Story of Israel by Martin Gilbert

I read quite a few books on the Holocaust, but I did not know a lot about Israel. So, I was very curious to learn about the formation of the state, from the Story of Israel by Martin Gilbert*. I did not know much about Israel’s history before reading the book and I found it fascinating.
Israel is a new country, declaring its independence 72 years ago. I was so impressed with what they managed to achieve, despite the many wars they went through, from Civil war to wars with neighbouring countries, and how inauspicious the terrain was. Now Israel has a growing tourist economy, with over 4 million visitors in 2018.

Gilbert’s style of writing is very good, clear, but not dry at all. I would love to read more books by him. In the book there are so many pictures of historical documents, about 150. These are photographs of people, documents, letters, extracts from personal diaries, maps. It makes the book more interesting and engaging.

One of the things that stood out for me was how fast they built Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in 1918, 30 years before the country had its independence. Amazingly, considering the horrors they went through with the Holocaust and endless wars, there are now 6 universities in Times Higher Education’s list, with Hebrew University of Jerusalem on 201-250 (most universities are on a shared place with other universities around the world) and Tel Aviv University, established in 1956, is on 189. By comparison, University of Bologna is the oldest in the world (established in 1088) and it’s on 168th place. Of course, age of university is not a determinant factor in their success, but the achievements of a new university in a new country are still very impressive.

Story of Israel by Martin Gilbert

Details about the picture: I baked some Hamantasch as props for this book, of course, it meant I had to enjoy some pretty delicious Israeli biscuits too. Hamantasch are usually made for Purim and they can be filled with poppy seeds, like I did, or made savoury, with cheese. You can see my recipe here.
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Year it was published: 2020
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History
Pages: 160

About the author: Sir Martin Gilbert is the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill and one of the world’s leading experts on Jewish history. He has written numerous books on the subject and been a visiting professor at both Tel Aviv and the Hebrew University.
Website & Social Media Links: welbeckpublishing

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* I received this book for the purpose of this review. I was not asked to write a positive review, I did because I’ve enjoyed the book.

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