For Israel's twenty-fifth birthday -- a large celebratory reconstruction of the events leading up to the proclamation of nationhood by David Ben-Gurion in the Tel Aviv Museum on May 14, 1948. The authors have amassed an emormous amount of material -- diplomatic, political, personal and anecdotal -- to recreate the drama of the turbulent events. Their story properly begins with the Balfour Declaration and the efforts of world Zionist organizations in the diaspora to force the British to honor their promise of a Jewish homeland. U.N. maneuvers leading up to the 1947 partition agreement and the last weeks of the British mandate are covered in full detail with special emphasis on the ambivalence of the Truman administration toward the creation of a Jewish state. British attempts to precipitate administrative chaos (the evacuation was aptly coded ""Operation Deluge"") by discontinuing railway service, burning government records and suspending mail and telegraph operations are recounted unforgivingly. On the other side, the preparations of the Haganah and the Israeli shadow government for the day of liberation -- and the Arab attack which everyone knew would come as soon as the last High Commissioner had departed -- are cast in heroic relief -- and indeed the transition to self-government was a superb feat of organization, discipline and willpower. The calm determination and good humor of the citizens in Jerusalem under Arab siege and in Tel Aviv which was under bombing attack were typical of the fortitude displayed -- even though food shortages forced many families to celebrate independence with a ""feast"" of bread, tea and a vitamin bonbon. Students of Israeli politics and society should not look for tough-minded analysis here. The tone of the book is one of jubilation -- a 2000-year dream come true accompanied by a ""thunderous roar of Mazel Tovs.