Kirkus Reviews QR Code
EXODUS by Leon Uris


by Leon Uris

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1958
ISBN: 0553258478
Publisher: Doubleday

Nothing less than the history of European Jewry from the end of the last century to the establishment of the state of Israel is the subject of this big novel. The story opens of Cyrpus right after World War II when the British, having declared immigration to Palestine illegal, are interning Jewish DPs in detention camps. Kitty Fremont, an American nurse who has plunged herself into rehabilitation work with war orphans to forget the deaths of her husband and small daughter, and Ari Ben Canaan, a Palestinian agent of the illegal immigration organization, are the two main characters. Ari pulls off his scheme to force the English to let a boatload of children sail for Palestine and Kitty (no lover of the Jews) goes along to be with Karen, a German girl who reminds her of her dead child. Karen loves Dov, a hero of the Warsaw ghetto and a concentration camp graduate. In flashbacks the backgrounds of the children are told as is a brief history of the Polish and German Jews. The reader also learns Ari's story which is primarily the history of his father who, forced to leave Russia, walked to Palestine and in due time established himself as a leader of his people. The love stories of Dov and Karen, Kitty and Ari move against the background of recent years in Israel and there is hardly anything in the way of geography, history, sociology and economics that is left out. The death of Karen by an Arab patrol brings Ari and Kitty together and the book ends on a hopeful note. For all of his lack of the basic literary skills Uris, writing from a hotly partisan viewpoint, has succeeded in welding his material into an effective and dramatic novel that should certainly reach the audience it is aimed at—and probably more besides.