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A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (Second Edition, Revised and Updated)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  18 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, 1184 pages
Published April 12th 1979 by Knopf (first published January 1st 1976)
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  223 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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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.
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.
Adam Glantz
-Though it had earlier antecedents, modern Zionism arose from the antisemitic reaction following Russian Czar Alexander II's assassination, which frustrated the aspirations of assimilationist Jewish liberals. Living in a dense and traditional Jewish milieu, Eastern Jews sought a Jewish cultural transformation that was absent from the Zionism of Western Jewries, who remained liberal and assimilationist. This came to a head in the dispute between Chaim Weizmann and Louis Brandeis; in some ways, th ...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."
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.
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.
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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Feb 06, 2016
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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.