Written in 1946, and updated with two essays in 1978, Underground to Palestine should be looked at as an important narrative work about the journey of Holocaust survivors from Europe to Palestine (pre-Israeli statehood). What I found most compelling about the book was the nature of the author's relation to the travelers - he was both a newspaperman with a commitment to objectivity and a member of the Jewish people. Stone is efficient with his word choice, but the addition of some Yiddish and Hebrew words adds to the complexity and authenticity. I was assigned this book for a class on American Jewish writers, but it should be required reading for anyone interested in the founding of modern-day Israel. The updated edition (from 1978 - and it seems like this is out of print) includes reflections on "the other Zionism", and how American Jewish organizations have ignored the plight of Palestinians despite a Jewish/Zionist commitment to social justice. These reflections rival the work of Gershom Gorenberg (see The Unmaking of Israel) and Peter Beinart (see The Crisis of Zionism).
The stories captivated me and how he wove the past and present together just kept me tied to the book. The tragedies in life that crush most, but some come through as a brilliant diamond. The stories that came out of the holocaust makes most of us wish it never happened so that so many other rich lives would have contributed to this earth and people. May they rest in peace, and God's blessing of strength and hope upon those who survived as one of those diamonds.
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