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Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The definitive biography of Golda Meir: the iron-willed leader, chain-smoking political operative, and tea-and-cake-serving grandmother who became the fourth prime minister of Israel and one of the most notable women of our time.
Golda Meir was a world figure unlike any other. Born in czarist Russia in 1898, she immigrated to America in 1906 and grew up in Milwaukee, where fro
Hardcover, 864 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Schocke
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Start your review of Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel
In 1975 I read “My Life” by Golda Meir. To date Francine Klagsbrun has written the most definitive biography of Golda Meir. The book arrives at a propitious time in history. It has been seventy years since Israel became an independent state. Hostility with the Arab world is increasing as is worldwide anti-Semitism. Forty years after her death Golda is still universally known as the most important Jewish woman of the 20th century.

I found it interesting that Klagsbrun pointed out that
Clara Roberts
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This 824 page book was densely written but was well worth the read. The history of modern Israel is told from the point of view of Golda Meir. Her personal morality left much to be desired (abortion, treatment of husband and family, and multiple affairs). When the Jews and Israel needed her she was a tower of strength never wavering in doing everything she could do to help the Jews and Israel. She gave herself totally to whatever job she had. At various times she headed the ministry of Labor, Fo ...more
John Imhof
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating subject matter. I would have given it 5 stars, but the details often overwhelmed the story. For someone who wants to know how each particular player reacted to every crises in the Israeli state's history this is the book for you. I, on the our hand, would have preferred less minutia and a stronger focus on the key players. All in all still a worthy book.
Guylaine Bolduc
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a most insightful biography on Israel, the community and its' politics at a beginning for a small but important nation. Although I have not read any other books on Israel, I found it delightful and most informative on Golda Meir's life, personality and outlook on her people and her child nation. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Well written and not too biais. Author does not embark on suppositions but sticks to facts mostly (except for all the supposed lovers) in light of Golda's personality an ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the best biographies I ever read. Hated to put it down each night to go to bed. If you want the story of a strong woman, this is it.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very thorough and, of course, one-sided account of the founding of Israel and one of its most charismatic leaders. She was a powerful voice for her people when they needed it most.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hyper-detailed yet profoundly compelling portrait not only of Golda Meir as a woman and a political leader but of the nation she helped birth...
A remarkable achievement by Francine Klagsbrun, this bio should join the cannon of must-reads for those interested in all-things Israel: in pre-1948 Palestine; the inside baseball of Israeli politics from 1948 through the 1970s; Influx of Jewish refugees into Israel post-Holocaust, and from the Soviet Union; and all things Meir-related: her journey
This very long book chronicles the entire life of Golda Meir, offering a balanced view of her triumphs, challenges, and flaws in her personal, political and public lives. TMI is both a strength and weakness if the book.
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Surprisingly dull; some untruths and propaganda but the main issue was the writing just wasn’t compelling.
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book in preparation for our trip to Israel to better understand the history of this country. Her rise to power was impressive and her fierce commitment to the Jews having their own country was unwavering. She commanded a great deal of respect during a time when women were still not recognized as leaders. She was often called the "iron lady" and her lover/friend David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government". She was tireless in her fund raising efforts and raised ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Lioness; Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, by Francine Klagsbrun, is surely the definitive work on Golda Meir, one of the founders of the modern nation of Israel. The body of the book, not including notes, is almost 700 pages, so it is not something you expect to read in a few sittings.
Nevertheless, though I skimmed some sections of it, I found everything I read fascinating. Born in Ukraine in 1898, Golda immigrated as a young child with her family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
She i
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
fascinating, strong woman. would have been interesting to know more salacious details of her many male "friends" but probably difficult to secure source material.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enlightening, if sometimes dull, profile of her rise from committee work and local activism to prime minister. author gives context to some of the more well-known Golda quotes -- such as her assessment if the Israeli Jewish Black Panthers. ["they are not nice boys"] I've read more engaging accounts of the Yom Kippur war but this biography is worth reading.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very thorough look at the life of Israel's first female prime minister. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that the book comes up a bit short on Golda's personal life, concentrating more on the political aspects of her life and career. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating portrait of a woman who cracked the political glass ceiling decades ago.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My understanding of both Golda Meir and the State of Israel has been greatly enhanced by this perceptive and compelling biography...beautifully written,insightful,sympathetic but hardly uncritical,I absolutely loved this wonderful book...
