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Raquela: A Woman of Israel

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A National Jewish Book Award–winning biography: A fascinating look at the early years of Israel’s statehood experienced through the life of a pioneering nurseDuring her extraordinary career, nurse Raquela Prywes was a witness to history. She delivered babies in a Holocaust refugee camp and on the Israeli frontier. She crossed minefields to aid injured soldiers in the 1948 ...more
Paperback, 478 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by Open Road Media (first published 1978)
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Jan Rice
Raquela is the biography of a woman born in Jerusalem close to the year of my mother's birth. My mother was born in Tennessee but comparing the dates is a way to make book time real. The author chose her as a subject because she was attractive and intelligent, a high achiever who became a nurse and midwife, had romances and friendships galore and showed bravery and fortitude not to mention heroism during her war-related adventures. But I think the author primarily chose her as a vehicle for the ...more
Ariella
Three stars, but overall a big disappointment. This book has a great premise- an interesting woman living at an incredible time in Israel's history. Unbelievably,though this story fails because the author does not manage to delve into her characters. They remain shallow, the conversations between them are cardboard-y and awkward and I was really disappointed.

The author herself is an accomplished journalist and she does manage to make the historical facts that she writes about exciting. (And the
...more
Susan

Here is my review on my book blog at http://bagelsbooksandschmooze.blogspo.... If you want to learn about pioneer nurses, and Palestine before it became Israel, and after, and want to learn about the history. You may want to pick up this book.

The writing is from a journalist view point. It is not sugary coated, simple and to the point. It is written by one of my favorite author's Ruth Gruber. She is a well known foreign correspondent. She took picture of Exodus, if you remember Paul Newman. She
...more
Casey
If it's possible to "inhale" a book then that's what happened here. I had to tear myself away from reading the story of this lady and her country. I didn't know that the British government locked up Israeli immigrants in what prison war camps until the end of 1948. I wasn't aware of the story of the Exodus 1947, Pan Crescent, or Pan York. Stories of substance involving brave men, women, and children living and dying for Israel. I was shocked. This is an extraordinary book and I wish I had been i ...more
Yael Weinstock mashbaum
This was an incredible story, inspiring, and a wonderful way to learn about history.
Karyl
A fascinating look at the birth of Israel through the eyes of a woman whose family goes back nine generations as residents of Jerusalem. It begins in 1929, when Palestine was still very much a backwater, and continues throughout its struggle for independence as the state of Israel. What I found most interesting is I'd always assumed that Israel had been allowed to form by most of the Western members of the UN; I had no idea that Britain was so very much opposed to it. It was shocking for me to f ...more
K
Not a book I would normally pick up, but Saadia bought this for me so I felt like I should at least give it a try. I'm surprisingly into it at this point, despite some strong flaws. Basically, this is a fictionalized historical biography (if that's a genre) of a woman who was born in Israel in the mid-'20s and served as a nurse and midwife during the Independence War and Israel's emergence as a country. The writing is a little weak -- Gruber tried to have this read like a novel, complete with di ...more
Anne
I almost gave up on this book. At first, I felt this book was disjointed and poorly written. I didn't think it was worth the effort. But I stuck with it because just as I started reading it, the turmoil in this region (Israel) was increasing. I thought I might understand today's bombings and unrest if I knew the history.
The story actually became cohesive and engaging as the writing itself (somehow) improved. By the end of the book I had a much better sense and appreciation of the history behind
...more
Katie
I love reading books about this period in Israel's history, but it's hard to find historical accounts that even pretend to address more than one side of such a contentious era of desperation and nationalism and volatile politics. This biography of Raquela Prywes is no exception, and while a lovely ode to a strong woman who believed in Israel, and although the author clearly has good intentions, Gruber alternates between vilifying and victimizing Arab residents by labeling them terrorists, witles ...more
Jane
The title character lived a rich and meaningful life during the days before, during, and after Israel's struggle for nationhood. As a nurse/midwife, she worked in the camps into which the British forced the thousands who hoped to make Israel their home after World War Two. Later, she worked with her husbands to create a strong medical community. Despite the serious historical topics Gruber covers, she brings Raquela to life as a warm, caring, sensitive woman whose desire to marry the right man i ...more
Ellen
Seems I read this book but more or less forgot that I read it.
I guess that deserves a 3--any better or worse and i would have remembered it more!
Donna
I appreciated learning about WWII from a new perspective.
Carol Catinari
Just started next month's Book Club selection. We've read The Ruth Gruber Story -- she's an amazing woman. We also saw a film about her accomplishments during the end of WWII, and was equally impressed by this woman. Now, we're reading her telling of the story of another accomplished woman, living in Israel pre-statehood.

