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Major Farran's Hat: Murder, Scandal, and Britain's War Against Jewish Terrorism, 1945-1948

3.08 of 5 stars 3.08  ·  rating details  ·  26 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The gripping true story of the murder, in Palestine in 1947, of a Jewish activist by a British counter-terrorist officer, and the subsequent cover-up.

In May 1947, a Jewish teenager, active in a Zionist underground group fighting British rule in Palestine, was abducted. He was never seen again. Witnesses said he was seized by British policeman. A hat found at the scene was
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by William Heinemann (first published January 1st 2009)
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Occasionally a work of history comes along that elucidates across interests and disciplines. David Cesarani’s “Major Farran’s Hat” is surely such a book, offering insights into areas ranging from the birth of Israel, the decline of the British Empire, and the history of modern counter insurgency. Indeed, I often found myself regretting that Cesarani wrote this after the US war in Iraq, as it might have served as a warning to not repeat a number of the British mistakes, which the American army di ...more
I really enjoyed David Cesarani's biography of Arthur Koestler, which was really insightful. Unfortunately, this book is less good, in part because it is pretty poorly written.

That said, it offers some interesting details about Jewish terrorism against the British at the end of the mandate and the soon-to-be founding of Israel. It also contains a good critique of counter-terrorism efforts and the schoolboy absurdity and gross brutality they offer produce.
This book is reminding me of facts I already knew. The Jews of Israel really were the first modern terrorists. It's amazing Britian, U.S. & the U.N. allowed them to terrorize their way to a state. The Palestinians have been less successful at that, but things are finally looking more positive in that direction. A very interesting book. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in history.
Ami Kopstein
Excellent historical narrative of irrational brutality by a British War Hero Officer against a Jewish teenager and the ensuing cover-up serving as the thread of the British incompetence that helped bring about the end of the British Mandate.
Unusually Fascinating for a historical work of non-fiction!
The book provides insights into the role and history of Jewish/Israeli terrorism in the formation of the modern state of Israel including striking British targets in England and Western Europe. In addition it covers the failed British attempts at counter terrorism as emphasized in one specific incident in which a piece of evidence yields the title of the book. It is interesting that other extremist groups to the current day have successfully adopted the techniques of terrorism that are described ...more
Oct 16, 2009 Kevin is currently reading it
My latest acquisition through interlibrary loan to the Denton Public Library. Its a story of jewish radicalism and conflict with empirial British rule in the waning days of Palestine after World War II, but before the beginning of the state of Israel.
Hard going at times, but I did learn more about Palestine, and how the Palestinian situation in the 1940s shaped British policy regarding 'special squads' throughout the declining empire in the 20th century.
Arthur Toporovsky
Very interesting. Uses the incident of the abduction and murder of a young Jewish boy to explore the British attempts to destroy the Jewish underground in the hopes of maintaining the mandate.
Interesting story but too much extraneous details in the book which bog it down.
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