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant account of Golda Meir 's life and history. Learned so much in the context of current Israeli political arena. Slower start but that sets the stage for what was valued by Golda and the reason for her success. Highly recommend this biography.
Adrienne Michelson
It was a biography written as a novel, it assumed nothing of the reader and delved into an emerging world of an important figure.
Cario Lam
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book hence the five star rating. It actually two books in one, the story of a remarkable woman Golda Meir and second the birth of a nation.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Strong woman - help build Israel. Worth reading.
Neil Krasnoff
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish
As someone that is already sympathetic to Israel and proud of it's history, I would like to recommend this book to those like myself that agree with the basic premise of Zionism, as well as those that are not at all fond of the Jewish state. The Real Golda Meir, portrayed in this book, warts and all, was an inspiration to Jews around the world as she made the case for Israel and Zionism in her many roles within her political party and as a government minister and Premier of her young nation. She ...more
Leora Wenger
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at the life of Golda Meir, born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev, here are a few tidbits I enjoyed learning from the book:
Golda as a mother: no, she did not spend a lot of time with her children when they were little. But one did get that she was quite emotionally attached to them.
Golda as a successful woman: the author made it clear that Golda's success was in part because she related well to powerful men. She led woman's movements only at the very beginning of her career,
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a masterpiece of a biography on a truly amazing figure in history. It was objectively written, neither overtly gushing, nor vilifying of the often polarizing figure. It showed a brilliant woman in all her faults, failures, virtues and achievements. Often times long biographies can be intimidating, but this one flowed well enough to make it an easy read or listen. The audio version is excellently narrated by Jo Anna Perrin. Francine Klagsbrun thoroughly researched her subject using all t ...more
John Schachter
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This 700-page bio does a terrific job describing Golda Meir’s life from Russia to Wisconsin to Israel. The details are fascinating and portray Golda very positively but not without faults. The book clearly aims to resuscitate Gilda’s reputation, which has suffered in Israel since her death. It succeeds on that front with facts and the benefit of time. Golda was a deserving politician and leader — this book serves her and her memory well. The writing is clear and concise if not compelling. I reco ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This comprehensive and solid biography of Golda Meir reads truly well and Klagsbrun writes a detailed account of Golda's life and times, from Russia, to Canada, to the United States and finally to Israel. While a doorstop of a book, it does provide a wealth of detail that gives depth and color to Golda's life. A remarkable woman who lived through turbulent times with a reasonable amount of grace and good fortune. This fascinating woman is here and well described with her chain smoking, grandmoth ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
On page 691, Golda Meir stated that her purpose was ‘to struggle’ which exactly sums up my impression of her life - she struggled every day from childhood in Kiev, Russia through her years as Israel’s first female Prime Minister. Although very long and kind of a heavy read, I learned a lot about her and the lifecycle of the State of Israel that she was such a central part of.
Leon O'Flynn
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Would the nation of Israel be around today without Golda Meir? More than likely not. She was such a strong and focused person who had a vision of what life could be like for here people. I learnt a great deal about her, and some of the news events from my early childhood received a great deal of background and clarity.
Dj Simpson
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book itself could be organized better. Still a great story about an incredible woman.
Maryam Fallahi
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The sacrifices of the pioneers shall never be forgotten!!
Harriet Brown
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Lioness, Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel by Francine Klagsbrun is a great book about Gilda Meir and the history of Israel. I highly recommend this book.
Laila Kanon
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Highly recommended and will reread at some stage.

If you found yourself worthy to get your life story written for the world to read, go no further than Francine Klagsbrun. What you get is a well-researched and balanced narrative of your life. Caution: if you have skeletons in the closet, she'll find it and laid it all bare in the chronicle of your life as fact and nothing else and the readers to form their own judgement.
I have no prior opinion about Golda Meir, all I know she wa
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“everything,” recalled a woman who heard Golda at the Astor. “He said to me, ‘The only thing we have left, honey, is some paid life insurance policies. Do you want them now or when I’m gone?’ I said, ‘Of course, I’ll take them now.’ We got up and announced” 0 likes
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