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1949, the First Israelis Hardcover – 24 Feb 1986

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 379 pages
  • Publisher: The Free Press; First Printing edition (24 Feb. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029291801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029291801
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Drawing on newly declassified documents, this behind-the-scenes story of Israel's first year as a sovereign state presents revelations about the attitudes and actions of the Jewish state-builders.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A very complete look at the 1949 immigration 4 Aug. 2006
By B. H. Macy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been searching for information around the 1949 magic carpet operation, since my parents were part of that operation. Tom Segev's book gives a very complete view of the events around the immigration, both politically and within Israel where they had the task of assimilating the new settlers. And there are tidbits in my parents letters home that sync up perfectly with what Tom is describing! I give kudos to Mr Segev for painting a realistic picture of the struggles of that time period, complete with all the warts! Tom Segev's book is far more comprehensive about 1949 events in Israel then any other reference I have found to date.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
So much detailed information... 23 Dec. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a really fantastic book and one of the few to really write about the times in a completely unbiased fashion. It manages to touch upon every aspect of Israeli life in 1949, from war, to immigration, to education, to corruption, to triumph.
In addition to accurate and detailed occurences and the events leading up to them, intimate details of both significant and little known players are discussed.
If you want to know what was really going on during that time and what the principals were thinking, read this book.
If you're sick of reading literature that is either Pro-Arab or Pro-Israeli, read this book.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The messy business of nation building 14 Dec. 2006
By Eric Maroney - Published on
Format: Paperback
Perhaps Segev's finest work next to One Palestine, Complete, 1949 chronicles the often messy business of building the Jewish state. From the conflict between Arabs and Israelis, the tensions between native born Israelis and immigrants, the battles between religious and secular Jews, and the spotty, sometimes faulty business of developing an "Israeli" identity, Segev provides a handy view of topics seldom (until recently) treated by Israeli historians. He does what American historians have known for sometime: the official historical version of a nation's development is often quite at odds to what actually occurred; or, in the case of the new Israeli historians, what can now be read in (recently opened) Israeli government documents. Unless you come to this book with a hard and fast agenda, it will be well worth your time to read and absorb its fascinating thesis and historical details.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Realism About Israel's Early Days 9 Nov. 2006
By D.C.Hudson - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book tarnishes the glow of the romantic fairy tales about Israel's being founded by heroic pioneers who made an empty desert bloom. One does not have to be a complete cynic to believe that people of Arab descent in the territory from which Israel was carved were uprooted and driven from their homes or that there were significant conflicts among those who arrived from the diaspora to settle in the Jewish homeland. Myths however "needed" for psychological comfort make it more difficult to deal with today's problems and to find solutions.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
An Honest Account 4 Jun. 2007
By Bill K. - Published on
Format: Paperback
Tom Segev gives an honest account of Israel's first days. One develops a clear understanding of the many challenges (including defense, absorption of new immigrants, and a decent standard of living for all) that faced Israelis and their government. After reading this book, one cannot but appreciate the tremendous contribution of Ben-Gurion's pragmatic leadership in ensuring Israel's survival during this difficult period and in shaping Israel's future. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to gain an insight into the harsh realities of nation building. After reading this book, they will have a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices all made to make Israel a reality in 1948-1949.
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