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The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977

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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  10 reviews
"Remarkably insightful . . . A groundbreaking revision that deserves to reframe the entire debate . . . It soars."--The New York Times Book Review

In The Accidental Empire, Gershom Gorenberg examines the strange birth of the settler movement in the ten years following the Six-Day War and finds that it was as much the child of Labor Party socialism as of religious extremism.
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Paperback, 454 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by St. Martins Press-3PL
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Robin
Aug 31, 2007 rated it liked it
The first third is a bit awkward. It took a while for the writing to become something more than just a vehicle for the listing of events, motives, history, ect., that propelled the first settlements after the Six Days War into existence. It got better. I don't know what or who is worse the secular nationalist/socialist/Zionists or the religious fundamentalist/nationalist/Zionists, but be prepared to finish angry. ...more
Patrick Farrell
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: israel
I don't really know what to think of this book. It was interesting and painted a good picture of the origins of the settlement movement and why it wasn't stopped. Also it allows many parallels between the beginnings and what followed, specifically in the 21st century (which the author speaks to in the epilogue).

I have a couple of complaints that kept it from being a really good book though. One is that for a book that relies heavily on geography there is a dearth of maps (from my count there was
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Wayne
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Thorough, sobering, highly informative, and excellently written account of just how Israel let the settlement movement happen. Struck me as quite balanced.
Farrah
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. The best book about Israel that I have ever read.
Benjamin
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this book very good. Unlike other reviewers I have a grasp of Judea and Samaria geography so the lack of maps didn't bother me.
Sometimes the narrative was too contrived and dry, as if the author was merely narrating history and its actors, but other times it was as if he was shedding light in very unknown yet important parts of Israel history.
My main reason to read this book though, is my main criticism against it: I wanted to understand how life really is in settlement-cities like Maale
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Joeji
Feb 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Losers who forget about the settlements when talking about a "peace process"
Informative, but loses because there are no accompanying maps of Israel - Palestine or the Allon Plan, which is cited throughout. A good critical look at the beginning of the settlement movement, but a terribly misleading title, which makes me suspect that the author was afraid of what the reaction to his book might be. Follows individuals but doesn't give a good overall picture of the major settlements, and only spends a few paragraphs in the epilogue talking about the current manifestation of ...more
John
Jan 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: folks interested in the Middle East & willing to look at several sides
I got this because Amazon reccomended getting it with 1967. Good call Amazon. Interesting additional take on a very complex & troubling issue & gives a sort of follow on to what has happened since the '67 war. If you have already made up your mind about who is in the right & who is in the wrong in the Occupied Territories/Judea & Samaria, don't bother, but if you want to run the risk of actually LEARNING something, give it a try. ...more
Daniel Frank
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Religious devotion, pioneering kibbutzniks, security concerns, incompetence - as Gorenberg correctly points, make up the primary factors for the birth of the settlement craze.

I wish the book was less a point by point recap of history (often, not about the settlements even), and more describing the zeitgeist of the time.
John Lum
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this soon after it was published in 2007 and couldn't help but think of it in recent weeks. Not sure how one wins the struggle against "their" religious extremists by further empowering "our" religious extremists...seems a little more sensible to stand against all religious extremists! ...more
Jacqueline
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
A bit of a slog at times but mostly excellent.
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Gershom Gorenberg is a historian and journalist who has been covering Middle Eastern affairs for over 35 years.
His latest book, War of Shadows, began with a conversation in Jerusalem that set off years of searching through archives for long-secret documents, though attics for lost papers, through streets in Cairo, Rome, London - endless days and nights of seeing facts unravel and new ones take sha
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