by Martin Gilbert

Many books have been written about the history of Zionism and the creation and existence of Israel. Sir Bernard Zissman, a British Jew, has written one of the most readable: a book of charm, wit and wisdom. Taking as his method a series of imaginary meetings and conversations with Theodor Herzl, the champions of political Zionism, Zissman reveals many facets of the long Zionist struggle, and brings us into the present day with considerable skill. Readers who know little, and those who know a great deal, will learn from these pages.

One of the most successful devises in this book is the authors travels and conversations with Herzl after Herzl’s death in 1904. Zissman takes the Zionist leader into the troubles and triumphs of Zionism before and during the First World War, between the two world wars, and in the years leading up to, and beyond the creation of Israel.

This book is an antidote for today’s pessimism, and at times demonisation, about Israel. It is a tonic for those who doubt the validity of Zionism today. Just as the author seeks to persuade Herzl that he – Herzl _ was not a failure, and that the vision of Zionism did not dissolve, so the reader will come away with a sense of the continuing hopes, opportunities and prospects for a Middle East in prosperity and peace, with a strong, independent, creative Israel at its centre.
Sir Martin Gilberts’s most recent books are CHURCHILL AND THE JEWS ( 2006 ), ISRAEL A HISTORY ( updated edition, 2008 ) and THE STORY OF ISRAEL ( 2008 )