Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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T h e r e appears , the re fo re , to be an ap p a re n t sh a rp con trad ic ­
tion between Vital’s s tric tu re abou t the “poverty o f Zionist h is to ri­
og raphy ” and the large num b e r o f historical studies th a t have
been pub lished , especially beg inn ing with the sixties. T ru e , we do
no t have works o f synthesis, and actually th e re is no “com p re h en ­
sive h is to ry” o f th e Zionist m ovem en t an d Zionism. W a lte r
L aqueu r’s
A History of Zionism
(London , 1972; Hebrew ed ition ,
Je ru sa lem /T e l Aviv, 1982) prov ides a good summ ary o f the
subject, whereas Vital h im self has thus fa r covered only the p e ­
riod up to H erzl’s dea th . (His th ird volume will appa ren tly take
the account up to World War I and the B a lfou r Declaration.)
However, even the two volumes which have already been pu b ­
lished canno t be said to rep re sen t a “comprehensive h istory .”
On the o th e r hand , several works by non-Zionist au tho rs and
by au tho rs with a defin ite Zionist o rien ta tion have tried to trea t
Zionist history from a distinct ideological viewpoint. Such works
c o n s t i t u t e n o t h i s t o r i c a l s t u d i e s b u t r a t h e r h i s t o r i c a l -
philosophical essays.2 However, they indicate th a t it is possible to
try to organize Zionist history a ro u n d a cen tral thesis o r idea. T o
p roduce a synoptic history is much m ore challenging , and we still
have to have one w ritten. T h e difficulty is no t so much psycholog­
ical as it is the challenge o f encompassing a movem en t as varie­
gated as Zionism. T h e h istorian is faced by the prob lem o f geo­
g raph ic dispersion and o f a wide spec trum o f ideological and po ­
litical views. Th is is clearly bo rne ou t by the very title o f Shlomo
Avineri’s work,
Varieties of Zionist Thought
(Hebrew : Tel-Aviv,
1980; English edition ,
The Making of Modern Zionism,
New York,
1980, 1981, and 1982, which have appeared in the same journal (now entitled
Studies in Zionism).
See also: Yaakov Amrami,
Bibliografyah Shimushit
1975), for titles on the underground movements; Ezra Mendelsohn,
o f East-Central Europe Between the Two World Wars: A Selected Bibliography
(Jerusalem, 1978; and Assia Neuberg,
Medinat Israel
(The State o f Israel), an
anno ta ted b ib liography , vol. 1, 1948 -1968 (Jerusalem , 1970); vol. 2,
1969-1975 (Jerusalem, 1977).
2 See, for example, Israel Eldad,
The Jewish Revolution
(New York, 1971);
Harold Fisch,
The Zionist Revolution
(London, 1978). The term “Revolution” is
employed in a different sense by Vital, whose
The Origins of Zionism
has been
translated into Hebrew under the title,
The Zionist Revolution: Beginnings of the
(Tel-Aviv, 1978).