Book Reviews,  FICTION,  History,  Israel,  Jewish History

Exodus by Leon Uris ** (of 4)

Still singed by Holocaust crematoria, Jewish rebels fight to throw off the yoke of British imperialism in Palestine.  This is a book that launched a Jewish spirit of pride (and a movie that imprinted a generation) almost from the day it was published in 1960.  Unfortunately, the book is terribly dated.  The love story that threads the story is boring, the dialogue is preposterously square, and all the Arabs are stupid and dirty.  The book’s one strength is the insight it provides into the internal struggles of Jews trying to carve a safe haven from a global community of nations that has perpetrated 2,000 years of desecration and persecution.  Should Jews finally stand up and fight, really kill British citizens and soldiers?  Is that the kind of progress upon which to build a new nation?  It’s an interesting question and the history Uris provides of the Holocaust, the pogroms suffered by Eastern European Jewry, the outrageous actions perpetrated by British colonialists, and the hardships associated with creating a new homeland inside hostile territory are thorough and ring true.  Alas, we know now that even in the period leading up to the birth of the state of Israel, issues of conflict between Jews and Arabs were more complicated than Uris would have you believe.