Ben-Gurion: His Later Years in the Political Wilderness

4.6 out of 5 stars 4 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-1442249462
ISBN-10: 1442249463
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Editorial Reviews


In the final years of David Ben-Gurion’s life, he lived in the Negev, marginalized from the circles of Israeli political and social power. Based on interviews and Ben-Gurion’s personal archives, this deeply researched examination of Ben-Gurion’s philosophy and actions as a state-builder articulates his role as a framer of Zionism and illuminates the political and social developments that shaped Israel from its inception up to the Yom Kippur War, which broke out just months before Ben-Gurion’s death in December 1973. Shilon’s distinctive focus on Ben-Gurion’s final years opens for readers a heretofore unexamined chapter in his life, revealing how he coped with his marginalization even as he continued to press his distinctive, and increasingly contrarian, vision of the Jewish state. This is a fascinating biography, both for what it reveals about a statesman in his years of decline and for its insights into decisive moments in Israel’s history. A translation from Hebrew, this [is a] perceptive and engaging study. . . .

Summing Up:
Recommended. General readers through faculty.

Avi Shilon has uncovered a little known period in Israeli history – warts and all.... He has reminded us of Ben-Gurion’s uniqueness, his flaws and his greatness. It is easy to either love him or to hate him. Shilon has injected a realistic complexity into the imagery of this enigmatic and probably shy man who – without exaggeration – changed the course of Jewish history. , Fathom

[T]his book should be seen as an important contribution to the growing library of works on the 'Old Man'and his outstanding role in Jewish history.... Shilons most important contribution is his examination of areas largely neglected by previous biographers. He discusses at length Ben Gurions efforts to write the history of modern Israel., Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

David Ben-Gurion comes alive in this volume, not as a man of action but as a man in decline, increasingly marginalized and, in the end, living in near-isolation on the periphery of the society that he himself had done so much to create. But Shilon’s fine portrait of a fading octogenarian nevertheless casts a revealing light on the unchanging personality of the man whose zealousness had once been of decisive historical importance. -- Allan Arkush, professor of Judaic Studies and History, Binghamton University

About the Author

Dr Avi Shilon is a historian and journalist, whose articles have been published in all of Israel's major newspapers. He currently writes a weekly column in Ha'aretz.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.24 pounds
  • Hardcover : 282 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1442249463
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1442249462
  • Product Dimensions : 6.43 x 1.01 x 9.35 inches
  • Publisher : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (May 12, 2016)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 4 ratings

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Reviewed in the United States on July 16, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2016
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