Most helpful critical review
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Somewhat old in its orientation and sources, but...
on May 19, 2009
A History of Zionism is still a well written, thoroughly researched book. Laqueur explores the roots of Zionism in the French Revolution right through to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. One of the great strengths of the work is that Laqueur explains in detail the political factions and in-fighting in the Zionist congresses, exposing the reader to men who have been all but forgotten to history. On the negative side, the work places too far an emphasis on Zionist activity in the Diaspora, and not enough in Palestine. Laqueur's work also suffers from the use of old sources (the youngest from the 1960s). His work is not informed by the more recent writings of the so-called post-Zionist school of historiography. When Laqueur quotes Ben Gurion, for instance, it is from official sources, and does not plumb the depths of Ben Gurion's complex and sometimes doubled sided motivations. The work also treats Zionism like a faltering child, which right up until the establishment of the State of Israel was about to keel over. This may or may not be true, but this overall stance informs the book deeply, and for a reader that does not agree with this, it can be a fatal flaw.