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Israel: A History Paperback – 1 Oct 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New edition edition (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552995452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552995450
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,179,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Rich in detail...a grand, heroic narrative.', The Times Literary Supplement .'Martin Gilbert has left us in his debt, not only for a superlative history of Israel, but also for a restatement of the classic vision of Zion, in which a Middle East without guns is not a bedtime story but an imperative long overdue. This is the vision for which Yitzhak Rabin gave his life. This book is tribute to his memory.', Jonathan Sacks, The Times .'Not just an invaluable piece of historical research, it is also a joy to read...Required reading for anyone who wants to understand that most extraordinary and perplexing country.', Jewish Chronicle .'The most comprehensive account of Israeli history yet published.', Efraim Karsh, Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

The story of Israel, past and present, by one of Britain’s bestselling historians and the ultimate authority on the Jewish nation.

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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Drawing on his vast experience of this subject Sir Martin Gilbert has documented a superlative history of Israel which is extremely thorough and accurate.
This study surveys in some detail the first 50 years of Israel's history following the nation's re-birth in 1948. The book also tells of the involvement of the nation's pioneers and founders extending back into the latter half of the nineteenth century, together with many stories pertaining to the individuals who contributed to the re-birth of the Jewish state and to it's very survival during the ensuing conflicts.
The book begins with a chapter entitled "Ideals For Statehood" and describes how, since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70AD, Jews dispersed throughout the World have prayed for a return to Zion. "Next Year in Jerusalem" being the hope expressed at the end of every Passover meal. Later in the book the incredible hostility towards such Zionism is addressed.
The book initially describes the "considerable Jewish activity in Palestine" as the nineteenth century came to an end and extends to the Balfour Declaration and the work towards a Jewish homeland in Palestine that the latter promised. Unfortunately the book lacks any appropriate or real attention to the creation of the state of Transjordan in 1922 and how this affected the eventual rebirth of Israel. An issue where Britain detached 78% of the original area of Mandate Palestine to create another Arab entity in order to satisfy Arab aspirations for independence. This area east of the Jordan was thereafter called Trans-Jordan, and remained legally part of the British Mandate until 1946, when it was declared an independent Arab state, renamed Jordan in 1953.
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This book gives a comprehensive history of Palestine from the late 1800's up to 2008. The focus is on the State of Israel and the history and background helps to give a better understanding of the conflict in the Middle East. The reader can make up their own mind as to the rights and wrongs in the region, but at least after reading this book they will have some factual details upon which to base their assessment.
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Highly readable account of the formation and history of the modern Israeli state. Unlike a lot of history books, I never felt bored or the desire to skip over any parts. The first hand accounts are very well chosen. Great insights into the thinking of the founders of the new Israeli nation. I can't think of anything I can fault with it.
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Format: Paperback
Martin Gilberts book on Israel was my first real reading material on the complex situation in the Middle East and its main player. I found his writing style to be very easy to read and as a result finished off the book quite quickly. He tells the story of Israel with evident passion and also I think a balanced view which is of great importance for such a subject.
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Format: Paperback
As some of the other reviewers have pointed out,this is unsatisying as history.Gilbert is generally pro-Zionist(nothing wrong with that,he does not pretend to be otherwise)but so much of the book is reduced to a chronology,not a history.
The lack of feetnotes and references is a bit glaring too.He shines in the chapters about the Yom Kippur war in 1973,when he happened to be visting Israel and interweaves his own experiences with the more general history.These chapters are,it must be said,the exception to most of the rest of the book.Gilbert has written much better histories than this.
If you want a much better pro-Zionist history,try "A History of Israel" by Howard Zachar.I wouldn't recommend Gilbert's "Israel" to somebody new to either Israeli or Middle east history.
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Martin Gilbert is a gifted author and this book is well worth reading. Like his other books its takes some commitment to read it through. Not because it is badly written, academic or "dense" but it offers a good, sound and solid foundation for understanding the history and present situation in Israel
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Format: Paperback
This is a big book - in more senses than one - but it is extremely readable (note: the author is Churchill's official biographer). Starting with the efforts of the early Zionists in the 1860s and ending with the Peace Process of the 1990s, Gilbert gives an extremely thorough and balanced history of Israel and her struggle to come to terms with her neighbours. This must remain the definitive study for the foreseeable future.
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Format: Paperback
Martin Gilbert's history of Israel is a great achievement and is a fascinating read. It is hard to put this heavy tome aside because despite its length, it is so well written that you hardly ever want to stop reading on. The new editon covers the period of the last ten years up to 2007, but perhaps even more revealing is the detailed account Gilbert gives of the first three decades of the modern State of Israel's existence, and the years prior to it when Zionists successfully reclaimed the homeland of their ancestors. While obviously written with a certain degree of sympathy for his subject, Gilbert always remains a fair and balanced chronicler who never spares with criticism of human rights abuses or errors of judgment when he deems it appropriate.

Most aspects of the current conflicts and debates that rage in (and around) the Middle East are difficult to grasp without knowledge of the facts - as opposed to the myths - of the past six or seven decades. Gilbert's book is authoritative and well-informed. It is a masterpiece of contemporary history writing.
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