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History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time Paperback – 1 May 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1296 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc; 3rd edition (1 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375711325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375711329
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 5.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 737,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and reared in Champaign, Illinois, HOWARD MORLEY SACHAR received his undergraduate education at Swarthmore and took his graduate degrees at Harvard. He has taught extensively in the field of modern European history, and lived in the Middle East for six years, two of them on fellowship, the rest as founder-director of Brandeis University's Hiatt Institute in Jerusalem. Dr. Sachar has contributed to many scholarly journals and is the author of thirteen other books.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What a magnificent work of scholarship. For people such as myself, who are only remotely familiar with the circumstances leading to the rise of the Zionist movement and to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, this is such rewarding book. Sachar's approach to his subject is quite astounding. Not only does he trace the political and social evolution of the country in a sober and even-handed way, but he provides a lucid exposition of the military conflicts and turbulent irruptions that have plagued the country since the early twentieth century. The duplicity and nervous diplomacy of the superpowers in dealing with Israel are also brought to light. Moreover, the rise of the PLO and PFLP are discussed, along with some of the other popular Arab movements, in a very incisive and fair manner. The writing style is quite eloquent, and the topics discussed are so diverse and interesting that the prose doesn't drag along, as one might expect from such a thick and heavy tome. The book is provided with a vast array of military, demographic and municipal maps, which make some of the historical incidents easier to follow. My only suggestion for any subsequent editions is that the book be provided with an insert of illustrations, depicting some of visual arts and archaeological sites that Sachar discusses, along with photographs of some of the important political figures mentioned in the text.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Zachar's book commences with Napoleon meeting the French Jewish community's leaders,and ends with the death of Yitzhak Rabin."Comprehensive" is putting it mildly
The early chapters,which spell out the beginings of modern Zionism,mostly in eastern Europe,are great-I knew very little about this prior to reading the book.It then goes on to the begining of the Zionist settlements in the late 19th century and tells the story of both the Jewish and Palestinian communities very well from there onwards.
Two themes mark out Zachar's book from other histories.One is his stress on the role of circumstance,chance and luck in the intertwined histories of the Jews and Palestinians.The idea that there was (or is) some monolithic conspiracy dedicated to doing down either the Jews or the Palestinians is shown to be nonsense.Zachar shows that with just slight differences-slightly higher or lower Jewish immigartion,a more cohesive Palestinian leadership at crucial times,fewer Palestinians fleeing after 1948,a less pro-Israeli US Jewish leadership-it could all have turned out completely differently.
Another is that Zachar investigates and writes about the problems of Palestinians or Israeli Arabs or whatever they like to call themselves,who stayed in Israel after 1948.These people are usually conspicuous by their absence in standard histories of Israel.Zachar redresses the balance here.
Overall,very well written,accurate and(mostly)objective.Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
It is very difficult to accurately and comprehensively analyse this work.

The fact is that Sachar go's out of his way to be even-handed, which leads to a dilemma in itself.

The truth is that one cannot be objective in a conflict where it is clear to any fair-minded and honest observer who the agressors are and always have been: The Jews peacefully returned to their ancient land, and for nearly a century the Arabs have been trying to drive them into the sea.

There are times when I am uncomfortable with the author's particularly unfair treatment of the Jewish freedom fighters- the Irgun and Lechi- whom he labels as 'terrorists'.

At the same time, he honestly appraises the history of the situation as he see's it, and does not like the malevolent 'new historians' and revisionists, like Chomsky, Finkelstein, Said, Lenni Brenner and Israel Shahak, go back and rewrite history to suit their own destructive and malicious agenda against Israel.

This is an honest appraisal, in which the author strives to be fair.

Though his commentary is not always to my liking, he sticks to the facts, except in cases like the so-called massacre of Deir Yassin, where he has accepted the 'official' version' of events, despite clear evidence that there had been no deliberate killing of Arab civillians by the Jews.

The author begins by outlining the beginnings of the Zionist movement, the work of pioneers such as Moshe Hess, Leo Pinsker, Moses Montefiore, Achad Ha'am, Theodore Herzl, Chaim Weizmann and Vladimir Jabotinsky. He describes their strugles to adapt to harsh terrain, in the land which had flourished two thousand years before, when their ancestors lived there.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 48 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich history of Israel 15 Jun. 2014
By Daniel Paul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book in preparation for my anticipated visit to Israel. I was richly rewarded by a very detailed history of Israel that told me the story behind many of the headlines I had some familiarity with and about much that I had no familiarity with. The book enhanced my understanding of a very complex nation. Professor Sachar quotes Theodore Herzel the father of Zionism in the beginning of the book. He cites a portion of Herzel’s book: The Jewish States.

“Jew-hatred was an ineluctable fact of life; it would not be wished away. Indeed, the Jewish question was neither social nor religious. It is a national question, and in order to solve it we must, before everything else, transform it into a political world question, to be answered in the council of civilized peoples.

We are a people-one people. We have sincerely tried everywhere to merge with national communities in which we live, seeking only to preserve the faith of our fathers. It is not permitted us. Only one solution remained. It was an exodus, a gathering together of the Jews from their worldwide dispersion into a land of their own. Political principle will provide the basis, technology the means, and the driving force will be the Jewish tragedy.”

Herzel published his book in 1896 and proved to be prescient in his vision. Europe became a death trap for Jews 40 years later. Palestine and later Israel became a life saving refuge for millions of Jews throughout the world. Professor Sachar’s book is a story of this miracle.

Professor Sachar goes into great detail about the difficulties involved in this achievement and the forces that opposed the creation and existence of Israel. Antipathy from the Arabs and countries that were hostile to the existence of the state because it might jeopardize the free flow of Arab oil. There were also conflicts within Israel: between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews; between religious and secular; between doves and hawks in dealing with the Arabs both within Israel and in the occupied territories.

It’s a long book; 1300 pages. However, because it is so well written it is a real page turner.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed, Slow 5 July 2015
By Mark on Amazon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an extremely detailed history of Israel. To someone who is not really trying to learn about a specific period or incident, the detail is a bit much. Also, the author tends to belabor his points. I spend a lot of time thinking, "Okay, I get it, next point, please." So, expect slow going, but much more detail than is provided in most other sources on the history of modern Israel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough history 10 Mar. 2016
By B. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very thorough history of Zionism and the history of Israel. I found the first half of the book more interesting, perhaps because I was already familiar with the later history of the State of Israel. Well written, very lengthy and detailed.
5.0 out of 5 stars It does a great job covering all the big topics 27 July 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this book is a fairly long read, it is by no means difficult to get through it. The writing is clear and concise. I am currently an undergraduate studying the Middle East, and this is the first book I got regarding the history of Israel-Palestine. It does a great job covering all the big topics, like the wars of '48, '67, '73, and even the Lebanese campaigns.

Highly recommended!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great help in interpreting current news stories 6 Jan. 2016
By 97beyond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In covering the history of Isreal, Sachar also must provide a high-level overview a fair portion of middle-east history. Because of this his book provides a framework from which to interpret current news events, news stories and opinion pieces. This is a truly comprehensive work and a very valuable read for people (like me) who are in their 30's and so were not around for many of the formative middle-eastern events in the 60's and 70's.
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