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Menachem Begin: A Life Hardcover – November 27, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
My one complaint -- and it is a maddening one -- is his persistent, passive-aggressive suggestion that Begin was manic-depressive, debilitated by mental illness. The author concedes that neither he, nor his sources, could ethically make such a diagnosis; but again and again this meme returns, like a bad penny.
While I think there are other explanations for Begin's charismatic successes, and crushing setbacks, than mental illness, to my mind these innuendos do more for the author than they do his story. I think that he repeatedly whispers this idea to avoid falling in love with his subject; who, as the story reveals, is much a much larger figure than the author, you or I, or anyone we know.
If the author can be forgiveness this weakness, and you will need to forgive him several times during the journey, this book is worth twice what you are asked to pay for it.
Begin, like Ben-Gurion, was a Zionist prodigy who headed organizations early in life. As a disciple of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, he rejected any form of socialism , which involved a class struggle, in favor of national unity. The motives for action were to be absolutely clear and involve all of society. He quickly became commander in the Polish division of Jabotinsky's youth organization, Betar, and later in its militia, Irgun. At the beginning of World War II, Begin travelled east to escape the Germans, but the Soviet authorities imprisoned him as a Zionist and (therefore) a bourgeois nationalist. In June 1941 he was sent to a labor camp on the Pechora River near the Arctic Circle.
For Jabotinsky and his organization, the most important issue was that the Jews should control Eretz Israel, defined as in the Bible to include in addition to the west of Jordan, the east which the British had ceded to King Abdullah. Betar, the Jabotinsky-founded youth organization, had split from the main body of Zionism in 1931 on the question of borders. A split within Betar had occurred in 1938 over the question of cooperating with the British.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is no way to read this book and walk away from it without becoming a Begin fan.
One of the truly magnificent personalities of the 20th century.
Begin's story is very worthwhile reading, quite relevant to an understanding of Israel today. Unfortunately, the English translation is awkward and clumsy in spots.Published on March 12, 2013 by Jaime Einstein