An erudite, astute synopsis of Israel's economic, social, and political upheavals from 1987 to 1993. Frankel, a Pulitzer Prize -- winning journalist who served as Jerusalem bureau chief for the Washington Post from 1986 to 1989, collected an impressive amount of material in the course of his reporting. He uses it to build a history of the tumultuous events that have challenged Israel in recent years: the intifada, the Persian Gulf War, the huge influx of Soviet Jews, the interactions of Knesset members, the confrontations between President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the Labor Party's defeat of the right-wing Likud Party in 1992, and the momentous Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Frankel's prevailing theme in his analysis of these events is that a younger, more progressive-minded citizenship is now shaping Israel's future. Gone, he says, are outdated, Socialist-Zionist attitudes; the new consumer-oriented, Westernized attractions are ""in."" Israelis feel, says Frankel, that for the first time since the 1948 establishment of the state, Israel is strong enough to create history -- as opposed to being defined by it -- and thus to make peace with its enemies. He writes that Israel is ""still cognizant of its tragic, heroic, bloodstained past, but it [is] more self-confident, pluralistic, open and bourgeois."" This belief is most effectively argued in the final chapters, which culminate in the pivotal resolution between Israel and the PLO. Displaying impeccable precision and clarity, Frankel delves deep into the mindsets and backgrounds of Israelis and Arabs -- VIPs and civilians alike -- to elucidate their often complex, emotion-filled decisions. He explains, for instance, why European-born Yitzhak Shamir was unable to move forward with peace while his Israeli-born successor, Yitzhak Rabin, was. Steeped in thoughtful commentary and deftly written with a reporter's eye for detail, this comprehensive history is a jewel.