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Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  27 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Say the word “Israel” today and it sparks images of walls and rockets and a bloody conflict without end. It wasn’t always so. For decades, the symbol of the Jewish State was the noble pioneer, in a blue work shirt and white sunhat, draining the swamps and making the deserts bloom: the legendary kibbutznik. That romantic picture — plus the exotic promise of sun, sand, and s ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published October 20th 2016 by ECW Press
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

It wasn't until publishing Kevin Haworth's 2012 essay collection Famous Drownings in Literary History that I learned for the first time about the Jewish institution known as the kibbutz, a concept that is part practical and part political; in reality not much more than a collectively owned farm in the styl
...more
Mar
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Leach lived on a Kibbutz for 8 months when he was a young man. When he sees the kibbutz listed on the stock market over 20 years later, he decides to go back and see what other changes have happened in Israel since he was away. He discovers that the kibbutz system as he knew it, and perhaps as many in the West still think about it no longer exists. To survive they have had to find a niche--are you green and off grid? Do you grow something specific the world wants/needs? Etc. People from the West ...more
Jen
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
You might think this is a topic you're not interested in, but Leach is a lively, often funny writer, and this is a fascinating, compelling read populated by larger than life characters.
Jan
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book on the meaning of the kibbutz: historically, in the 21st century, and to this gifted author personally.
Sheila Bronson
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the 20 years since the author was a volunteer on a kibbutz he goes back to not only revisit his old kibbutz but visits others to see how they have changed.
I enjoyed reading about his encounters with various leaders of the different kibbutz communities as well as his impressions of how these communities have changed with the times. The author gives us a good view of Israel as he travels from one end of the country to the other.



Rich Mccue
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed David Leach's "Chasing Utopia", which looks at the future of the Kibbutz, Israel, and Palestine, while interweaving engaging stories from the author's year long stay at a Kibbutz in northern Israel in the late 1980's. Entertaining and informative.
Sharon
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent book. Well written by a Gentile Canadian who volunteered on a kibbutz in his youth and returns to Israel decades later. He analyzes the past kibbutz movement and ends with the many diverse kibbutzim which exist today. Fascinating.
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Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enthralling travel memoir reveals the past, present and future of the Kibbutz movement.
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David Leach is an award-winning magazine editor, nonfiction author and writing teacher. He lived in Israel and the Czech Republic and is now the Chair of the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria. He has written about adventure travel, the arts, digital culture, and the communal movement for Canadian and international publications. His first book, Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifet ...more
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