Reading Israel

Return to Zion Book Review by Laurie Unger Skinner

By Laurie Unger Skinner, Library Journal Review

It can often be difficult to understand how precarious Jewish life was in a world without a Jewish state. Focusing on the strong personalities involved in Israel's history, Gartman, a U.S. Department of Defense intelligence analyst, draws on many eyewitness accounts. He explains the drive for a Jewish homeland as a response to anti-Semitism in Europe in the late 1800s, followed by pogroms in Russia and Nazism in Europe in the early 1900s.

The book's quotations from Israeli leaders and citizens lend a fly-on-the-wall perspective to seminal events in Israeli history. Recently declassified U.S. documents contribute a dimension of military and political intrigue.

Modern Israel's evolution from an impoverished and under armed group of stateless war refugees to a technologically and culturally advanced nation unfolds; threats against Israel's existence change from being overwhelmed by large enemy armies on her borders to Iran's nuclear capabilities and the problematic relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Colin Shindler's A History of Modern Israel covers much the same time period but with more political detail.

VERDICT: readers interested in a concise history of Israel, especially those who believe in her right to exist, will appreciate this book.

Republished with permission.

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Tags: Aliyah, Books