3.5 would be my rating.... because of Raquela...she was a most interesting and admirable woman. . But the writing style is sorta flat. I didn't finish it, and wasn't compelled t
...more
Esther
I enjoyed this book for the history of Israel and the best parts were those set in the internment camps in Atlit and on Cyprus.
Unfortunately the writing was not good. The narrative was disjointed, the characters cliches and towards the end the pace was rushed.
Also there were some weird misuses of English that made me wonder if English was the author's mother-tongue.
This novel was worth reading for the historical aspects not for the story.
Christine
Ruth Gruber did her homework for this book, and it shows. This is the compelling biography of a ninth-generation Sabra named Raquela, who found herself in the thick of things as remarkable transitions were taking place in the life of her people. A friend handed a copy of the book to me, and I put off reading it for a several weeks, but once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.
Brenda Funk
Fascinating story, well told. The issues in the Middle East are very complex, and I found this telling to be very much from the side of the Jewish people of course, but still worth reading for sure to give you a better understanding of what the history and current situation is like in this part of the world.
Melissa Williams
A beautiful story of the resiliency of the Jewish people of Palestine and the birth of Israel at the end of WWII. This novel tells the story of a midwife's journey during these tumultuous years, bringing hundreds of new Israelites into the world. They need a new cover or photo.
Shana
This story of an incredible nurse, Raquela, set against the background of the birth of Israel, is a combination biography, love story, and historical novel. Reminded me of Leon Uris' Exodus, but all the more amazing because this story was true. I highly recommend it.
Tammy
I have read a lot of books on WWII and the holocaust prior to this book. It was very interesting to read beyond those years and learn how the Jewish people were reunited in their homeland. I never cease to be amazed at the resilience of the Jewish people.
Jen
Fascinating look into an Israeli woman's life. I learned so much about the history of Israel and the Jewish people that I hadn't known before. So interesting and well written.
Rachelle
A truly inspirational book that gives one a unique window into the real day-to-day lives of the people who built Israel into the amazing country it is today!
Karen
A true story about a nurse during Israel's war for independence. A lot of history told in an easy to read fiction novel and a good story.
Elizabeth
Interesting story around the birth of the state of Israel as well as some history of Hadassah Hospital and the school of nursing.
Chu
Very well written story of the birth of Israel centered around a woman almost as impressive as Golda Meir.
Mardi Niles
One of the most amazing books Ihave ever read. Will reread again. A must for read for everyone.
Denise DeRocher
Fantastic bio of a woman coming to age in Israel during Israel's coming of age.
Lisa Hoedt
A part of history I knew nothing about. Very inspirational.
Sarah Fried Strock
Excellent history of Israel's birth/independence and its people.
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Ruth Gruber is an award-winning Jewish American journalist, photographer, and humanitarian. Born in Brooklyn in 1911, she became the youngest PhD in the world and went on to author nineteen books, including the National Jewish Book Award–winning biography Raquela (1978). She also wrote several memoirs documenting her astonishing experiences, among them Ahead of Time (1991), Inside of Time (2002), ...more
More about Ruth Gruber...
Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America Ahead of Time: My Early Years as a Foreign Correspondent Witness: One of the Great Correspondents of the Twentieth Century Tells Her Story Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched a Nation

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