Ronald Sanders defines ""the central paradox of the Jewish condition"" as ""a universalist sense of mission which refuses to be identified exclusively with a political state, combined with the particularism of a national identity in dispersion."" From this base of definition, he proceeds to the ways in which Jews have struggled to deal with this paradox. Part One covers the Herzl vision (""The Rise of Political Zionism in Western Europe"") and ""The Roots of Practical Zionism"" in Eastern Europe. Part Two deals with the background actuality, and consequences of the Palestine Mandate granted to England by the League of Nations. Part Three discusses the fissiparous character of Israeli socio-political life before and since 1948. Part Four contains a fascinating and romantic chapter on the rebirth of the Hebrew language and an accompanying literature, and another on religion in the tiny country from which two major religions have sprung. In compact prose Sanders handles his vast subject very thoroughly: Hasidism, Yiddishism, and many of the other ""isms"" of Jewish history, the Jewish Legion, the Hitler Holocaust, the conflicts between Jews and Arabs and Jews and other Jews, the problems of the kibbutzim, the division of Jerusalem, and the future of religion and politics are only a few of the topics he explores in intimate detail. The author was part of a digging expedition that uncovered fragments of the ancient rock fortress at Masada, near the Dead Sea, which has become ""a kind of secular national shrine."" He has dug deeply into his material for this book, too, and the result is worthy of the effort.