Page 25 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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YAAKOV SHAVIT
Zionist Historiography: Trends
and Tendencies
IN
HIS INTRODUCTION
to the “Select B iography” section o f the
first volume o f his Zionist history,
The Origins of Zionism
(Oxford ,
1975), David Vital writes: “T h e lite ra tu re on Zionism is immense;
bu t honou rab le (and ever more num erous) exceptions apa rt, a
g rea t deal o f it is polemical and tenden tious and o f little use to the
s tu d e n t . . .” A fte r enum e ra ting the various technical difficulties
tha t con fron t the historian o f the Zionist movement he notes that,
“th e fu n d am e n ta l causes o f the re la tive pover ty o f Zionist
h istoriography , and particularly, the d ea r th o f studies which a t­
tem p t a synoptic, in terp re ta tive view o f the subject, probably lie
d e e p e r .” He asserts tha t the main difficulty derives from the fact
tha t Zionism is very much a “living movem ent” and th e re fo re
does no t lend itself to objective trea tm en t by the historian.
Nevertheless, Vital’s “Select B iography” to his first volume as
w e ll as t h a t to h is s e c o n d v o lum e ,
The Formative Years
(Oxford/N.Y., 1982), make it abundan tly clear th a t the re ad e r
and resea rche r have available a p le tho ra o f historical studies o f
various types and approaches. We do no t possess as yet a full, up-
to-date bibliography o f the works on Zionist history. Since the
publication o f Israel K lausner’s bibliography,
History of Zionism
(Hebrew: Jersusa lem , 1975), which is by no means complete,
the re have app ea red a num be r o f lists which have u pd a ted his
work. However, a full, comprehensive bibliography has yet to ap ­
pear. We have e ithe r listings o f select, anno ta ted titles, o r incom­
plete listings a rrang ed by subject o r specific years, which do not
fully reflect the intensive publication e ffo r t in this area, both in
Israel and ab ro ad .1
1 Yaakov Shavit, “Bibliographical Review (1973-1979),” in
Zionism,
no. 1, Spring
1980. O f value are Judith Carpi’s annual surveys o f Zionist bibliography for
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