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A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel Reprint Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0805211498
ISBN-10: 0805211497
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Historical writing of the most thoughtful and serious kind.”
Newsweek
 
“The best single volume for the general reader.”
The Economist
 
“Laqueur’s rigorous objectivity elevates [this book] light-years above its predecessors in the field.”
The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

WALTER LAQUEUR chairs the research council for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and he is the founding editor of the Journal of Contemporary History. The author of more than twenty-five works of European and Jewish history, he lives in Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; Reprint edition (May 20, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805211497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805211498
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Smith on July 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I came upon this book I was searching for a definitive history of Zionism. I had read current histories on Israel and the Middle East, but I didn't have a deep understanding of where Zionism came from nor its philosophical impetus. I was looking for a book that would give me an unbiased account of where and why Zionism came to be, and in this one book I found it.

Mr. Laqueur gives a detailed and clinical look into this phenomenon from its inauspicious beginnings to its improbable statehood and the many twists and turns in between. How he was able to go through and gather so much information on a movement that was so spread out and splintered between many different ideologies and theories is beyond me. He has assembled a wealth of information and presented it fairly and evenly.

Zionism is a movement unprecedented in history and the affects of this movement are still being felt today. It seems that everyone has an opinion about Zionism, but it is important to have a deep understanding of where this movement came from before one can have an accurate picture of where it is now and why it has become what is. The more people understand about that past the more clearly they will see the present. This is an important book that needs to be read.
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Format: Paperback
I do not know where else in history that we have a people disposed from a land for two thousand years, scattered all over the world, who reconvene through an international movement and regain their homeland. I also can not recall any group suffering the violent and irrational hatred of so many nations as the Jews have.

Lacqueur's history traces this unique movement. It's success was very fragile; the many decisions from world leaders could have gone much differently if made a few years sooner or later. Jews did not initially support it broadly; many prefered assimilation to their country of birth and some felt that the growing socialist movement provided a better answer to anti-Semitism. Even within the Zionist movement political infighting was strong.

Yet the worst fears of those seeking a refuge from growing European anti-Semitism did not forsee the scope of the Holocaust, exterminating 6 out of 7 Jews in Europe. This emboldened the survivors and motivated just barely enough world sympathy to formulate the creation of the Jewish state.

The reaction of the Arabs was neither surprising or unique in the course of developing nations. Lacqueur has the advantage of hindsight to examine policy mistakes and examine how it could have been different, but concludes the difficulty would have remained regardless.

This examination shows Zionism not as a righteous holy ordained movement, nor is it a an evil racist colonial movement as the modern Arab media prefers to portray it. It was a politically and diplomatically unique solution to a very serious and unique problem.

That the success of the Zionist enterprise has not yet yielded the peace they so desperately seek, makes this work only an introduction, but a valuable source to those seeking to understand the volatile Middle Middle East of the 21st century. There are many more chapters to be written.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My copy arrived in the mail this morning, and it'll be departing next trip to paper recycling. Since the 2014 events in Gaza, I've been attempting to read up on the situation over that way. Especially the history. So my very first discovery was that the index in this 640 page book is nearly worthless.

I wanted to know more about the 1858 Ottoman Land Law changes which facilitated the transfer of the land from the farmers to the Zionists, with intermediaries being wealthy local Muslim landowners. The subject wasn't in the index, and thumbing through the front of the text I couldn't find any mention there either. This is not a minor issue!

http://www.beki.org/landlaw.html

Laqueur subtly trashed the findings of the Hope-Simpson Report which said the recent riots were on account of the increasing hopelessness of displaced Arab workers and farmers. IMO his remarks verged on dishonest.

Being darned suspicious now, I checked for any mention of the Deir Yassim massacre. No mention in the index, of course, but on page 584 was a single sentence. It was immediately followed by a neutralizer - mention of the Hadassah medical convoy massacre. The two events were in no way comparable, and Laqueur basically lied about the details of the latter.

Finally and still on page 584 was this remark: "By the end of April, about 15,000 Arabs had left Palestine. What impelled them to do so has been debated ever since." This could have come straight out of the "Medical Scientists Say"/"Tobacco Scientists Say" baloney used by the Mass Media today. Laqueur's book is dated 1972, and that he could make this claim at that late date shows he was totally dishonest, impossibly lazy, or some combination of the two.

I don't keep reference books I don't trust, and this one is going to be made into something useful - maybe an honest cardboard box from China.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books anyone can read on the history of Zionism. It is also very well written -making it a pleasure to read. One can really understand the very serious problems which faced the Jews in Europe and Russia in the 19th century -and some of the questions they were dealing with enable one to understand some of the tensions which still exist in Israel.
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