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A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  20 reviews
First published in 1976, Howard M. Sachar’s A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time was regarded one of the most valuable works available detailing the history of this still relatively young country. More than 30 years later, readers can again be immersed in this monumental work. The second edition of this volume covers topics such as the first of the Ali ...more
Paperback, Updated 2nd Edition, 1184 pages
Published February 13th 1996 by Borzoi Books/Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (first published October 1976)
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Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is very difficult to accurately and comprehensively analyse this work.

The fact is that Sachar go's out of his way to be even-handed, which leads to a dilemma in itself.

The truth is that one cannot be objective in a conflict where it is clear to any fair-minded and honest observer who the agressors are and always have been: The Jews peacefully returned to their ancient land, and for nearly a century the Arabs have been trying to drive them into the sea.

There are times when I am uncomfortable w
Dec 25, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At one point in this sprawling history, Sachar suggests one root of the Arab/Israeli conflict is that early Zionist settlers in Palestine simply forgot to take serious notice of the Arabs already living on the land, and never reckoned with them until it was too late. This is an error Sachar is eager to repeat in his narrative history of the birth and troubled life of Israel. That flaw aside, "A History of Israel" is an indispensable primer on the history of the country from Herzl to the Second L ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is like asking someone for some water, and then having your house flooded. I tried to stick with this book, but it's so verbose and minutely detailed, that in the end one is unable to pull out, or care about, the important details. While I am confident that this is the definitive source on the subject, the text is barely readable. It's worthwhile as a reference book, little more. ...more
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Essential for anyone trying to form intelligent opinions about the Middle East, Israel, and our world today.
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who want to understand the Middle East conflict
Shelves: judaism
Not the easiest of reads, but a very thorough, clear, and fair treatment of the history of Israel.
Czarny Pies
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes good history
Recommended to Czarny by: Martin Gilbert
Shelves: asian-history
I am giving this book four stars because I do not know the subject well enough to be sure that the author's judgements are sound in all areas. I would not be surprised if in fact this book merited an additional star because it is indeed very impressive.

The strength of this book is its one weakness, it is extremely detailed and thus very long. For many readers who are only marginally interested in the topic, Sachar's work may in fact be too long. However, it is very rewarding for perseverant rea
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Incredibly comprehensive. At 1100 pages, it was quite a commitment.
Clayton Whisnant
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A huge book that is quite magnificent in terms of both its breadth and level of detail. It has some amazing early chapters on the birth of Zionism that goes much deeper than the usual list of pioneers, and then later chapters that cover both the domestic and international challenges that the Israeli state faced in the second half of the twentieth century. The book is fairly balanced in terms of its presentation, though it is written obviously from a point of view sympathetic with Israel but attu ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Left me with a much better idea of how the area ended up in its current state. A little too much detail within Israel and could have used a little more on international relationships (hard to understand why various countries were or were not selling Israel weapons at various times, for example). Chronology also a bit confusing, and really needs a language update in a few places.
The second edition of the book "A History of Israel" ends at Rabin's assassination (1995), but is otherwise one of the most comprehensive history books I have come across. I'm very pleased that I managed to finish it before going to visit Israel. For those who want a shorter read, I would suggest Daniel Gordis's "Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn." ...more
Greg Hickey
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thorough history of Israel over the course of the twentieth century that covers major historical events as well as the country's political system and cultural achievements. For the most part, the included maps are helpful, though I would have liked to see a few more detailing the changing borders during the early Zionist movement and the Oslo Accords. Sachar also repeatedly refers to Arabs as "backward," which could use some explanation, since it's not clear if this description is meant to be ...more
Adam Glantz
A gigantic account of the genesis of modern Zionism through the creation of Israel and ending in the 1990s. For the layman, it's a goldmine of information on the people and events that make up this turbulent locus of history. The author advances numerous theories as he moves forward (e.g., the push for statehood became inevitable because the great powers failed to address the problem of the DP camps), but I detect two overarching themes throughout. First, Zionism's leadership was capable and enl ...more
Dec 13, 2007 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I refuse to take the bits and pieces of information the news has to offer as my source of knowledge. What is the position of the Zionist people? What adversities have they suffered through and no matter what, does a religious group have the right to occupy land to establish their own country. This book won't answer all my questions but it will give me some of the foundation I need to help me find my own answers. ...more
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very comprehensive history of the Zionist movement. Hard to read because of the extensive detail and because it doesn't always follow events chronologically. Helped me validate my views about the Israeli-Palestinian situation. ...more
Samuel Wilbanks ugwumba
Jul 08, 2012 is currently reading it
This won't be an easy read-- 1k+ pages
Chriss W-t
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
You really need to be concentrated to read this +1K pages book. Get your papers and pencils ready for notes. You also will need to know a bit of the Zionism history before starting this book.
Hasan Cosalev
Oct 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Very nice archive...
Richard Kravitz
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an extremely readable history of Israel.
daniel dirnfeld
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Howard Morley Sachar was an American historian. He was Professor Emeritus of History and International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and the author of 16 books, as well as numerous articles in scholarly journals, on the subjects of Middle Eastern and Modern European history.

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