KC's Reviews > Exodus
by Leon Uris
by Leon Uris
May 27, 2008
This book is useful for learning the romantic Zionist version of events surrounding 1948, but contrary to several of the reviews here, it is NOT a reliable historical source or one I would recommend for those interested in seriously learning about the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Describing this book as an accurate historical account from which to draw important information about the conflict is akin to promoting Gone With the Wind as a complete guide to the American Civil War. Uris facilitates prejudice against Arabs in his work and perpetuates a number of myths now dispelled by state-released documents. True, there are historical facts, but the rendering in Exodus is only half the story, and a largely unrealistic half at that. I read this book before I knew very much about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the history of 1948 and its immediate preceding years. I enjoyed it a lot more before I learned about what really happened during the 1948 war--and then I was more disturbed by the book's negligence of even the most basic and formative facts. I certainly liked many parts of the story--I enjoyed the parts about the Hasidic Jews (the creation of this sect of Judaism interested me a lot), the pogroms, and the Jewish refugees in Cyprus. However, it is greatly disconcerting that Uris makes a point to say in the book that all of the Palestinians left of their own accord, a statement which only helps to perpetuate a very destructive myth surrounding this conflict, amongst MANY others evident in the book. Granted, he wrote it before Israel released several secret documents in the '80s from which today's accepted historical narrative has been drawn, and it IS a work of fiction, but works of fiction shouldn't gloss over uncomfortable historical facts, or attempt to justify or alleviate the injustice of the creation and dispossession of an entire refugee population. If you're looking for a romantic adventure story, then you will probably like it. However, if you are interested in a piece of work that seriously discusses the 1948 war I recommend Benny Morris' Righteous Victims and The Birth of the Refugee Problem Revisited as well as works by Shlomo Ben-Ami and James Gelvin just to name a few.
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