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Books

When Israel was but a dream

Two new books, My Promised Land and Herzl, document the creation — and some of the costs — of Zionism

22 February 2014

9:00 AM

22 February 2014

9:00 AM

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Zionism Ari Shavit

Scribe, pp.464, £20, ISBN: 9781922247544

Herzl: Theodore Herzl and the Foundation of the Jewish State Shlomo Avineri

Weidenfeld, pp.288, £20, ISBN: 9780297808804

‘On the night of 15 April 1897, a small, elegant steamer is en route from Egypt’s Port Said to Jaffa.’ ‘At the end of October 1898 the small steamer Rossiya made its way from Alexandria in Egypt, via Port Said, to Jaffa.’ It is unusual, or maybe even unique, for the first chapters of two books published at the same time to open with almost identical sentences.

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Available from the Spectator Bookshop, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Zionism, £18.00, Herzl: Theodore Herzl and the Foundation of the Jewish State, £16.00,  Tel: 08430 600033. Geoffrey Wheatcroft is a former literary editor of The Spectator and the author of The Controversy of Zion.

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