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The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism (Englisch) Taschenbuch – November 1986

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Taschenbuch, November 1986
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In this historical analysis of Zionism and the state of Israel, a former diplomat writes sympathetically of the Jews' fierce resistance under siege to secure their nation, their heritage, and their future.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 17 Rezensionen
30 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
great book on the history of Israel 28. Dezember 1998
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
So how did Conor Cruise O'Brien, a born-and-bred Irishman, come to be writing a history of Israel? As he tells it, the United Nations used to seat its delegates alphabetically: and so he, representing Ireland, found himself sitting right between Israel and Iraq. This began his interest in the history of Israel, and his research eventually produced this fantastic book -- well-written, well-researched, and a pleasure to read. The subject matter itself is pretty interesting, and O'Brien has so many great turns-of-phrase that I found myself underlining as I went along. This book is highly recommended to anyone who wants to find out more about how Israel came to be.
35 von 38 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Essential Jewish History 16. März 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
If you only read one book to understand modern Israeli history, this one is it! O'Brien is fair and detailed, and a wonderful storyteller. The book tells the story of modern Israel with religious context but is primarily concerned with the individuals and state actors involved in the epic struggle to create the Jewish state. I read the book twice, partly because it was one of the primary texts for an Arab-Israeli relations class I took in graduate school, and because it was so good. This book provides the necessary details and history to allow a deep understanding of modern day Israel and place the ongoing conflict in the Middle East within historical context.
55 von 63 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
From an unexpected corner. 6. März 2000
Von sid1gen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
One of the best books on Israel and Zionism, this volume by Irish author Conor Cruise O'Brien deals with a poisonous subject in an intelligent manner, without avoiding taking sides, but attempting, and mostly succeeding, to understand all sides. Make no mistake, this is a pro-Israel book, and that is what I like about it. It manages to favor the Israelis in their struggle, but the author is an Irishman, so, at least, we won't have to listen to those who accuse anyone that takes a pro-Israel stance of being a Zionist. O'Brien does not see the Arabs with much benevolence, but it is difficult to blame him, given his knowledge of both Israelis and Arabs. His argument is plain from the title: the State of Israel has been subjected to a "siege" ever since its founding day, and, actually, the siege has been in operation from before. To the argument, so many times repeated that some people give it the quality of gospel, that before the creation of the modern State of Israel Arabs and Jews lived in harmony and Arabs didn't resent or hate their Jewish neighbors, O'Brien answers, through argument and solid foundations, that the resentment and hatred were there before World War I, and found expression in some of the most violent outbursts of mob action against the Jews ever seen. Of course not every one hated every one else, but the very powerful seed of dislike of the stranger, the dhimmi (second class subject in a Moslem land, always a non-Muslim, and increasingly a Jew, since Christians had powerful patrons in the nations of Europe) were already there, and so was their bitter fruit. Those who do not like Jews will skip this book, since the author manages to be non-Jewish but very much pro-Israel. However, those who want to know about the conflict, but do not want to read what they fear might be "propaganda" from either side, will find much of value in "The Siege." It has a clear slant, but that does not invalidate its information and the conclusions of the author.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A brilliant analysis of the history of Israel 30. November 2004
Von Amore Roberto - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
It is unfortunate that a book like this is no more available on print.

It is probably the best history of Israel I have read until now.

There are many ways in which you can write history: a factual and maybe emotionally charged description of events (Martin Gilbert), a militant history (Furio Colombo, Fiamma Nierenstein), a somewhat limited critical analysis of previous studies (sometimes presented under the name of revisionism - like - for Israel - the one of Zeev Sternhell).

This kind of history is different: it is mainly focused on the analysis of forces, equilibriums and strategies, some working some not, with an eminently diplomatic approach.

Because of the approach, attention is mainly focused on three arguments: the signals given by the parties involved, their ability to "read" the situation and the correct feedback.

Almost an essay on the so called logic of failure.

But the analysis can command a very special viewpoint, since it is restricted to the so called "Siege situation" in which options are limited, pressures strong and forces easily identifiable.

The result is a truly balanced appraisal of the history of Israel, that is not hiding anything but trying to present the many facets of the so called Siege, which the new nation has been forced to cope with.

So like in a real siege we are presented with the many parties: besieged, besiegers, friends and foes, and with the peculiar psychological and social consequences.

O'Brien is not using the siege theme as a way to blame one or the other party: the main concern is to assess the forces that are at work and to get rid of all rhetorical and unnecessary (pseudo-moral) over-structure. We're not presented with the heroic efforts of the Second and Third Aliah (truly heroic from my point of view) and nether with the blooming of desert by kibbutzim or larger than life portraits of Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan and Golda Meyr.

Far from this.

The best part of the book is no doubt the one dedicated to the Yom Kippur war: here O'Brien is at his best showing his consummate ability in unveiling the many forces at work and presenting a different but strongly built theory about how conflict was produced, a theory according to which both the Israeli and Egyptians were "played" by the machiavellian strategy of Kissinger in an unnecessary conflict.

One reason to read this book is obviously an interest for the history of Israel.

An other (at least for me), is the appreciation for the works and ideas of the author.

By O'Brien I had had the chance to read "The Long Affair - Thomas Jefferson and The French Revolution", a book in which, while not always agreeing with conclusions, I truly appreciated this method: not plain history, not pamphlet... but a carefully and detailed research (both in that and this book, it is amazing the amount of material and documents that have been taken into account), the constant analysis of options at hand (not just what happened but what could have happened if...) supported not by wishful thinking but by hard data - and not least appealing a certain tendency of the author to test his argument almost taking it to extreme consequences (in a sheer Popperian attitude).
17 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
One of the best accounts of this subject I have ever read!! 10. Oktober 2002
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I loved this extremely easy (albeit long) to read book.
I marvel at O'brien's skill as a writer, researcher and author.
To me it read as a fascinating adventure story and was extremely meaningful. I wish it were still in print.
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