Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship Hardcover – October 16, 2007
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
This work by acclaimed Churchill biographer Gilbert examines an often-neglected aspect of the British leader's career: his relationship to Jews and Jewish issues. Drawing on a treasure trove of primary documents, Gilbert shows how Churchill grew beyond the kind of friendship with individual British Jews that his father enjoyed into a supporter of Jewish causes—most notably a Jewish state in Palestine. (In later years, Churchill even referred to himself as an old Zionist.) Gilbert shows that Churchill recognized as early as 1933 that Hitler's regime posed a grave danger for European Jewry. Yet, as Gilbert shows, in the late 1930s, Churchill upset Zionist leaders with his support for limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine out of a concern for British interests in the Arab world. The work is chock-full of narrative, with little interpretation, and some readers might wish for more discussion of questions, such as Churchill's description of Bolshevism (which he loathed) as a Jewish movement. But this work is a must-read for those interested in Churchill and in Jewish history. 8 pages of photos; maps. (Nov. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Winston Churchill has been the subject of many of this author's 54 books, including an 8-volume biography, and some of Gilbert's books have been about the Holocaust. (He points out that for more than half a century, Churchill's life intertwined with Jewish issues.) Consequently, for 40 years he has essentially been collecting material for this book. Churchill served as a young member of Parliament from 1904 to 1908, with many Jews among his constituents; as a cabinet minister in 1921 and 1922, responsible for determining the future status of the Jewish National Home in Palestine; as a war leader from 1940 to 1945; and as peacetime prime minister from 1951 to 1956, aware of and sympathetic to Jewish concerns. Drawing on private papers, speeches, newspaper coverage, and wartime correspondence, Gilbert examines the origins, implications, and results of Churchill's commitment to Jewish rights. A perceptive and engrossing account, written by one of the foremost historians of our time. Cohen, George
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
- in our case the charismatic leader of the British war-time governement who couldn't impose his will on his air force? Or maybe in these particular circumstance it was convenient for him to be helpless ...
As Gilbert tells the story, Churchill had always been exposed to and befriended Jewish people. This lasted practically from the moment he was born until his death. His parents introduced him to several influential Jewish families that he retained ties with throughout his life. During his stings in the British government in both World Wars, he interacted with many of the more prolific and historical Jewish figures of the age in the British Admiralty (Like Chaim Weizmann) as well as Albert Einstein and many others.
What I did not know until I read this book was how involved Churchill was in the Zionistic movement and how much of a force he was in the establishment and creation of Israel as a result of this movement. Starting from the World War 1 era, when he was part of the group that was involved in the Balfour Declaration and on through the declaration of the state, Churchill was a very active Zionist. Some of the other unknown tidbits - at least unknown to me prior to reading this book - was the Churchill played a large role in the negotiation of the Balfour Declaration. As a for instance, Gilbert writes that Churchill was offended by Ibn Saud (the King of Saudi Arabia) because part of the deal behind the Balfour Declaration was Britain's commitment to making independent Arab states in Saudi Arabia and Trans-Jordan. A deal that the Arabs rejected after they got their portion of it.
Churchill was also engaged in the deliberations and debates about limiting Jewish immigration to Israel between the World Wars. Gilbert chronicles several of Churchill's speeches and essays in which he provides data, time and time again, that the Arab immigration into Israel was proportionality the same as the Jewish immigration, but numerically much larger. Every time, Churchill points this out as a complete refutation of the Arab argument that allowing more Jews into the area would displace Arabs who lived there for millennia. In addition, Churchill never ceases to show how the Jewish immigration and activities have turned dessert areas into productive farms. Areas that had been declared impossible to cultivate had been turned into green oases which produced food aplenty. In other words, all the Arab arguments were false and malicious and inspired by greed, and Churchill kept that in the forefront of the political debates of the time.
When World War II broke out, Churchill still found time to help the Jews either escape from Europe were the Holocaust was hunting them down and killing over 6 million of their numbers. He would take time out from his duties to write letters and speeches and influence the United States and other countries while attempting to mollify the Jewish leader - especially after the extent of the holocaust started becoming known. Following the war, Churchill was out of the government, but still played a key role in the establishment of the modern State of Israel, and in eventually getting Great Britain to recognize the country.
For me this book contained much information that was new. I was not aware of Churchill's involvement in many of these events and tasks and my admiration for him has only risen as I read his letters, speeches, and essays. While the book is focused only on this one small aspect of Churchill's life and career, it is a fascinating read. I am taking one star away from my rating of this as this slice of information is probably too small and too specific to interest the general reader. However, if you are one of those who are interested in learning how the current borders of the Middle East were formed, and why certain events took place, then this book will help fill the void. Gilbert's writing and resources are well-documents and referenced and are of much more believable a nature than most of what passes for Arab documentation of today.