GOLDA: The Story of Israel's Prime Minister by Peggy Mann

GOLDA: The Story of Israel's Prime Minister

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In order of appearance, heart-tugs, heroics and polemical history -- but this first juvenile on Israel's unretiring grandmother is not to be dismissed; it might, however, be dropped by some girls when national problems supersede Golda's. At four, a pogrom had threatened, at five, Cossacks had charged and there was no pay for Papa's fine carpentry because ""Mabovitch is a Jewish name"": Zionism was in the air but America was here, now. Milwaukee meant Mama's grocery store and free, even compulsory school -- and conflict between the two. At fourteen, Golda, an outstanding student, stole away to sister Shana's in Denver to continue school and there met sensitive, musical Morris Meyerson. She was drawn to Zionism and would soon be speaking on streetcorners; he was antipathetic; they loved each other. Characteristically, Golda had steeled herself to go to Palestine without him when Morris relented -- but marriage and emigration simply recast their differences. 'I only came here to be with Golda and she was never home,' he was to say years later (an improvement on the author's reiterated ""introvert""-""extrovert""). Her capability recognized, the Jewish need critical, she was offered, and accepted, increasingly responsible positions which entailed leaving her two children frequently also; anonymously, she wrote of ""this double pull, this alternating feeling of unfulfilled duty"" as ""the burden of the working mother."" Then, with Hitler's rise, the problem of rescuing his victims becomes foremost: the Western nations are graphically indicted for their evasions and, in the case of Britain, the 1939 White Paper that, to placate the Arabs, reneged on the promise of a Jewish homeland. It must be said, too, that the author marshals an array of particulars in her running indictment of the Arabs and, separately, the ""refugee"" Palestinians. The rest is history to the present; but the best is her post-independence ministry to Moscow when, mobbed by Russian Jews long persecuted, later isolated, she choked out, in Yiddish, ""Thanks that you have remained Jews."" With its flaws, a substantial book, and the reality sometimes gets the better of the rhetoric.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Coward-McCann