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For the first three decades of Israel’s national existence, politics was dominated by the Labor coalition; the possibility that the right-wing Likud, led by Menachem Begin, could take power seemed remote and even absurd. Many Jews, both within and outside of Israel, reviled him as an extremist with Fascist tendencies. In a dramatic shift, he and his party rose to power in 1977. It is symptomatic of the rightward political transformation of Israel that Begin is now a widely revered political figure on a par with David Ben Gurion. Shilon has written a scrupulously balanced and comprehensive biography of the frustratingly complex and enigmatic leader. Born to a staunchly Zionist family in Brest-Litovsk, then part of the Russian Empire, Begin was drawn to a particularly militant strain of Zionism, influenced by the persecutions of Jews that he witnessed firsthand. In Mandate Palestine, he was a mercurial underground fighter who could be both a rigid ideologue and a practical tactician. Shilon reveals often fascinating and surprising details about Begin as a politician in independent Israel. This is a superbly researched examination. --Jay Freeman
This book, detailed although sometimes un-idiomatically translated, shows us how in the career of one man the Yishuv, or Israel as it is now known, has continually had to choose... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Edward Brynes
An excellent description of the life and philosophy of one of the most important political figures in Israeli political history. Read morePublished on September 8, 2013 by Daniel Goldschmidt