role that Britain played in the founding of the State of Israel, it might not have happened if it were not for the positive role of Churchill. In a country and an era where Zionism had few friends, Churchill really understood the need of the Jewish People to have a state of their own and why it needed to be in Palestine. Makovsky has done a wonderful job of taking us through the years with one of the truly great leaders of the 20th Century.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Norman Szydlowski on August 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Excellent insight into Churchill's role in Zionism. The research behind this book is superb. And the writing style is clear and comfortable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S.M. Eisenstat on July 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have not completed the book. However so far it is outstanding. It is written in a clear and articulate style in a highly factual manner. It makes for very interesting reading.
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