GOLDA: The Uncrowned Queen of Israel by Robert Slater

GOLDA: The Uncrowned Queen of Israel

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A pictorial biography glorifying Golda Meir (not only ""the uncrowned queen of Israel,"" but also ""like a queen to the Africans,"" we're told, ""during her days as foreign minister"")--which along the way drops some bombshells that have already been spotted in the press. The book opens with an account of ""Golda's"" funeral, accompanied by six group photos of the world-famous mourners, and never loses the tone of a memorial tribute: for the story of Meir's rebellious social-Zionist adolescence in Milwaukee, her years as a dedicated kibbutznik, her troubled marriage to non-Zionist, kibbutz-hating Morris Meyerson, even her initiation into Palestinian public life (and through her post-Independence service as minister to Russia), a reader is better served by Peggy Mann's 1971 teenage bio. Much of the rest of this is Israeli history as made by Golda-the-woman-achiever and selfless patriot. (""'One's duty is one's duty,' she often said."") Then comes a shocker: Meir had a ""mongoloid"" granddaughter whose existence she refused to acknowledge--a sad, unsavory story (the girl, now 25, is aware of her rejection) which won't, however, disconcert those aware that Foreign Minster and PM Meir wasn't made of milk-and-honey. (It's titled, here, ""Golda's Albatross."") The major public disclosures concern: 1) an indecisive series of ten meetings with Jordan's King Hussein from 1970 to 1974 to address territorial problems (which, since various meetings have long been rumored, may well have occurred); and 2) Moshe Dayan's alleged readiness to ""surrender"" during the Yom Kippur War, which he has categorically denied. The book, however, is not to be taken as anything but a catchall paean to an imposing personage with whom Slater never comes to grips: on her deathbed in 1978, we learn, Meir was planning a press conference to prove that ""Begin was taking too much credit for a peace process that had begun in her time."" Slater has given her point of view an airing, at any rate--and provided her admirers with photos of Golda on every conceivable occasion.

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1981
Publisher: Jonathan David