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A profoundly moving story of Palestine's Jewish pioneers and the battle for Israel, which in its spiritual quality goes infinitely deeper into the reader's mind and heart than does Arthur Koestler's Promise and Fulfillment (Macmillan), published last Fall. It covers a good deal of the same material, but does it in such human terms that the reader feels a part of the whole dramatic march of events, a first hand observer of the miracle of a minority beating off the better equipped, ostensibly more powerful Arab forces. Where Koestler prefaces his story of the battle for survival with an historical survey, Sugrue gives one a sense of the traditional roots, the human strivings for a goal, the sporadic beginnings -- here through scholars living in a vacuum, but upholding the faith that kept their people alive; there a struggling community; finally, a surge of intense nationalism as Europe's tragedy thrust thousands forth, and communal living proved one vital answer. He shows how the Arab situation was aggravated from without; how the Jews had hoped and prayed it might be solved from within; how the British played both ends against the middle. He sketches the successive abortive efforts at settlement. He recounts the tragic conflict, with excesses that set the cause back and enhanced the bitterness. He shows how the power of the Arab League lies in three facts:- Arab oil, a physical facet; the West's fear of Russia, an emotional facet; Anti-Semitism, a spiritual facet. He shows how the new propaganda line uses Communism, the problem of the Arab refugees, and the issue of the Holy Places to enflame opposition. But he feels that the Jews of Israel have survived a mystical initiation and will endure. A book written with a touch of greatness.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1950
Publisher: Harper