Israel is a small and relatively young country, but since the day of its creation sixty years ago, its turbulent history has placed it at the centre of the world stage. In this new edition of Israel: A History—revised and including two new chapters to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the state's creation—Sir Martin Gilbert traces Israel's history from the struggles of its pioneers in the nineteenth century to the present day. Along the way, he describes the defining moments in the history of the Jewish people, among them the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the United Nations Partition Resolution of 1947, and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.
The desire for statehood long preceded the declaration of the State; for two millennia the Jews, dispersed all over the world, prayed for a return to Zion. The prayer “Next Year in Jerusalem” seemed a fantasy, until Theodor Herzl, in the last decade of the nineteenth century, transformed Zionism into a modern political movement. Soon the earlier trickle of Jewish immigrants turned into a flood as Jews sought fulfillment of their national aspirations or fled persecution in Europe.
The declaration of Statehood in May 1948 and the War of Independence were only the beginning of the drama. Israel's subsequent development was dominated by the conflicts of Suez, the Six Day War, the October War, the Lebanon War, and the Intifada, as well as by diplomatic watersheds—from the early armistice agreements to the Camp David negotiations, the Madrid conference, and the Oslo peace process. Guiding us through the events that have shaped modern-day Israel, Gilbert examines not only Israel's political history and personalities from Ben-Gurion to Rabin, Peres, and Netanyahu, but also its society, culture, and economy.
Basing his narrative on a wealth of contemporary documents and eyewitness accounts, as well as on his own intimate knowledge of the country, Martin Gilbert provides a riveting and moving account of the history of Israel. Israel: A History will be essential reading on the nation's sixtieth anniversary.
Praise for, Israel: A History:
?Gilbert's impassioned history adds immeasurably to our understanding of the forces that have shaped contemporary Israel. Digging up a wealth of primary source material and quoting liberally from letters, memoirs, eyewitness accounts, interviews, memoranda and diaries of David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Abba Eban, Shimon Peres, Teddy Kollek and dozens of ordinary people, the eminent British historian (The Holocaust) has produced a gripping epic. Gilbert's extensive behind-the-scenes and on-the-battlefield coverage of Israel's numerous wars with its Arab neighbors adds much new detail. While the narrative focuses predominantly on politics, high-level diplomacy and war, it also illuminates other topics, including the Jewish settlement of Palestine in the early years of this century, tensions between secularists and Orthodox Jews, Israeli military intelligence operations, the current impasse in negotiations with Palestinian Arabs and the ferment of Israeli society, which Gilbert portrays as a diverse mixture of immigrant peoples that embody many different strands of Judaism yet are united by Israeli culture.” “Publishers Weekly
About the authors
MARTIN GILBERT is the author of more than seventy books and a leading historian of the modern world.
Gilbert was born in London in 1936. He was sent to Canada at the age of three-and-a-half in an effort to escape the war, but returned home soon thereafter. He graduated from Oxford in 1960 and wrote his first book, called The Appeasers. In 1961, after a year of research and writing, Gilbert was asked to join a team of researchers working for Winston Churchill. At the age of 25, he was formally inducted into the team, doing all of his own research. Gilbert became known as Churchill’s official biographer and has remained so ever since. He is a fellow of Merton College at Oxford and has written numerous books—some on Churchill, such as his multivolume treatise called Churchill, some on the Holocaust (Surviving the Holocaust), and some on the war itself (The Second World War). He continues to write on the struggles of Jews during the war and the histories of this world, from culture to culture.
In 1995 he was knighted “for services to British history and international relations” and in 1999 he was awarded a Doctorate of Literature by the University of Oxford for the totality of his published work. He now divides his time between London, Ontario, and London, England.