Born a Russian, raised an American, Israeli by choice, Golda Meir is exactly what her friend and biographer has called her in the sub-title; and that cause of hers is nothing less than the future of Israel. As that country's Foreign Minister and chief delegate to the U.N., she is certainly the most successful woman of obscure birth in all of modern politics, as well as the only American Jew--let alone female-- to hold a prominent office in Israel's government. How she got there is a story of tremendous personal energy, ambition, and dedication. It is also the story of the making of her nation, from the grueling pioneer days of the 1920's, through the horror of World War II and the painful struggles to obtain and preserve independence, up to the present. And it is a tale of personal privation, conflict, sacrifice. Conventional family life could not be reconciled with public commitment and had to go. No one can help admiring this woman, but no one would want to have been her husband or child, either. This is the ""'authorized"" biography, and Miss Syrkin makes no pretense of objectivity. Yet her admiration is too frank to cloy, and her portrait deserves to be called honest as well as skillful.