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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Hope: A Novel
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2005
I frequently suggest "The Hope" and the second half of the story, "The Glory" as 'must-reads' for anyone who would like to understand where Israel is today in world politics. Wouk's other two great historical-fiction works, "The Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance", gave the non-history major a view of the history and politics of World War II while reading a fun and well-written novel. "The Hope" and "The Glory" give insight to the rebirth of Israel in the last 1940s and a feel for her tenuous survival since that time - again, while reading of interesting fictional characters interwoven with real characters and real history. As one who has spent 26 of the last 39 years in elective office and one who is a graduate level student of 20th Century political and diplomatic history, I rate Wouk as the most important historical-fiction writer of our time.

Senator Mike Fair

Oklahoma State Senator (retired)
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 18, 2006
I got from "The Hope" exactly what I expected to. An interesting tale backed up by solid historical events. The book is no substitute for non-fiction military history, but it does reveal the passion behind the founding of Israel. Mr. Wouk makes no attempt to hide the fact that he is a Zionist, so if you are looking for a balanced telling of the conflict look elsewhere. It is not that the book is anti-Arab; it is just that Arabs hardly exist at all. They are talked about, but never form characters.

The book does give a great insider feel that made me feel I could understand what was going through the minds of many actual and made-up characters that inter-mingle throughout the book. I would not call the book sappy, but it does spend almost as much time on the love life of the main characters as it does the political/warfighing events of the time.

The book takes a while to get going and never seems to be in a rush. The pace takes is time, so do not look for a quick read

Mr Wouk obviously spent a lot of time in Israel researching the book, and the feel for the different regions and sub-cultures really comes out. If you like history and are looking for something a bit heavier than beach books, but are not quite ready for a 1200 page academic tome on mid-east history than "The Hope" may be for you
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2005
This is an amazing novel. I picked it up wearily, thinking it would not be as good as other novelists such as Leon Uris or James Michner. This was far from the truth, this story is incredible. The novel tells the story of the beginnings of Israel right up through the end of the Six Day War in 1967. The one thing that I loved about this book, besides the stories being so vividly portrayed, was that all of the characters are so human. The reader can easily relate to not just a few of the main characters, but all of them. This is an amazing story, and I would reccommend it to anyone interested in a novelized version of Israeli history.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 1998
Although not in the league of "Exodus" The Hope is an exciting view of the birth and early years of Israel through the eyes of four military men. The book lacks the epic scope of Uris's masterpiece but does a nice job of weaving fictional characters with real life characters and incidents. Unlike Exodus, however, the Hope manages to show the day to day lives of these Israelis and toshow them as people not larger than life giants. The Hope also shows a little bit of how backroom Israeli politics worked as figures like Ben-Gurion, Dayan, Rabin and Meir play prominent roles. Well worth reading.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2002
To be honest this was not the novel, I excepted to read. I was hoping there was (not to sound shallow) a little more "action." But it turned, out to be more of a humanistic and political look at the underpinnings of Israeli's fight for independence. And I must admit, I did enjoy the story and learned alot about the Israeli people in the process. I am neither pro-Arab nor pro-Israeli, but I do have a new found sympathy and respect for the Israeli people after reading this novel. Yes, I know the history of Israel, but I feel as though I now have names and faces to put to that history. I'm can honestly say I'm proud of the Jews who fought their hearts out, while the non-Jewish world quietly hoped they failed. It is sad to say that it took 3 wars, just to get some respect from the Americans. They're some of the strongest people I know, and being the only democracy in the Middle East,I'm glad thier on our side.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2001
First, the only reason that I gave this book 4 stars and not five was because it was not as good as War and Remembrance and Winds of War. That being said, this is an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone interested in a great story.
The book has the backdrop of Israel during the early years of its existence. By following individual characters throughout the book, we, as the reader, get to see the many different elements of Israel's people and their actions and thoughts during this period of time. From the deeply religious to the holocaust survivor to the American Jew, we get the different perspectives of all who were involved at this period of time.
Of course, we also have classic Wouk, the militarey scenes, the love story, and the entanglements that individuals have with regard to their personal lives.
This book was able to give a more personal account of the creation of the Jewish state. There is no better storyteller than Wouk and I recommend this book to all. If you are not interested in the political and ideological background of this novel, then I would atr least recommend that you read his Winds of War and War and Rememberance which are similarly written books with the backdrop of World War 2.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2009
Some authors start to lose their touch as they age, but others just keep getting better. Herman Wouk had been both published and famous for many years when this book first came out in 1993, and I found it a wonderful surprise when I finally caught up with it this summer. It combines history - history written as adventure and intrigue - with well-conceived characters who grow and change as the plot unfolds through three Israeli wars. Each is a war for survival against daunting odds, and many of the characters not only remember the Holocaust, but survived it.

Author Wouk brings to this epic his own solid personal understanding of what it means to be a Jew, and that is the heart of this story. He successfully conveys that meaning from the viewpoint not only of observant Orthodox Jews (which he is), but from the viewpoints of less conservative Jews, Jews who practice their faith only when something prompts them, and even agnostics who nevertheless wholeheartedly identify themselves with their ancestors and their reclaimed homeland. For me this brings his characters alive. He also gets the women right - something male novelists of his generation (my father's) seldom manage. The history is meticulous. I'm glad I bought THE GLORY, too, and now I'm going to go start reading it!

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author LOVE, JIMMY: A MAINE VETERAN'S LONGEST BATTLE
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2004
As a dramatization of history, this book was wonderful. One felt what it was like to live there through those very stirring times, and perhaps best of all, the historical figures become very vivid. Suddenly, the names one has heard of from the newspapers become very real and true and fascinating. I did not know Israel's history very well - and this is a wonderful way to learn it. Sure, it's not about the Arabs - why should it be? an account of Americans over the same years doesn't need to include Vietnamese or Korean characters.
As fiction, this is pretty bad. It does retain your interest - but it's clear that at some point the once fine fiction writer Herman Wouk simply became more interested in history than in creating great characters and situations in fiction - probably while he was writing The Winds of War. (However, he has since written a few good novels set in contemporary times). At any rate, suffice to say that the characters are cardboard, their emotions aren't dealt with in a realistic way - and Wouk doesn't really try.
What he does want to do is to create a very truthful yet page-turning historical novel that teaches us about Israel through the 1967 war's aftermath - it moves and inspires and is fascinating and makes you want to read the next page. The history itself leaps off the page. So no, it's not anything like Faulkner or Proust, Mann or Melville, but you'll still find it a very exciting informative read - and want to read it again.
I did!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2010
The Hope is the epic story of the birth of Israel told as an historical novel. Herman Wouk is an outstanding writer and the book is a carefully woven novel of historical fact and high fiction. The characters are very real and the book is both riveting and enjoyable to read. The sequel, The Glory is equally five stars but I would suggest you read The Hope first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2014
This is a marvelous story of the birth and early history of Israel through the Six Day War, told through the eyes of an Army officer, an intelligence officer, a young Polish refugee, and several others, including the historical figures of Ben Gurion, Dayan, and others. It's an extremely well told story, on a par with The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, this book will touch your soul. My only complaint is it's not available on Kindle. Amazon, please resolve your licensing problem, or whatever is holding back distribution!
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