Page 33 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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27
BLOCH ---- THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
established fact, he maintains, has been “established more by the
strong arms and stout hearts of its young soldiers than by any
grace of the great powers or of the United Nations.”
The best part of
Leave it to the people
by Quentin Reynolds
(N. Y., Random, 1948) concerns itself with Israel. I t offers an
eye witness description of the conditions under which the State
of Israel was born. Reynolds witnessed the profoundly stirring
ceremonies when Israel’s sovereignty was proclaimed and had a
series of private interviews with the secret leaders of the Irgun,
Palmach and Stern groups. He describes the leader of the latter
as “ the real fanatic who long since had subjugated emotion to
reason.”
A glimpse into life in the land of Israel can be had through the
pages of
Under thefigtree\
Palestinian stories by Yitzhak Shenberg
[translated from the Hebrew by I. M. Lask] (N. Y., 1948), pub-
lished as the thirteenth volume in the Schocken library. I t presents
five short, charming stories by one of the rising young Israeli
authors which convey the simple truths of life in Israel. They
are not dependent upon contrasting that way of life with the
culture of the ghettos of Europe or the cities of America.
The
little tractor who travelled to Israel
, by Evelyn Levow Greenberg,
illustrated by Israel Levy (N. Y., Behrman, 1949), the first of
a proposed series of children’s books on Israel, tells of a bright
new tractor shipped to Israel and how it worked very hard
in its first year there to build a cooperative farm in a desert
valley.
Much of what transpired within the Zionist movement and of
the role it played in the effort to bring about the establishment of
the State of Israel, especially during the years 1942-1948 — that
fateful period which marked the end of a two thousand year
chapter in Jewish history and the beginning of the Third Jewish
Commonwealth — is revealed in
Vision and victory
, by the Rev.
Dr. Abba Hillel Silver (N. Y., The Zionist Organization of Amer-
ica, 1949). I t represents a remarkable collection of addresses which
he delivered during the years when he was the spokesman for
American Zionism. I t is filled with a spirit truly prophetic, a faith
and an understanding deeply rooted in the history and traditions
of his people. In
A history of Palestine
from 135 A. D. to modern
times, by James William Parkes (N. Y., Oxford, 1949), a fairly
objective account of the history of that land and a sound analysis
of the forces that have led to the present situation are offered.
I t presents Palestine’s political history from the last Jewish war
with Rome to recent times.