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Israel: A History Paperback – October 6, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 785 pages
  • Publisher: McNally & Loftin Publishers; Rev Upd edition (October 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688123635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688123635
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gilbert's impassioned history adds immeasurably to our understanding of the forces that have shaped contemporary Israel. Digging up a wealth of primary source material and quoting liberally from letters, memoirs, eyewitness accounts, interviews, memoranda and diaries of David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Abba Eban, Shimon Peres, Teddy Kollek and dozens of ordinary people, the eminent British historian (The Holocaust) has produced a gripping epic. Gilbert's extensive behind-the-scenes and on-the-battlefield coverage of Israel's numerous wars with its Arab neighbors adds much new detail. While the narrative focuses predominantly on politics, high-level diplomacy and war, it also illuminates other topics, including the Jewish settlement of Palestine in the early years of this century, tensions between secularists and Orthodox Jews, Israeli military intelligence operations, the current impasse in negotiations with Palestinian Arabs and the ferment of Israeli society, which Gilbert portrays as a diverse mixture of immigrant peoples that embody many different strands of Judaism yet are united by Israeli culture. Photos. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

From Churchill's official biographer: a 50th-anniversary history of Israel.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

This is a great book and very well written.
Gavri
I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn about the history of modern-day Israel.
Michael Freeman
Whether or not the book is biased towards one side of the other, I cannot say.
Nome de Plume

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Irwin Savodnik, MD, Ph.D. on April 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The history of modern Israel is a search for security and peace -- an elusive, tragic search at best. Martin Gilbert's history can be viewed as slanted toward Israel, but that would miss his point, which is that Israelis have self-consciously wished for and worked for peaceful and fruitful co-existence with their neighbors and with the Palestinians from the beginning. Certainly, there have been grave misdeeds by Israelis (and Arabs) that have resulted in senseless loss of life. But if we go off on that track we will never see what Gilbert's point really means. What both sides would likely acknowledge is that the idea of peaceful coexistence has been more seriously entertained by Israelis than by Arabs -- Palestinian and otherwise. If this book is one-sided then it is so because because Gilbert has revealed this critical asymmetry in a way that has not been made clear before. The book is overflowing with details, anecdotes, portraits and asides that lend it an splendid depth. Yet the author never indulges himself in the sort of speculative forays that might confer color to his work at the expense of careful historical analysis. As a result, there is a critical neutrality toward the facts, with a minimum of bias, emotion or polemic. Perhaps the most emotional part of the book surrounds the events leading up to the assassination of Rabin, a masterful, moving account the whole world should read. Gilbert does not provide an argument for the Labor party or a brief against the Palestinians. Instead, he draws out the tragic dimension of a lost opportunity for peace in a part of the world where peace seems always beyond the pale. In the end, this is a hopeful, though sober and cautious work, and certainly not a book that favors one or the other side.Read more ›
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60 of 69 people found the following review helpful By dougrhon on March 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Why is it that any history of Israel which does not conclude that Zionism is a crime against human nature is "biased". Even many supporters of Israel regard works that look favorably on the Jewish state as somehow "biased." The reality is that any fair neutral analysis will show Israel in a favorable light and its enemies unfavorably. Martin Gilbert's extensive history is such a book. It is not necessary to re-create the myths of Zionism and to whitewash bad acts of the Israelis in order to conclude that Israel is a just country and one that Americans should support. Gilbert makes no attempt to persuade the reader in this regard. Instead he comprehensively (and sometimes pedantically) lays out the facts and events of history. The book is not biased at all. Gilbert is not gifted at prosaic writing as was the man for whom he is official biographer, Winston Churchill. If you want to read a British historian whose prose resembles Churchill, the author to read is Paul Johnson. But Gilbert is a gifted historian and this book is eminently readable and thus serves as an excellent introduction to and reference guide for Israeli history through the late 90's. Of course recent events beg for a second edition. We will see.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mark C. Atkins on February 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Being born in 1966 I grew up constantly hearing and seeing bits and pieces about Israel. This book has connected the dots for me, my view of Israel being permanently altered. The author's maps are many and excellent. At the top of each page he gives the corresponding year of that part of the narrative which I was constantly referring to in this fast moving history.
Make no mistake about it though, the author is pro-Labour and secular Jew, and at best not sympathetic to Likud or the religious Jews. My impression was that his vantage point was standing next to Ben-Gurion and Rabin, while Begin, Netanyahu and the religious Jews were over yonder, almost intruders.
He is very even with the Ashkenazi and Sephardi divide. Great book.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By M. D Roberts on September 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Drawing on his vast experience of this subject Sir Martin Gilbert has documented a superlative history of Israel which is extremely thorough and accurate.
This study surveys in some detail the first 50 years of Israel's history following the nation's re-birth in 1948. The book also tells of the involvement of the nation's pioneers and founders extending back into the latter half of the nineteenth century, together with many stories pertaining to the individuals who contributed to the re-birth of the Jewish state and to it's very survival during the ensuing conflicts.
The book begins with a chapter entitled "Ideals For Statehood" and describes how, since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70AD, Jews dispersed throughout the World have prayed for a return to Zion. "Next Year in Jerusalem" being the hope expressed at the end of every Passover meal. Later in the book the incredible hostility towards such Zionism is addressed.
The book initially describes the "considerable Jewish activity in Palestine" as the nineteenth century came to an end and extends to the Balfour Declaration and the work towards a Jewish homeland in Palestine that the latter promised. Unfortunately the book lacks any appropriate or real attention to the creation of the state of Transjordan in 1922 and how this affected the eventual rebirth of Israel. An issue where Britain detached 78% of the original area of Mandate Palestine to create another Arab entity in order to satisfy Arab aspirations for independence. This area east of the Jordan was thereafter called Trans-Jordan, and remained legally part of the British Mandate until 1946, when it was declared an independent Arab state, renamed Jordan in 1953.
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