In 1917, when the British government declared that it "favored the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people, " it provoked an exodus to the nation of Israel - an exodus that has proven unstoppable. Dawn of the Promised Land chronicles the ensuing years - stretching into decades - when hundreds of thousands of Jews streamed into the promised land. Both intellectuals and illiterates, Easterners and Europeans, these pilgrims left behind friends, families, and established lives. Representing every class and nationality, they were at heart united by their idealism and, as the Second World War loomed closer, by the belief that their efforts alone would liberate Jews from the horror of Nazi persecution. Including the personal experiences of some of Israel's greatest figures - among them Shimon Peres, David Ben-Gurion, and Yitzhak Rabin - Dawn of the Promised Land weaves the voices of pioneers together with historic details of Israel under British rule, the eventual capitulation of the royal crown, and the drafting of the constitution.
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The most valuable aspect of Canadian journalist Wicks's book about the founding of the Jewish state is the first-person accounts of what it was like to emigrate to mandate Palestine. Wicks's interviewees tell in uninterrupted monologues their experiences of travel by ship or over land, the work they did when they arrived, their living conditions, and how they participated in the nascent army. These tales of triumph over adversity are spliced into a disjointed narrative of international and Zionist politics. Neither new information nor a fresh perspective is added to this history, which Wicks introduces with the 1917 Balfour declaration and concludes with the 1948 war, and which includes the illegal immigration movement and the development of the Jewish Defense Force. Complicated truths are sacrificed throughout by the narrative need to tell a neat success story, for example, that the kibbutz "remains a major way of life in Israel to this day." Wicks subtly perpetuates a hierarchy in which German Jews were the most progressive population in the land and Sephardic Jews and Arabs could only benefit from their interventions. Arabs living close to Jews, for instance, "quickly realised that their lives need not remain rooted in past traditions." This is an unexamined and sentimental account of a story that has been told better in many other books. 8 pages b&w photos.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In his introduction, Wicks posits that his book "is the story of a people which through their incredible courage overcame obstacles that most of us would find insurmountable. In doing so, they carved out a home." Now, 50 years later, Wicks has compiled personal accounts of the first Israelis who chose to leave the lands of their birth and years of persecution to forge a homeland in what was then Palestine. He examines the period from the growth of the Zionist movement at the end of the nineteenth century to the founding of Israel in 1948. There are hundreds of poignant reminiscences, including those of a wealthy Jewish family from Odessa who left everything behind except what they could carry; those of an Italian couple without visas who entered Palestine illegally as tourists; and those of a family who was smuggled into Haifa by boat. Includes a foreword by Shimon Peres and eight pages of black-and-white photographs. George Cohen
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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, London, U.K., 1997. Cloth. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition/First Printing. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Hardback. Bookseller Inventory # 015166